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The 2016 legislative session has wrapped up. Frankly, the results were a mixed bag as it relates to the future of our state. While we were able to make some incremental progress on some important items, on many others the legislature was, unfortunately, not able to reach a compromise. With adjournment for the two-year biennium behind us, I’d like to highlight some of these items.
Utilizing our $900 million-plus budget surplus, we were able to pass some tax cuts which, while modest, will help Minnesotans and their families. I was proud to have my Working Family Tax Credit heard in the House Tax Committee, and then see expansion of this tax credit enacted into law, and extended to young single workers. Also included was the groundbreaking Student Loan Tax Credit which will provide relief from the student debt crisis, and veterans will see a tax cut with an expansion of the Past Military Service Credit. (more…)
In the last week, Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, has walked back from his pledge to release his tax returns, vowed to slash taxes for those at the top (like himself), been mocked for pretending to be his own publicist, refused to address his well-documented history of misogyny, insulted one of our country’s most important allies, and sat back as his campaign called their selection of a white supremacist delegate a “database error.” This is just the latest in a long history of backpedaling, half-truths and lies from Trump. With each day on the campaign trail, Donald Trump gives voters more examples of his recklessness, lack of judgment and unstable temperament. It’s obvious that he’s unfit to be commander in chief.
These are just a few of the many reasons why Democrats will head into the general election energized as we fight for the values and priorities of the American people. As we move closer to our convention and the election in November, it’s clearer than ever we must elect a Democrat as our 45th president. (more…)
Although the 2016 Legislative Session is behind us, in the past few weeks, House Speaker Kurt Daudt and other Republicans made numerous false and misleading claims about transit. Let’s keep the truth in focus as we head into the election season.
Consider this: Speaker Daudt has asserted that transit – light rail in particular – isn’t a good investment and we should invest only in roads and bridges. However, investing in transit is essential to an efficient, reliable and strong network of roads and bridges. Speaker Daudt’s short-sighted argument doesn’t recognize that investing in transit, it: (1) increases the efficiency of our roads and bridges by reducing congestion, (2) provides people more choice in how they commute and travel, and (3) helps fuel economic growth.
Other cities are already realizing the benefits of transit. Read this article in Politico Magazine today, “The Train That Saved Denver: The car-choked city overcame regional distrust to build a major transit system that is remaking the urban core and the suburbs, too.”
CORRECTING THE RECORD: REPUBLICANS FALSE TRANSIT CLAIMS
Below is a list of three false claims by Speaker Daudt and Republicans and the facts that show how erroneous they are: (more…)
The 2016 legislative session ended in chaos at midnight this evening, with the House Republican Majority failing to reach compromise on top priorities for the session – a long-term transportation plan or a bonding bill. Once again, the chaotic final hours of the session saw the House Republicans push through a bonding bill that legislators and the public hadn’t even read. And the session ended at midnight without final passage of bonding bill or transportation package.
“Two years in a row, we have seen a complete lack of transparency. It is an embarrassing and unacceptable process,” said House DFL Leader Paul Thissen. “Minnesotans are frustrated by it and sense that special interests are pulling strings behind the scenes. We should never let this happen again.”
Thissen introduced a plan earlier this year to make reforms to the legislative process to add transparency. Among other reforms, all bills would be public for 24 hours before a final vote. House Republicans rejected the reforms.
“If House Democrats win the majority I am committed to working with Democrats and Republicans to get it done,” said Thissen. (more…)
Sunday night the Senate adjourned after the House adjourned Sine Die early, prior to receiving the Capitol Investment bill, which was on its way to the House. Sen. Bakk has released the following statement in response.
“We accomplished a great deal this session: significant tax relief for working Minnesotans and families, $25 million in funding for preK, an additional $35 million to improve high-speed internet access, funding for mental health services, and $35 million this year with $17.5 million ongoing to address racial and economic disparities. Our investments will go a long way toward building an economy that works for everyone.
“Minnesotans expect us to get our work done and compromise. Unfortunately, no level of DFL compromise was enough for House Republicans, who kept us from accomplishing a Real ID fix and investing in a comprehensive transportation plan.
“I am disappointed we were unable to come to an agreement on a comprehensive transportation bill and a job-creating capital investment bill.”
IMPLOSION: Session ends after House gavels out early, doesn’t take up REALID, bonding, Star Tribune
MIXED: Outcome of legislative priorities varied after closing hours of action, MinnPost
BONDING: Dayton chastises legislators over public works, tobacco tax cuts, Star Tribune
PERSONAL: The costs of late-night legislating take their toll, Pioneer Press
PROGRESS: Notable bills signed, Star Tribune
WATER: One in five septic systems in Minnesota failing, MPR News
IMMIGRANTS: Who may end up being the most disappointed in 2016 session, MinnPost
CHAOS: Messy end of session hinges on content of late-night leadership deal, MPR News
VIETNAM: United States to lift arms embargo with former enemy, MPR News
TALIBAN: Air strike kills extremist group’s leader, Washington Post
BAYER: German company to buy out controversial U.S.-based Monsanto, BBC News
SYRIA: Over 120 killed in Daesh bombings of Assad territory, Al Jazeera
122 days until people can begin to vote by no excuse absentee ballot, Sept. 23
168 days until Election Day, Nov. 8
2016 District 1B Minnesota House: DFL endorses Moore, Crookston Times
Jay McNamar endorsed to represent DFL in House District 12A, Morris Sun Tribune
Mendota Heights Misukanis running for Dist. 52 Senate seat, Lillie News
5 candidates, no DFL endorsement for House 6A, Mesabi Daily News
After chaotic end to session, legislators look to election season, MPR
Tough question for Clinton on economy: Are you better off? The Hill
Juan Williams: Electoral map looks grim for Trump, The Hill
Session implodes at midnight over roads, public works, Star Tribune
Gallery: Legislators worked until midnight deadline, Star Tribune
What it’s like waiting for the Legislature to finish: ‘Banging your head on the wall,’ Pioneer Press
No transportation, bonding deals as Legislature closes session, Pioneer Press
A stumbling finish to a short Minnesota legislative session, Star Tribune
House, Senate pass $182 million supplemental budget headed to governor, Session Daily
No bonding bill after chaotic close to 2016 legislative session, Session Daily
Omnibus tax bill wins overwhelming House support, Session Daily
Minnesota lawmakers end session without transportation, bonding deals, KSTP
Minnesota lawmakers end session without transportation deal, KARE
Minnesota Legislature: Boy, that ended ugly, mnpACT!
Capitol meltdown: Session ends in chaos, MPR (more…)
Thanks to a bipartisan effort, the Legislature has passed a bill to move Minnesota to a presidential primary beginning in 2020. Minnesota DFL Chairman Ken Martin has been a champion for is pleased that more Minnesotans will have the opportunity to take part in the election process.
“This year, more than 200,000 Minnesotans came out and voted in our Presidential Preference Poll but the long lines, short voting window and shortages of ballots and registration sheets made for a very confusing and dispiriting experience,” Martin said. “We were told thousands more Minnesotans were so frustrated that they left without participating in the process.
“It became clear that the Presidential nominating process in Minnesota needed to be reformed.” (more…)