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Legislative Update - April 17, 2015
Regarding Federal Issues
On Friday April 3, 2015 afternoon, a group of elected
women officials met with Charles Sutton, Field Representative for U.S. Senator Al Franken, in the Senator's St. Paul Office.We were representing WiLL, Women Legislators' Lobby
, and the major topic was federal budget expenditures, but we also covered health care, the minimum wage, helping families, and transportation. There are so many issues that need attention now! We also learned that Senator Franken had been on Letterman the night before.
I attended a similar meeting with Rep. Betty McCollum.
MnDOT Noise Barriers
Recently at our Town Hall meeting we had a question regarding the MnDOT noise barriers policy. During the meeting, we talked about revisions to the noise barrier policy and the effects on our community along I-35. I was part of a panel that reviewed MnDOT's noise policy last year. The draft was out for public comments from December 8, 2014-January 7, 2015. It was sent to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) for final review and approval.
Currently, a point system has been developed based on proximity to roadway and whether the benefited receptor is the property owner and/or resident. The proposed revision requires a majority of votes to be cast to determine if a wall is built. If less than 50% of all possible points are received on the first vote, a second round of voting is required. If after the second round 25% or greater of all possible votes have been cast, the decision to construct/not construct a barrier is based on a simple majority decision. If after the second round less than 25% of all possible votes are cast, the wall will not be constructed. If there is a tie, where there are equal numbers of points for and against a noise barrier, the noise barrier will be constructed.
For more information, check this MNDOT document.
State of the State
Last week, Governor Dayton delivered the annual State of the State address. In his speech, he focused on the need to continue Minnesota's progress by investing in education, transportation and preserving and protecting our environment. Here is a transcript of the speech if you'd like to read it.
House Transportation Bill
The House Transportation Committee has completed its omnibus bill for the session. I voted against the proposal because of concerns about the budgeting contained within the bill. Unfortunately, the legislation funds transportation with a variety of shifts that move money from one place to another. Transportation funding needs to be stable and solvent in order to adequately provide funding for roads, bridges and infrastructure into the future. The bill will probably come to the House Floor next Tuesday.
Move MN held a rally yesterday at the Capitol to highlight the need for stable and long-term funding for transportation. I encourage you to contact me, Senator Carlson and Governor Dayton with your input as this issue progresses.
As always, please contact me anytime with your questions, comments and concerns. I can be reached by phone 651-296-3533 at or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to hearing from you!
State Representative House District 51A