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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Sondra Erickson (R)

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Legislative Update (November 20, 2015)

Friday, November 20, 2015

Dear Neighbors,

There has been a lot of chatter recently about a potential special session to address a number of issues affecting our state. In total, Governor Dayton has proposed a special session on four separate occasions:

 

  • July 28, 2015—Governor Dayton proposed a special session for Lake Mille Lacs and walleye

 

  • August 10, 2015—Governor Dayton hinted that a special session may be needed for changes to Minnesota’s Sex Offender Program (MSOP)

 

  • Sept. 23, 2015—Governor Dayton said a special session may be necessary for Real ID compliance

 

  • Nov. 11, 2015—Governor Dayton proposed a special session for unemployment benefits

The Governor’s most recent request for a special session is to address unemployment benefits for steelworkers on the Iron Range who have been recently laid off by temporarily extending benefits. Instead of a temporary band-aid to address this challenge, it would be more prudent to find a long-term, sustainable solution.

For the past several years, Northern Minnesota has experienced a number of economic setbacks and is undoubtedly in the middle of a jobs crisis. However, these folks don’t want another round of temporary unemployment benefits, they want their jobs back.

Currently, Northern Minnesota has two proposed projects that would have a tremendous economic impact for Northern Minnesota—the Polymet Mining Project and the Sandpiper Pipeline.

Instead of championing these projects, the Governor has repeatedly called for a multitude of unnecessary studies that will delay these desperately needed jobs. We are delaying the inevitable if we don’t come up with long-term solutions for job growth. New non-taconite related mining operations and substantial pipeline construction projects already exist and we need to do what we can to make these new job opportunities a reality.

It still remains to be seen if there will indeed be a special session. Ultimately this decision will be negotiated and agreed upon by the Governor, Senate Majority Leader, and the Speaker of the House. If a special session does occur, I am hopeful that the Governor will pledge to no longer unnecessarily interfere with these desperately needed projects and get people back to work.

 

Sincerely,

Sondra

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