Rep. Melissa Hortman Update: May 30, 2017

Rep. Melissa Hortman (36B) – Legislative Update

Neighbors and Friends,

The 2017 legislative session is over. In spite of a $1.65 billion surplus, the Legislature went into overtime and had a four-day special session last week. Governor Dayton called legislators into special session after reaching an agreement on the framework to complete the state budget. Unfortunately, the Republican legislative majorities took several days (and nights) to finish drafting the budget bills. Worse, throughout the four days of the special session, Republicans continued to ignore Governor Dayton’s requests that controversial policy provisions be removed from budget bills.

When the regular legislative session ended at midnight Monday, May 23rd, 70% of the major budget bills were unresolved including education, health and human services, and state government finance. A proposed package of tax legislation also stalled, as did a bonding bill to address infrastructure needs statewide. (more…)

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Sen. John Hoffman Update: May 26, 2017

Welcome to the end of session review.

The session began with a $1.65 billion surplus. the structural balance of the state budget was something that remained at the top of mine and my colleagues minds this session and throughout the days-long special session. Minnesotans expect their legislature to be accountable, accessible, and to complete their work on time, but these values have not been the hallmark of this session and special session. In the days leading up to the end of the regular session, the work of the legislature ground to a halt as Governor Dayton attempted to negotiate budget deals with Republican majorities in both legislative chambers. A few smaller budget bills, including agriculture and economic development, were passed in the wee hours of Monday morning. As the hours ticked by, agreements on major budget bills, including more than 70% of the budget remained unresolved, resulting in a three day special session. (more…)

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Sen. John Hoffman Update: May 19, 2017

Welcome to week 19, the last week of session. The Senate majority called for a long floor session on Monday to pass their remaining budget bills. These include, taxes, transportation, higher education, jobs, and judiciary. All 5 were vetoed on the same day by Governor Dayton. These budget bills included many provisions, including policy provisions, that should be debated separately and are based on bad policy in a budget bill, that the Senate majority knew Governor Dayton could not sign.

Legislative leaders are now busy crafting a global budget agreement with Governor Dayton. There has been positive movement and the two sides are closer to an agreement than they were a week ago, with Governor Dayton willing to meet the Senate and House majorities halfway. I am still concerned and disappointed that we are cutting the health and human services budget in a time of surplus. The Health and Human services budget takes care of our most vulnerable citizens including people with disabilities, the elderly and those in poverty. Even more worrying, the current Health and Humans services budget by the Senate and House is relying on payment shifts instead of budgeting actual numbers.  (more…)

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Sen. John Hoffman Update: May 12, 2017

Welcome to week eighteen. Four months ago, the Senate majority leaders promised accountability and that legislative work would take place in committees, in the light of day. Earlier this week they seemed to forget those promises, and abandoned all attempts at compromising with the Governor.

With no public notice, Republicans signed finalized conference committee bills. Most of these conference committees have not taken public testimony, and provided dark-of-night notice of the early morning hearings that took place on Tuesday this week. (more…)

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Sen. John Hoffman Update: May 5, 2017

Welcome to week seventeen. With just over two weeks left to negotiate a more than $40 billion budget for the next two years, there is a wide gulf between House and Senate Republicans and DFLers. Caucus leaders from both parties met behind closed doors with Governor Dayton this week to outline a framework to begin budget negotiations.

Before numbers can be agreed to, Governor Dayton has made it clear Republicans must remove the more than 600 policy provisions currently in the budget bills. These provisions run the gamut from halting any future light rail projects to limiting the department of agriculture from governing the use of harmful pesticides to eliminating 40-years’ worth of campaign finance reforms. (more…)

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Erik Paulsen Voted To Hurt My Mom: Rep. Peggy Flanagan

The following article by William Bornhoff of the Patch Staff posted the following on the St. Louis Park Patch website May 4, 2017:

St. Louis Park’s state representative took to Twitter Thursday to criticize Congressman Erik Paulsen’s vote for American Health Care Act.

ST. LOUIS PARK, MN — Republicans in the House of Representatives, including Minnesota Third District’s Erik Paulsen, voted to pass the American Health Care Act Thursday by the slim margin of 217-213 with no Democratic votes. GOP leadership has partially recovered its wounded pride after its embarrassing first attempt to pass the bill ended in abject failure in March.

In response, St. Louis Park state Rep. Peggy Flanagan, who represents an area within Paulsen’s district, issued a series of critical tweets at the Republican: (more…)

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Rep. Melissa Hortman Update: May 2, 2017

 

Rep. Melissa Hortman (36B) – Legislative Update

Dear Neighbors,

There are three weeks left in the legislative session. Here’s an update on what’s happening at the Capitol.

Joint Budget Targets

On Friday, the House and Senate Republican majorities set joint budget targets. These targets are a first step in final budget negotiations that will take place between the House, Senate, and Governor over the next few weeks. Unfortunately, the targets they set will underfund E-12 and higher education, and also cut several areas, including health and human services – despite the fact that the state has a budget surplus. The Republican legislative majorities underfund schools and cut other areas of state government to make way for super-sized spending in the tax bill, which is weighted toward tax cuts for corporations and the rich. We are working with Governor Dayton to achieve full funding for our schools, and investments in the areas that will keep Minnesota’s economy strong into the future. (more…)

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Sen. John Hoffman Update: April 28, 2017

Welcome to week sixteen. The Senate Republicans released their targets this morning and I am disappointed with what I see. When Governor Dayton took over 6 years ago, we had frequent budget deficits and an unwillingness to compromise. Governor Dayton and the DFL majority decided to fix this by taxing the top 2% of Minnesotans and ended up with balanced budgets for the past 4 years. The current Senate and House majorities have inherited this balanced budget and their proposals are going to undo this and result in the State of Minnesota having a deficit next biennium.  (more…)

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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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