Rep. Melissa Hortman Update: April 21, 2017

Rep. Melissa Hortman (36B) – Legislative Update

 

Dear Neighbors,

The House and Senate have passed all the major budget bills, and now the House and Senate will work on budget compromise bills to send to Governor Dayton for final consideration. In order to finish session on time, the legislature must adjourn by May 22nd.

Minnesota has a $1.6 billion budget surplus and a stable economy. Unfortunately, so far the Republican majority is choosing to prioritize tax cuts for corporations and the rich instead of investing in the areas that have made Minnesota’s economy strong, like education. I am hopeful for a bipartisan compromise that will make investments in Minnesotans and budget responsibly for the future. (more…)

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Sen. John Hoffman Update: April 21, 2017

Welcome to week 15. I hope you had a good Passover/Easter week. There have been many conference committees meeting this week as there are major differences between the Senate, House, and Governor’s budget proposals that affect the next two years. Conference committees will need plenty of time with their budget targets to come to agreements. From there they still need to be voted on in each legislative body and then sent to Governor Mark Dayton. Governor Dayton has sent letters highlighting priorities and if these bills don’t match them. I would expect him to veto. (more…)

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Sen. John Hoffman Update: April 7, 2017

Welcome to week 14. This week’s newsletter will be going over the major budget bills that were passed by the Senate in the last two weeks. Senators and staff put in plenty of long hours in these two weeks leading up to the start of Easter/Passover break. The Senate dedicated time to passing all major budget bills in late March and early April. The discussions were at times contentious and floor debates in one case went until three in the morning on a bill many senators found particularly egregious. Many of the bills passed fly in the face of Minnesota values of fairness, caring for vulnerable neighbors, and supporting Minnesota’s schools.

The Senate also reconsidered the REAL ID bill several weeks after it failed on the Senate floor due to unnecessary, controversial immigration language. It passed with bipartisan support and will move next to a conference committee with members of the House of Representatives. (more…)

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Leader Hortman’s “White Male” Comments on the Minnesota House Floor

We guess that “snowflake” term being tossed about on the conservative side of the political mindset in this country could well be applied to these white, male Minnesota state legislators who seem to have no clue of what racism — or sexism for that matter — is. Their own words clearly show that lack of understanding and compassion along with a firm belief that white males are above others in the social strata.

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Rep. Melissa Hortman Update: April 3, 2017

Rep. Melissa Hortman (36B) – Legislative Update

Dear neighbors,

Last week, the legislature began to consider this year’s major finance bills. Here’s an update of what we debated in the House:

Tax Bill

On Thursday, the House voted on the Republican tax bill. Unfortunately, the bill prioritized big tax cuts for corporations and the wealthiest Minnesotans. Instead of this approach, I support tax cuts to improve the lives of working families in Minnesota. That’s why I strongly support the Working Family Credit, which would cut taxes for Minnesotans who are working hard and not getting ahead. This provision was not included in the Republican tax bill, but I am hopeful that DFLers can get it included before the final version of the tax bill reaches Governor Dayton’s desk.  (more…)

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Sen. John Hoffman Update: March 31, 2017

Welcome to week 13, where floor sessions went long into the night and even into the morning. More than six major budget bills were wrapped up and voted on, and Real ID was passed by the Senate.

The judiciary and higher education budget bills were heard on the Senate floor on Tuesday this week.  The higher education bill, which short-changes students by not adequately funding core academic programs to maintain educational quality at campuses across the state. The Senate Higher Education Bill is one third the size of what Governor Dayton recommended. We are a long way from compromise. (more…)

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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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