Sen. John Hoffman Update: March 24, 2017

Week 12 of the legislative session saw the press, Senators and the public pouring over the numbers released by Governor Dayton’s budget and both legislative bodies committee targets that they released late last week. I am disappointed by the targets set by the legislative bodies that speak to the priorities of the majorities in the House and Senate.

Despite hearing very costly bills in most committees throughout session, the Senate’s budget priorities lie with tax cuts for wealthy corporations, slim investments in education and transportation, and major cuts to other areas, particularly health and human services which will affect the most elderly and vulnerable in our state. They also cut the equity investments passed just last year, which was $38 million to address the employment gaps and support opporunities for our most under represented communities that are at risk. (more…)

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Sen. John Hoffman Update: March 17, 2017

Welcome to week 11 of my updates. This marks the second deadline week and it was full of committee activity, some meeting into the evening. There was also activity on the Senate Floor that went into the early evening.  

On Wednesday night there was a long floor session where we debated a reinsurance bill. This legislation spends $600 million to temporarily fix some of the state’s health insurance problems by giving insurance companies money to help offset the costs of insuring some of the state’s sickest Minnesotans. I voted against this bill as it is government bailout spending and an ineffective bill that doesn’t guarantee lower premiums for anyone. (more…)

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Sen. John Hoffman Update: March 10, 2017

The first full week of March saw major legislative activity as the first deadline is today. This is the first of three major deadlines that help determine which bills will move forward to one day becoming law. The second deadline is next Friday, March 17th, where a bill that is not an omnibus tax or appropriation bill must have passed through all of its committees in both the House and Senate. The 3rd and final deadline is March 31st, where major finance and appropriation bills must have been acted upon.  

REAL ID legislation came to the Senate floor and was voted down. It was not a clean bill as promised. Therefore it did not pass. However, the no vote isn’t the end though, legislative leaders are working out compromise language that both parties can agree to. (more…)

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Rep. Melissa Hortman Update: March 8, 2017

Rep. Melissa Hortman (36B) – Legislative Update

Dear Neighbors,

This Friday marks the first House committee deadline. This means that any bill including policy changes must be heard in committee by Friday in order to move forward in the legislative process. Committees are meeting around the clock in order to finish their work.

February Forecast

Last week, Minnesota Management and Budget (MMB) announced a forecasted budget surplus of $1.65 billion, which is $250 million higher than previous estimates. Minnesota continues to have low unemployment and a stable budget, however MMB warned that uncertainty at the federal level could change that. (more…)

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Sen. John Hoffman Update: March 3, 2017

Welcome to week nine. REAL ID, student loan tax credits, a controversial elections bill, big changes in teacher licensure, reduced property taxes for veterans and schools teaching a civics class were all up in committees this week. While I disagree with how my colleagues across the aisle are handling most of these issues I will continue to work collaboratively to make sure we have the best outcomes for Senate District 36 and all Minnesotans.

The February forecast is projecting an increase of $250 million in addition to November’s projections, resulting in a $1.65 billion surplus. With the February forecast figures, the Legislature can begin making spending and tax decisions for the biennium. In the coming weeks, the House and Senate leadership will release budget targets for each committee to use in order to fund their priorities while Governor Dayton will update his budget recommendations to reflect changes in the forecast. This is typical for the process during year 1 of the biennium.  (more…)

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House Leader Hortman on the State Budget Surplus

The following statement was released by Leader Hortman February 28, 2017:

Today, MMB released the February Economic Forecast, revealing a projected $1.65 billion surplus.

House DFL Leader Melissa Hortman released the following statement:

“Minnesota’s economy is strong and stable, but we must take care to maintain and improve it. Some of our roads and bridges are crumbling. College costs are too high. Good paying jobs with good benefits are hard to find in too many of our communities. (more…)

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Rep. Hortman Update: February 24, 2017

Rep. Melissa Hortman (36B) – Legislative Update

Dear Neighbors,

We’re currently awaiting the February Economic Forecast on Tuesday. The forecast is a projection of revenue and will help lawmakers as we put together a state budget to benefit all Minnesotans. Read below for an update on some other recent actions at the capitol.

Sunday Sales

On Monday, the House voted to approve Sunday liquor sales. The measure must also pass the Senate, and if it does, Governor Dayton said he would sign the bill into law. Recent grassroots support from Minnesotans has led the way for Sunday sales after a 159 year ban. The bill contained a compromise to limit hours of operation and continue to ban liquor deliveries on Sundays. (more…)

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Sen. Hoffman Update: February 24, 2017

Welcome to week eight of my update from the Capitol. This week seemed to go by fast. I don’t know if it was because of the early teaser of spring weather of the fact our committee meetings were full of policy discussion. Also the house passed the REAL ID bill off the floor and has been sent over to the senate. I go into more detail in the newsletter bellow.

I presented 3 bills this week in the Health and Human Services Reform committee and will have more coming up next week.  (more…)

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Sen. Hoffman Update: February 17, 2017

Friends,

During week 7 of the legislative session we finished having hearings in the two working groups where I was honored to be a co-chair on both groups. The next step for this process of listening and action is to develop bills based on the conversations we had these past few weeks. We have seen a couple of bills already developed and brought forward thanks to the hard work of these groups. I am looking forward to finding solutions to these work groups in assuring services to families and children are of quality and driving toward good outcomes.

The high-profile discussion of preemption received another hearing this week in which opponents of the bill made their voices heard. Despite their testimony against removing local control, the bill continues to move forward. I have concerns that this is becoming a wedge issue that is being driven by one side and I hope we can have policy discussion be the driver and not partisan bickering. (more…)

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