Gov. Dayton’s plan would make roads and bridges safer, ready for economic growth

By Ken Martin, chairman, Minnesota DFL

Gov. Mark Dayton recently outlined his transportation proposal to improve 2,200 miles of roadways and 300 bridges in Minnesota. It’s no mystery why the state is at a crisis point: a majority of Minnesota’s roads are more than 50 years old, and in the next three years one in five will pass its useful life; and 40 percent of our bridges are 40 years old or older, and in the next 10 years, most will be past their useful life.

The deteriorating roads and bridges are having a direct impact on family and business bottom lines. As a result of bad roads, Minnesotans pay more than $1 billion a year – or about $400 per person – on vehicle repairs. Traffic congestion adds more than $200 million to businesses’ freight and transportation costs. Without action, the cost of transportation will continue to be a burden to families and businesses, and hamper Minnesota’s economic growth.

Thanks to Gov. Dayton’s plan, projects can be found throughout the state. Priority was given to roads in urgent need of repair. Gov. Dayton is also proactive, recommending long-term fixes on projects currently underway as well as preventive maintenance that will save money in the long run. The proposal also provides additional funding for “Corridors of Commerce,” a program that improves roadways used to move freight across the state.  Read More

Gov. Dayton’s Road and Bridge Improvements Announcement

Gov. Mark Dayton and Transportation Commissioner Charlie Zelle today released a detailed list of more than 600 road and bridge improvements that would be completed if the Legislature passes the Governor’s proposed investments in transportation. The comprehensive list, sorted by county, details the more than 2,200 miles of state roadways and 330 bridges that would be repaired, replaced, or expanded over the next ten years under the Governor’s proposal.

Want to know where those projects are located?  Click here for a full listing.

Sen. Hoffman Encourages Investment in Early Childhood Family Education Programming

36HoffmanSen. John Hoffman (DFL-Champlin, Brooklyn Park and Coon Rapids) joined Sen. Katie Sieben (DFL-Newport) on a tour to visit the Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE) and Preschool program at Coon Rapids Family Place last week. The Senators were joined by Program Supervisor Jody Bordwell, Anoka-Hennepin Schools Superintendent David Law, Director of Early Childhood Education Steve Kerr, Board Chair Tom Heidemann, and Board Member Joe Simons.

Sen. Hoffman and Sen. Sieben are both passionate advocates for greater investment in early childhood education programs. The ECFE program they visited helps prepare young children for kindergarten while also providing parents with the opportunity to meet with other families and licensed parent educators to discuss topics like development, temperament and guidance.

“The tour included showing us what evidence-based programs look like. The programs help create a strong foundation for our youth to work toward becoming part of the world’s best workforce,” said Hoffman. “The Coon Rapids Family Place is a great example of what has been working so well in the Anoka Hennepin School District. Young students are eager to learn and will continue to grow in kindergarten and beyond when they are in an inspiring classroom setting.” Read More

DFLers, unions look to improve conditions for working Minnesotans

Time-Card-MachineAccording to an Economic Policy Institute Report, wage theft costs American workers more than $30 billion dollars per year. DFL legislators are working with unions to combat this problem in Minnesota.

“Whether it’s an extra timecard used to deny overtime pay or paying below the minimum wage; wage theft is a problem for far too many workers,” said Minnesota AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Steve Hunter. “It should be a universal value that people be paid the wages they earn, unfortunately some employers don’t see it that way.”

The legislation, authored by Sen. David Tomassoni and Rep. Carly Melin:

  • Increases penalties for wage theft from double to triple of the amount owed to the employee.
  • Provides criminal penalties for employers who willfully or repeatedly violate this law.
  • Ensures all wage theft complaints are confidential.
  • Extends the statute of limitations on all wage theft to six years.
  • Allows the state to revoke a business’ license for non-compliance or multiple abuses in paying back lost wages.
  • Requires employers who violate this law to post a bond to prove they have the ability to pay wages.
  • Provides for grants to community organizations to help educate workers about their rights and how to recoup lost wages.
  • Creates a wage recovery fund as a contingency to ensure workers receive the wages owed to them.
  • Protects workers from employer retaliation.
  • At last brings Minnesota into federal conformity with the 40-hour workweek.

Look this week for additional legislation from House DFL Caucus and Senate DFL Caucus members that will help workers.

Minnesota’s major party chairs agree to move 2016 precinct caucus date

To meet the requirements for the 2016 Presidential nominating process set forth by both the Democratic and Republican National Committees, DFL Chairman Ken Martin and GOP Chairman Keith Downey have agreed to move the 2016 precinct caucus date to March 1, 2016.

State law allows the chairs of Minnesota’s two major political parties to submit to the Minnesota Secretary of State a single date on which they have agreed to conduct their precinct caucuses in the next even-numbered year. A letter notifying Secretary of State Steve Simon stating the agreement was delivered Monday, Feb. 16.

DFL Chairman Ken Martin said he and Downey found quick agreement on this issue and he appreciates the opportunity to move the date. That evening DFLers will cast a binding presidential preference ballot.

“With an open seat at the top of the ticket we are already gearing up for a busy 2016,” Martin said. “We’ll work hard between precinct caucuses and the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia to have a delegation that is ready to nominate the next President of the United States. And after we have our nominee we’ll work hard to keep the seat in Democratic hands to ensure this nation has a leader that works for the interests of all people, not the interests of a select few.”

2017 CD3 Convention

Were you elected a delegate to the 3rd Congressional District DFL convention where Sen. Terri Bonoff was endorsed?

You’re still a delegate to this year’s convention.  Please plan on joining us:

WHAT:  CD3 DFL Convention
WHEN:  Wednesday, March 15, 2017, 7:00 PM
WHERE:  Council Chambers, Minnetonka Community Center, 14600 Minnetonka Blvd., Minnetonka, MN 55345

Be the Difference!

Consider Becoming a CD3 DFL Officer or Director

At the above convention, we will elect 5 officers and 1 director at this convention. Please help us make a difference in the suburbs by screening for one of these positions on Thursday, March 2nd.

To make an appointment to screen, fill out the 2017_cd3_nominations_form and click again to submit it.*

1 BEFORE YOU FILL OUT THE FORM, save it to your hard drive.

2. Open the form saved to your hard drive, fill it out and SAVE THE COMPLETED FORM

3. Use the button at the bottom of the completed form, or simply attach the completed form to an email, and send it to peterhill@sprynet.com

For more information, please contact peterhill@sprynet.com

* There is a button at the bottom of the form that will work for some computer set ups. Otherwise, save the form to your computer and attach it to an email to peterhill@sprynet.com.

Sen. Hoffman Introduces Achieving a Better Life Experience Act

SJH Steve Larsen ABLE_2-11-15Senator John Hoffman (DFL-Champlin, Brooklyn Park and Coon Rapids) has introduced legislation (SF 39) that will make a big difference in the lives of children with disabilities. The Achieving a Better Life Act (ABLE Act) allows families with children with disabilities, and individuals with disabilities to set up tax-advantaged accounts similar to the 529 higher education accounts. These savings accounts can help the person with a disability work towards gaining more independence.

The federal ABLE Act was passed into law just a few months ago and enables each state to establish their own version. The Minnesota ABLE Act allows parents of children and individuals with a disability to open this bank account. Without passage of the ABLE Act, people with disabilities are limited to saving up to $2,000 and can lose eligibility for pubic benefits if they exceed that amount. Passage of the ABLE Act will allow savings of up to $14,000 per year. Minnesota ABLE Account savings may grow to $100,000 before Social Security Supplemental Income would be suspended, and accounts are capped at $350,000.

A person of any age must have a disability diagnosed before the age of 26 to be eligible. Contributions to the account are not tax-deductible and earnings may accumulate tax-deferred and become tax exempt if spent for approved purposes.

“This is a long overdue recognition of the profound and significant extra costs people with disabilities and the blind must endure. The Minnesota ABLE Act provides some hope and is a vehicle by which families with young people  with disabilities may avoid living at near poverty levels.” said Sen. Hoffman. “The Minnesota ABLE Act is totally non-partisan and it is estimated to impact up to 100,000 Minnesotans. By passing this legislation, we are putting people first. Finally.”

The ABLE Act was heard in the Senate Health, Human Services and Housing committee this week and passed with a unanimous vote. The legislation’s next committee stop is the Judiciary Committee.

You can email Sen. Hoffman or call his office at 651.296.4154.

Check the Box to Help Elect Democrats

Check the Box

It’s time for people to be thinking about filing their taxes. And, that means it’s time to remember to Check Off for the DFL.

Why should you care?

On your Minnesota return, there’s a box toward the top of the first page where you can check off that you want $5 to go to Democratic candidates. This money is used by the State of Minnesota to help fund the monies it gives endorsed state candidates who agree to abide by spending limits.

Every dollar that comes from the State of Minnesota is that dollar less a candidate has to take the time to raise allowing him or her to focus on talking with voters. And, that’s a big help when covering a legislative district of thousands for people.

So, remember:

Check the Box and Help Elect Democrats