Rep. Melissa Hortman (36B) – Legislative Update
We’re currently awaiting the February Economic Forecast on Tuesday. The forecast is a projection of revenue and will help lawmakers as we put together a state budget to benefit all Minnesotans. Read below for an update on some other recent actions at the capitol.
On Monday, the House voted to approve Sunday liquor sales. The measure must also pass the Senate, and if it does, Governor Dayton said he would sign the bill into law. Recent grassroots support from Minnesotans has led the way for Sunday sales after a 159 year ban. The bill contained a compromise to limit hours of operation and continue to ban liquor deliveries on Sundays.
Here’s my vote on Sunday sales:
Two education voucher bills were before the House Tax Committee this week. HF 387 (Knoblach) and HF 386 (Kresha) would both allow tax credits for tuition or donations to private schools. Extending tax credits to cover private school tuition would have a similar effect to a voucher program, would put state resources into private schools without oversight and could end up taking resources away from our public schools. Minnesota has a history of strong public schools and excellence in education, and we should work to ensure we’re continuing to provide the best education possible for all Minnesota kids.
A joint convention of the House and Senate met Wednesday night to elect Regents to govern the University of Minnesota. This year, four Regents were elected, one each from the 2nd, 3rd and 8th Congressional Districts and one at-large to serve six-year terms. The Regent Candidate Advisory Council interviewed 17 candidates and forwarded twelve candidates to the Joint Legislative Committee. Those elected were Former House Speaker Steve Sviggum, General Mills CEO Ken Powell, healthcare executive Darrin Rosha and Minnesota Power’s David McMillan.
On Thursday, the House voted on HF 3 (Smith), the Real ID bill. It would bring Minnesota into compliance with the federal Real ID requirements, allowing Minnesotans to board airplanes and enter
Federal and military facilities. Despite the need for urgent action on Real ID, the bill included an unrelated provision that would prevent undocumented immigrants from ever being able to obtain a legal driver’s license. I supported an amendment for the Real ID part of the bill without the controversial anti-immigrant language, but it failed by a vote of 74-57. These issues do not belong in the same legislation. A Real ID bill without the controversial language is moving in the Senate, and I’m hopeful this clean Real ID bill will pass so Minnesotans can travel without interruption in 2018.
As always, please contact me anytime with questions and comments. I appreciate hearing from you!