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

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Legislative Update (4-8-16)

Friday, April 8, 2016

Dear Neighbors,

We received great news this week about the use of live bait being allowed on Mille Lacs Lake starting with the opener on April 7. For more information, please read the news release from the DNR at this link.

More great news is that my bill House File 3458, which provides economic relief for the Mille Lacs area, received another hearing this week in the Job Growth Committee where it was approved and referred to the House Taxes Committee.

My thanks to Tina Chapman, director of tourism for the Mille Lacs Area, Mille Lacs County Commissioner Dave Oslin from District 5 and Pat Oman, Mille Lacs County administrator, all of whom testified very specifically to the need for the area based on the early shutdown of walleye fishing last August.

As Ms. Chapman noted during the hearing, “Economic relief and investing in the area go hand in hand; we are looking for a hand up, not a hand out.”

Because of the latest budget forecast, I had to limit the bill to a one-time appropriation of $5 million for Fiscal Year 2017 for loans and grants, a program that Mille Lacs County will develop in consultation with the Department of Employment and Economic Development. The proposal also authorizes partial tax abatement plus forgiveness of the statewide business property tax for businesses in the 14 townships and the cities in the Mille Lacs Lake area of Aitkin, Crow Wing and Mille Lacs counties.

The current situation on Mille Lacs is one that we did not create but was caused by years of continued mismanagement of the lake by the DNR. This legislation helps give businesses in the area the relief so desperately needed to strive in order to “thrive again.”

As always, I will keep you updated as the bill continues its way through the legislature.

Last week, House Republicans in the State Government Finance Committee launched a website to gather comments and feedback from Minnesota families, taxpayers and small business owners affected by MNsure. It remains clear that Minnesotans are still facing significant challenges thanks to MNsure. The most recent concerns revolve around the thousands of Minnesotans who are waiting on their 1095-A form to file their taxes.

While I encourage you to contact me directly if you are having difficulties with MNsure, this website presents an opportunity to share your experiences on a broader scale with other lawmakers.

Your input helps us determine steps we need to take to improve MNsure and I encourage you to visit this website and share your experience.

The website can be found here:

That’s all for this week’s update. Please be sure to contact my office via email at or by phone at 651-296-6746 if you have any questions or comments related to state government. It would be great to speak with you.


Have a great weekend,


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