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

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Legislative Update (4-24-15)

Friday, April 24, 2015


Dear Neighbors,

The House Mining and Outdoor Recreation Policy Committee held a hearing this week that included a presentation from the DNR on the challenges facing the walleye population on Mille Lacs Lake and their recent announcement of its 2015 fishing restrictions on the lake.

A number of local business and resort owners attended the hearing to testify: Thanks to Tina Chapman, Karen McQuoid, Linda Eno, Dave Olsin and Michael Gardner as well as others who attended but did not testify. Testifiers told the committee about the economic strain caused by the DNR's ever-changing regulations and recommended some solutions to promote the other amenities offered by the lake and its diverse fish population.

As I have said previously, I am extremely concerned about the negative impact our local economy will face due to these regulations and will continue to work with the DNR to find ways to help our suffering economy and the image of the lake area based on their decisions.

In an effort to help offset the negative economic impact these regulations will have, I offered an amendment to the Job Growth and Energy Affordability omnibus bill that dedicates money to promote Mille Lacs Lake tourism. The amendment was accepted and the bill passed on Wednesday.

House Passes Road and Bridge Act of 2015

The House debated and passed the omnibus transportation and policy bill on Tuesday evening. This bill is the major component of our transportation approach that ultimately invests $7 billion over the next decade to repair and replace Minnesota’s roads and bridges, all without raising taxes.

Over the next ten years, the Republican proposal prioritizes repairing or replacing 15,500 lane miles for all roads and 330 bridges statewide. This is accomplished through the following investments:


  • $4.03 billion for state roads


  • $1.44 billion for county roads


  • $583 million for municipal roads


  • $282 million for small cities under 5,000


  • $139 million for Greater Minnesota bus services


  • $60 million for township roads & bridges

Our approach would re-purpose revenue that is already being collected from existing taxes into a new Transportation Stability Fund. This revenue would come from existing sales taxes on auto parts, the Motor Vehicle Lease sales tax, the rental vehicle tax, and the sales tax on rental vehicles.

I am encouraged by our common sense approach to fixing our state’s roads and bridges. Our plan proves that you can meet our transportation needs without raising taxes.

Growing Jobs and Making Energy Cleaner and More Affordable

The House debated and passed the omnibus Job Growth and Energy Affordability bill on Wednesday. This bill includes provisions that look to make energy cleaner and more affordable, develop workforce housing and broadband and increase workforce training that will help prepare and connect Minnesotans with better paying jobs.

I appreciate the innovation that Chair Pat Garofalo and committee members put into this bill to help grow jobs across the state.

Tax Relief for Minnesotans

Early this week, House Republican leadership unveiled our 2015 tax bill. This bill provides $2 billion in tax relief to middle-class families, college students, aging adults, veterans, farmers, and job creators. This bill proves that we can make investments in education, transportation, and other priorities while still offering hardworking Minnesotans tax relief.

The most significant portion of this package is a new Minnesota personal or dependent tax exemption that could save a middle class family of four more than $500 over the next two years.

We are expecting to take this bill up on the House floor sometime in the coming days and I will have more information for you then.

Staying in Touch

Please visit and “like” my Facebook page for updates on all the important legislation and events that are taking place at the Capitol.

As always, please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or comments about issues that are important to you. My door is always open. If you would like to schedule a time to meet, please contact my office at or 651-296-6746.

Have a great weekend,


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