Dear Friends and Neighbors,
It’s been another busy week in St. Paul as committees have been hearing and approving omnibus finance bills. Here’s a quick recap on the week that was.
House DFL Unveils Transportation Plan
On Monday, House Democrats revealed their omnibus transportation bill. Included in their proposal is a 70% increase to the state’s gas tax.
It is frustrating that Democrats’ solution for road and bridge funding is the same solution they have for everything: raise more taxes, take more money, and make life more expensive for Minnesota families.
Instead of innovating and prioritizing transportation, Democrats are raising billions of dollars in regressive taxes at a time when Minnesota has a $1 billion surplus, and one year after Republicans put forward a blueprint for responsibly funding a core function of government — without a gas tax increase, using existing funds.
Just last biennium, Republicans championed a proposal that makes significant investments in transportation without raising the gas tax by taking a percentage of the auto parts sales tax and redirecting it to the Small Cities Assistance Account and the Highway User Tax Distribution Fund (HUTD).
Stay tuned on this as it is sure to be an important component to end-of-session negotiations.
Democrats vote to allow criminals to work in Department of Human Services programs
On Monday, Democrats voted on a party-line vote to pass legislation that would allow individuals convicted of a variety of crimes including murder, drive-by-shooting, felony-level stalking, child abuse, and solicitation of children to engage in sexual conduct, to be eligible to work in a variety of positions that require Department of Human Services (DHS) background studies including Personal Care Attendants (PCAs).
The bill would require DHS to consider granting a set-aside or variance to anyone who otherwise would have been disqualified as a result of a variety of serious felony and criminal convictions that are more than twenty years old.
Reforms are needed in our criminal justice system, but this bill goes too far. Even if the convictions are 20 years old, we can't be taking chances when it comes to protecting vulnerable Minnesotans. I hope that the Senate holds firm on this legislation and does not bring it for a vote.
Democrats vote for rent increase
Also on Monday, Democrats voted for a bill that would impose new requirements on landlords, and give less flexibility to anyone seeking to negotiate certain lease terms. Government-imposed regulations aimed at bad actors in the Metro area will do nothing to help with ever-increasing rent costs across Minnesota, and put new burdens on renters that impact different parts of the state in different ways.
This one-size-fits-all bill will increase rent costs and give renters less flexibility when negotiating a lease. The government should not be dictating minor details of rent agreements because of a few bad actors in one part of the state.
Drivers Licenses for Undocumented Immigrants
On Friday, the House will be voting on legislation that would permit undocumented immigrants to obtain driver licenses.
I am not supportive of this legislation and do not plan to vote for it.
Driving is a privilege, not a right. For individuals that entered the country unlawfully, they should not have that privilege extended to them.
Staying in Touch
Thank you to the number of local residents that took the time to visit St. Paul this week. It was great to meet with you and hear about how what’s happening at the capitol impacts your life.
A group of 6th-grade students from Ogilvie visited this week!
Thank you to the folks from the Isanti and Kanabec Farm Bureau for visiting
That’s all for this week’s update. As always, please do not hesitate to reach out to me if you have any questions or concerns regarding a matter related to state government. I can be reached by phone at 651-296-6746 or via email at email@example.com.
Have a great weekend,