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After having some time to reflect on the legislative session I've concluded it was one of the most mismanaged legislative sessions ever. Numerous bills that could have easily passed were either not scheduled for a vote or combined with toxic proposals. Republicans in the Legislature (who are in charge) failed to act on the issues most important to Minnesota families, like passing a hands-free driving law to reduce the number of traffic accidents or the simple penny-a-pill fee to help fund treatment and recovery programs for opioid addiction. The majority also failed to pass a two sentence proposal to accept $6.6 million in federal funding to increase our election security. This was just irresponsible.
Over the last few months Governor Dayton warned Republican lawmakers which proposals he would not sign into law, but they ignored him. Governor Dayton lived up to his promise and vetoed the Republican spending bill and a Republican tax bill that gave permanent tax cuts to the wealthy and corporations, but very little to working families.
I know Minnesotans expect us to make Minnesota work better for everyone. We all care deeply about our state and want to see one another succeed. The good news is that I was able to collaborate with my colleagues, Republicans and Democrats alike, to pass important bills for our area.
After three years of work, we agreed on a plan with a variety of modifications to the state's public pension plans in order to ensure their long-term financial stability and avoid putting Minnesota taxpayers at risk. This proposal was signed into law. This was a great bipartisan effort which will help working families now and for years to come. But the House Republican Majority waited until the last 14 minutes of the session to pass this important policy when it was ready to vote on weeks earlier.
I was glad that we were also able to pass several important public works projects for our community. The Minnesota Zoo will receive $6 million for long-overdue repairs, Dakota County's Regional Public Safety Center is receiving $6.2 million in funding that I supported. Our area also will receive some important funding for parks, Fort Snelling's visitor center will receive $15 million for upgrades and the metropolitan regional parks will also receive $10 million. It is clear to me these are the type of results Minnesotans expect and can happen when all lawmakers work together. Collaboration should be a standard way of operating.
I would also like to invite to you a town hall co-hosted by Senator Jim Carlson, Representative Laurie Halverson, and myself on Saturday, June 23 from 11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. at Rasmussen College in room 201 (3500 Federal Drive, Eagan MN 55122). We will share a quick recap of the end of the legislative session, answer questions, and listen to your concerns and values.
Please let me know if you have any questions.
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