Sen. Jerry Newton Update: April 21, 2017

 

Preemption Bill is a Bad Deal for Minnesotans

A bill that strips power away from local governments passed the Senate on Thursday by a thin party-line vote.

I am strongly opposed to this legislation because it takes away local control from our communities and strikes down worker protections and benefits for 150,000 hardworking Minnesotans. The preemption measure bans local employment regulations on minimum wage, unpaid leave and scheduling requirements. The state legislature’s job is to set minimum standards, not maximum standards. We should not be restricting the authority of local governments to implement what is best for their communities. This bill strips away local decision making power and will hurt working families. (more…)

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Sen. Jerry Newton Update: April 19, 2017

Dear Neighbors,

After last week’s recess to observe the Easter and Passover holidays, the Legislature is back in St. Paul for the final five weeks of Session.  Conference Committees have been appointed to compare the differences between the Senate and House versions of budget bills. It is my hope that reasonable budget proposals that work for all Minnesotans will be brought forward for a vote before the April 28th deadline.

As we move forward with our work, Representative Erin Koegel and I want to give community members an opportunity to share their viewpoints and ask any questions about what’s happening at the Capitol. You’re invited to attend a Coffee and Conversation meeting this Sunday at 1:00 p.m. at Sticks and Stones Restaurant located at the Fogerty Arena in Blaine. Everyone is welcome, and I hope you can attend. (more…)

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Rep. Erin Koegel Update: April 18, 2017

Rep. Erin Koegel (37A) – Legislative Update

Dear Neighbors,

After a weeklong recess to observe the Easter and Passover holidays, we are back in St. Paul for the final five weeks of the legislative session. House/Senate conference committees have been appointed to consider the differences between each chamber’s versions of the major budget bills. Hopefully, the negotiations surrounding these decisions can be open to the public with a great deal of citizen input, and when finished, the end results will improve opportunities for all Minnesotans. There is much work in front of us to increase access to quality education, fix our transportation system, and attract good paying jobs to our region.

As we move forward with this work, Sen. Jerry Newton and I want to give community members an opportunity to share their viewpoints and ask any questions about what’s happening at the Capitol. You’re invited to attend a Coffee and Conversation meeting this Sunday at 1:00 p.m. at Sticks and Stones Restaurant located at the Fogerty Arena in Blaine. Everyone is welcome, and I hope you can attend. (more…)

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Rep. Erin Koegel Update: April 7, 2017

Rep. Erin Koegel (37A) – Legislative Update

Dear Neighbors,

You may have heard about something that happened on the floor of the House earlier this week. During a debate on a very important issue, it was brought to the attention of the body that some members were in the retiring room (right off the House Floor, behind the Speaker’s desk) playing cards.

I was extremely upset by the scene because some of my colleagues were speaking very passionately on a provision in the bill that they felt was unjust. The Majority Leader was upset that Minority Leader, Rep. Melissa Hortman, called out the members of both parties that were ignoring the ongoing debate. The next day, the Majority Leader distributed the House of Representative’s Code of Conduct. I would like to bring attention to one sentence in the code of conduct: (more…)

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Sen. Jerry Newton Update: March 31, 2017

Multiple Budget Bills Passed This Week

Senators and staff worked long hours this week as budget bills were hurried through the final finance committee deadline of Friday, March 31. More than six major budget bills were wrapped up and voted on.

The Judiciary and Higher Education budget bills were heard on the Senate floor on Tuesday this week. Both bills received criticism from DFLers – particularly 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.  I, and the other DFL members of the Senate Higher Education Committee, fought hard for additional funding for the University of Minnesota and Minnesota State colleges.  It is hard to get the majority to understand that higher education is an investment in Minnesota’s future, not an expense. (more…)

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Rep. Erin Koegel Update: March 31, 2017

Rep. Erin Koegel (37A) – Legislative Update

Dear Neighbors,

Budgets are a reflection of our values. We make statements about our priorities as state legislators through what we choose to fund and where we make cuts.

The bills being considered in the Minnesota House of Representatives right now do not reflect the values that I heard from many of you last summer and fall. I heard from you that Minnesota needs to invest in our children, our families, our workers, our disabled family members and friends, and our grandparents. We need to be stewards of our air, water and land. Our roads are in desperate need of repair and improvement. I am worried about what the Republicans’ proposed budgets say about Minnesota’s priorities. (more…)

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Sen. Jerry Newton Update: March 24, 2017

Real ID

The Real ID issue is becoming increasingly more frustrating.  A clean Real ID bill has not been brought forward for a vote.  Instead, we have been given the choice to vote for a Real ID card that is linked to (or against) a drivers’ license for undocumented residents.  Additionally, the House version of the bill has dealt with other issues involving guns. These are important matters, but all I want to see is a Real ID bill that is not unnecessarily complicated with other matters;  they can be dealt with in separate legislation.  We have been promised that Senate leadership will be bringing forward a new or revised Real ID bill in the near future, but I have no indication of when that will be or how the legislation will be worded – or potentially further complicated. (more…)

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Rep. Erin Koegel Update: March 24, 2017

Rep. Erin Koegel (37A) – Legislative Update

Dear Neighbors,

Last Tuesday was Disability Day at the Capitol, which gave those Minnesotans with disabilities and their caregivers an opportunity to share stories with legislators. Specifically, they were advocating for increased wages for those who work in home and community based settings to reduce turnover among those in these positions and make sure adequate care is able to be provided. These folks work incredibly hard, and I’m committed to making sure they can continue to enable all Minnesotans to live with dignity.


This week, the Republican Majority introduced their budget targets for the next two years for each of the finance committees in the Minnesota House. These determine how much is able to be invested in areas such as education, health care, and transportation as well as how much of the state budget taxes the form of tax cuts, and which ones. (more…)

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Rep. Erin Koegel Update: March 16, 2017

Rep. Erin Koegel (37A) – Legislative Update

Dear Neighbors,

In an update a few weeks back I mentioned my efforts to help direct resources to the Anoka-Hennepin Secondary Technical Education Program (STEP) for a fabrication lab. This week, I had the opportunity to present the legislation accomplishing this to the House Education Finance Committee. This was particularly exciting as it was my first presentation of a bill before a committee.

Presenting HF 550 with Mike Hilber, an instructor at STEP (more…)

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Rep. Erin Koegel Update: March 10, 2017

Rep. Erin Koegel (37A) – Legislative Update

Dear Neighbors,

Thus far, 2,327 bills have been introduced in the Minnesota House of Representatives. With work constitutionally required to wrap up by May 22 and only so many hours in a day, a structure of deadlines is necessary in order to help narrow the field of bills under consideration, and guide us toward a productive, on-time end of session. This Friday marks the first of three committee deadlines.

The first deadline is for committees to act favorably on bills in the house of origin; meaning a bill must be heard in either the House or Senate to continue its legislative journey. The second on March 17 is for committees to act favorably on bills, or companions of bills, that met the first deadline in the other house; meaning the bills that survived the first deadline must be heard in the other body. The third and final deadline is on March 31, and is for committees to act favorably on major finance bills. (more…)

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