Rep. Linda Slocum (50A) – Legislative Update
At the legislature, we have begun the hard work of crafting a budget that reflects the needs of Minnesotans for the next two years. This work will consume much of our time over the next few months.
As we look ahead, here are a few things you might want to know this week:
GOOD NEWS – A BUDGET SURPLUS!
This week, Minnesota Management and Budget announced a forecasted budget surplus of $1.65 billion. The February Economic Forecast revealed that Minnesota continues to have low unemployment and a stable budget.
While Minnesota’s economy is performing well, we should always be looking for ways to improve. This surplus is an opportunity to reinvest in every Minnesotan in all corners of the state – through strong public schools, affordable college and job training, and access to good jobs and good benefits like paid leave and earned sick time.
For too long we have neglected our roads, bridges, and transit system. It has been three years since the legislature passed a robust bonding bill to invest in our infrastructure. It is time to push politics aside and put the needs of Minnesotans first.
To stay competitive, it’s vital we reinvest in our priorities. I’m ready to continue working with Governor Dayton and my legislative colleagues to build a shared vision of economic prosperity for all Minnesotans.
As you may have heard, both chambers of the Minnesota state legislature recently agreed to allow beer, wine, and liquor to be sold in liquor stores on Sundays.
This has become a politically charged issue, and the vast majority of people I have heard from have been in support of Sunday sales.
As the DFL-Lead on the Commerce committee, I worked with all interested parties to craft a workable compromise that eventually passed the full House of Representatives. Our bill would not allow deliveries to liquor stores on Sundays, and it would restrict Sunday hours to one work shift.
But the many people who asked for Sunday sales will now have the opportunity to shop for alcohol on Sundays.
Almost everyone in the legislature agrees that we need to pass a REAL ID bill this year to make sure that Minnesotans can use their driver’s licenses to board domestic flights next year.
We differ just slightly on how to get there. I voted for a “clean” bill that sets up a two-tiered system: one license that is REAL ID compliant and will allow you to board flights, and another that is not compliant but will still allow you to drive.
The version the current majority voted for takes the same two-tiered approach as the clean bill, but it adds on an extra provision meant to attack immigrants by setting in stone a policy that would prohibit some immigrants from obtaining driver’s licenses.
That last minute add-on is not necessary to pass REAL ID and actually threatens to make our roads less safe. As House and Senate leaders negotiate a compromise, I look forward to final language that places us in federal compliance while still balancing the needs of our immigrant community.
As always, I’d love to hear from you. Please feel to reach out anytime with questions or concerns.
Rep. Linda Slocum