Rep. Pryor Update: February 16, 2017

Rep. Laurie Pryor (48A) – Legislative Update

Dear Neighbors,

Earlier this week I was honored to join the Legislative Squadron of the Minnesota Wing of the Civil Air Patrol. Here I am pictured with Colonel Brent E. Halweg. I look forward to partnering with them in the future as they continue their missions including aerospace education, disaster relief, and building youth leadership.

Town Hall Meeting

Next Saturday, February 25th, Sen. Steve Cwodzinski and I invite you to attend a Town Hall Listening Session to hear your viewpoints on the many issues currently before the Legislature. We will meet at the Glen Lake Activities Center in Minnetonka from 10:00 a.m. to noon. I hope you can make plans to attend; we look forward to your questions and comments.

WHAT: Legislative Town Hall Listening Session.

WHO: State Rep. Laurie Pryor, State Sen. Steve Cwodzinski, interested members of the community.

WHEN: Saturday, February 25, 10:00 a.m. – noon.

WHERE: Glen Lake Activities Center, 14350 Excelsior Blvd., Minnetonka, MN, 55345.

Veterans Bills

This session, there are a number of bills moving through committee honoring and helping care for our veterans. One bill (HF 51) would increase the veteran’s property tax exclusion for many disabled veterans, enabling more of them to remain in their homes. Another bill (HF 17), would exempt disabled veterans from paying the motor vehicle registration tax.

HF 16 proposes a change in the individual income tax credit to certain military retirees for their past service. Currently, the veteran must have served in the military for at least 20 years or have a service-connected disability of 100%. HF 16 increases the income level at which the tax credit begins to phase out, and expands the credit to all disabled veterans who have a compensable service-related disability. Another bill, HF 728 looks to prevent veteran homelessness, expand access to substance abuse and chemical dependency treatment, address nursing home costs as veterans wait for placement in a Veterans Home (the waiting list is approaching 1,000 veterans), and expand investments in Veterans Courts, which have proven to be effective.

I hope we can come together on a bipartisan basis to take some of these actions, and address some of the challenges our veterans face.

Regent Selection

The joint Higher Ed Committees met last week to recommend candidates for University of Minnesota Board of Regents. I think this headline is an accurate summation of the meeting:

http://www.twincities.com/2017/02/07/republicans-back-steve-sviggum-in-surprise-bid-for-umn-regents-seat/

While I believe that each candidate who was elected by the joint committees is very well qualified, I am disappointed in the process. Two surprise candidates were nominated during the meeting without any form of advance notice to the full committees. One last minute candidate comes from a hyper-partisan background; the second last minute candidate, the nominee for the 8th Congressional District, was never interviewed by the Regent Candidate Advisory Committee nor by a significant number of committee members. A process like this does not inspire public confidence. The University of Minnesota is too important to the students and families of Minnesota to play partisan games. I am eager to get to work on a better way to select future Regents so that we can have full confidence in citizen oversight of this great institution. We need to be fair to the candidates and transparent to the public.

The following men were selected by the joint committees: 2nd Congressional District: Steve Sviggum, 3rd Congressional District: Darrin Rosha, 8th Congressional District: David McMillan, At Large: Tom Devine. The final step for selecting Regents will be before a joint convention of all Representatives and Senators next Tuesday evening.

As always, I look forward to your input on the issues which are important to you. Please continue to reach out with our feedback and questions, and don’t hesitate to contact me if I can ever be of assistance.

Sincerely,

Laurie Pryor
State Representative