Skip to main content

Sen. Melisa Franzen Update: March 24, 2017

A weekly message from your Senator

Dear Constituents and Friends,

Senate Republicans released their budget targets last Friday –  budget priorities lie with tax cuts for corporations, slim investments in education and transportation, and major cuts to other areas – particularly health and human services and the equity investments passed just last year. As the former Vice-Chair of the Health and Human Services Committee and a member of the Transportation Committee, I am concerned about the impact of these cuts to individuals, families, and businesses, particularly when there is a $1.65 billion surplus. 

Budget bills are still being crafted in many committees, but are expected to be passed to the Senate floor soon. Next week’s floor session is expected to be lengthier. (more…)

Read More

Rep. Paul Rosenthal Update: March 20, 2017

Rep. Paul Rosenthal (49B) – Legislative Update

Dear Neighbors,

The Senate and House Majorities released their budget targets last Friday and today, respectively.  These targets will serve as a financial blueprint and reflection of priorities to guide our work as we set the state’s budget.  I am still reviewing the details of both plans.  The two biggest variables we need to consider are: 1.) the federal administration’s budget proposal; 2.) the state’s projected surplus, after inflation.  State law currently does not permit forecasts to include rates of inflation.  I have authored a bill that would make this a requirement.  Uncertainties in the near future remain; it will be essential to be thoughtful and cautious in how we find a balanced approach for Minnesota.

Additionally, I’d like to take a moment to thank all veterans who came to St. Paul for Veteran’s Day at the Capitol today.  We thank all veterans for their service to our state and country.   (more…)

Read More

Sen. Melisa Franzen Update: March 17, 2017

A weekly message from your Senator

Dear Constituents and Friends,

This week marked the second set of committee deadlines, which meant a heightened flurry of activity in the committees. The Senate heard a series of controversial bills – both in committee and for votes by the full Senate.

The Education Committee heard a bill, which would fund $35 million in tax credits to private corporations who help fund scholarships for private or religious schools. Later in the week, the Senate battled over the reinsurance bill – legislation that 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 the bill, as I believe using our state budget reserves to the tune of $240 million is not prudent spending when we have a $1.65 billion surplus for a temporary fix that doesn’t guarantee lower premiums for consumers. (more…)

Read More

Sen. Melisa Franzen Update: March 10, 2017

A weekly message from your Senator

Dear Constituents and Friends,

Many of you have reached out to me expressing your perspective on the REAL ID legislation that failed on the Senate floor. REAL ID compliance is needed so that Minnesotans can continue to board airplanes and visit their family members on military bases with ease. Unfortunately, I could not support a bill that brought Minnesota in compliance with the requirements of REAL ID, but inserted immigration issues unnecessary to implement the law. 

I have always been supportive of a REAL ID bill. I voted to pass a clean bill in 2016 that unfortunately got bogged down in conference committee with the House requiring divisive immigration language to be in the bill. I believe that we need to separate the issues of REAL ID and immigration policy.  (more…)

Read More

Rep. Paul Rosenthal Update: March 10, 2017

Rep. Paul Rosenthal (49B) – Legislative Update

Dear Neighbors,

Today is our first committee deadline, which means any policy bills under consideration must be through the Senate or House by today at midnight.

To date, a fair amount of my bills will have met this first deadline.  Below is a brief overview of what I’ve been working on with my colleagues and constituents at the Capitol:

HF 879 Senior Fraud Prevention

This bipartisan bill is a renewed effort from last year to implement a statewide education and outreach program to protect vulnerable adults, seniors and caregivers from financial exploitation.  HF 879 has had two hearings; one in the Commerce and Regulatory Reform Committee, and the Job Growth and Energy Affordability Committee.  It is being considered for inclusion to the final Jobs and Energy Omnibus bill.

HF 352 Resolving Drug Related Crimes More Quickly

The legislation provides funding to reduce the processing time for drug evidence leading to drug cases get resolved much more quickly.  I presented the bill to committee members on the Public Safety and Security Policy and Finance Committee, where the Chair laid the bill over for possible inclusion to the final Public Safety Omnibus Bill.

HF 1563 Equine Therapy for Veterans

This bill would fund a grant to provide equine therapy to veterans suffering from trauma and PTSD.  The bill has had two committee hearings; one in the Veterans Affairs Division and another in the State Government Finance Committee.  Chair Anderson laid over HF 1563 for possible consideration of the final State Government Finance Omnibus bill.  

HF 918 Simplifying Tax Filing for Small Businesses  

HF 918 authorizes the Minnesota Department of Revenue to issue private letter rulings to allow individuals and businesses to get advice on tax issues in advance, rather than after an audit. The letter must be made public (posted on DOR’s website), with identifying information of the tax payer redacted.  The bill has been heard in State Government Operations and has advanced to the Taxes Committee where it awaits further action.

Survey

I hope you’ll take the time to take my 2017 survey.  You can share your input online here.

The pace will continue to pick up throughout the month of March.  Please keep me posted on your thoughts; I appreciate hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Paul

Read More

Sen. Melisa Franzen Update: March 3, 2017

A weekly message from your Senator

Dear Constituents and Friends,

With this week’s announcement of the state’s $1.65 Billion surplus the Senate finance committees will start piecing together a budget for the next biennium to fund schools, social services, infrastructure and other aspects of our government. It was a productive week with the Senate voting on several bills including Sunday liquor sales, which I supported. Next week we have our first committee deadline so it promises to be a busier week for bills to make it through the legislative process.

Cheers,

Senator Melisa Franzen (more…)

Read More

Rep. Paul Rosenthal Update: March 3, 2017

Rep. Paul Rosenthal (49B) – Legislative Update

Dear Neighbors,

Earlier this week, Minnesota Management and Budget announced a forecasted budget surplus of $1.65 billion. Additionally, the February Economic Forecast revealed that Minnesota continues to have low unemployment and a stable budget.

While Minnesota’s economy is performing well, we need to remain cautious and fiscally prudent.  A new presidential administration could mean several restructured fiscal policies, in addition to other unknown variables. Our state’s surplus creates an opportunity for us to act now on making improvements to Minnesotans’ lives, not only in our community but across the state.  We can achieve this through investments to strong public schools, affordable college and job training, and increasing access to good jobs and affordable, quality health care. (more…)

Read More

Feds: Southwest light-rail funds cannot be diverted to roads, bridges

The following article by Janet Moore was posted on the Star Tribune website March 1, 2017:

Republican legislators introduced a measure at the State Capitol last week asking the U.S. Department of Transportation to funnel $929 million intended for the Southwest light-rail line to a “block grant that can be used for other transportation projects” in Minnesota. (more…)

Read More

Rep. Rosenthal Update: February 24, 2017

Rep. Paul Rosenthal (49B) – Legislative Update

Dear Neighbors,

I hope this finds you well.  We are seeing a lot of legislative activity at the Capitol.  Next week, the February Budget Forecast will be released and we will have a clearer picture of Minnesota’s economic condition. Here is a Capitol update:

REAL ID

Yesterday, the House voted on HF 3, which will bring Minnesota in compliance with federal REAL ID laws.  The current deadline for Minnesota to implement REAL ID is January 2018.  Passing legislation on this should have been fairly simple, however the House Majority has attached a separate provision regarding immigration. A bipartisan bill supported by the Senate GOP does not contain that language. (more…)

Read More