Annual Convention of the Douglas County Republicans

There will be no regular monthly meeting on February 3rd.  Instead, the annual convention of the Douglas County Republicans will be held February 21st at 7:00pm at the Alexandria Senior Center, 414 Hawthorne Street in Alexandria.  Registration will begin at 6:30.  There will be a $3 charge to help cover expenses of the convention.  Our BPOU (Basic Political Organizational Unit) officers will be elected for two-year terms.

Thank you to all of you for allowing me to serve you as chairman for the past 10 years!  It has been a privilege!

Dan Haglin

Quick Link

Legislative update from Senator Torrey Westrom.

Rep. Paul Anderson (12B) – Legislative Update

Dear Neighbor,

Hello from St. Paul, where we are nearing the end of Week 3 in the 2015 session. Here is a recap of some things that have come across my radar.

We are examining issues pertaining to ground water which have significant impacts in our area. The DNR recognizes quantity and quality in its decision-making process for irrigation purposes. I believe those should be two separate issues. If ground water levels are stable, then let’s act appropriately. If there are water-quality issues, let’s address those, too, but separately.

I believe farmers and all residents in our area voluntarily conserve water and encourage them to do so. Local input is important as we work to bring improvements and I welcome your thoughts on the matter.

On a related note, we recently received word Gov. Mark Dayton is looking to expand buffers around our waters. Specifically, he proposes that “a 50 foot [grass or similar] buffer be placed around all state waters.” This requirement would be “enforced by the DNR through aerial and other inspections.’’

One quote from Dayton especially caused a stir: “The land may be yours. But the water belongs to all of us, and to all who will follow all of us.’’

This announcement came as a surprise to many and it comes with numerous questions. How would this impact farmers and other landowners? Where will the funding come from to pay for this plan? Are we comfortable having the DNR supersede local governments in enforcing these regulations?

The vast majority of farmers I know are careful stewards of their land. They do their best to minimize erosion and maximize productivity from their acres.

Maybe common-sense improvements will prevail from the governor having floated this proposal but, for now, we need to do a lot more investigating to answer these questions and a whole lot more. The changes could be profound in areas of the state like ours and we need to determine exactly what this proposal would mean.

I will keep you posted as things unfold but, again, please send me your thoughts.

Sincerely,

Paul

Rep. Mary Franson (08B) – Legislative Update

Dear Neighbors,

It was an exciting first full week of session at the Capitol as committees kicked into high gear. I am excited to share with you some of the things that took place at the Capitol this week.

Federal Tax Conformity Bill

The House passed its first bill on Thursday of this week. HF 6 conforms Minnesota’s tax code to some of the federal changes that have taken place since 2013 as they pertain to taxes filed for 2014. When all is said and done, this bill provides $19.9 million in immediate tax relief to Minnesotans for the 2014 tax year. Included in the bill is a higher education tuition deduction, an educator classroom expenses deduction, and a mortgage insurance premiums deduction. Hard working Minnesotans pay enough taxes as it is. That’s why I’m glad that the first bill that the new House Republican Majority passed leaves more money in taxpayers’ pockets.

Tax filing season begins January 20th. Please make sure to contact your local tax accountant for any information you may need when filing your taxes this year.

Committees Begin

Committees began in earnest this week and I am excited to begin working on the problems that matter most to Minnesotans. I am honored to be serving on four committees this session. However, I am most looking forward to my work on the Agriculture Policy Committee where I am serving as vice-chair. Our work in this committee will focus on easing the burden on Minnesota’s farmers in an effort to help our agriculture industry continue to flourish and grow. The agriculture industry is the largest economic driver in Greater Minnesota and a vital component to our way of life. I am committed to refocusing state government’s priorities on Greater Minnesota and Minnesota’s farmers because when all of Minnesota does well, not just the Twin Cities, we all do well.

Staying in Touch

As always, please feel free to contact me via e-mail at Rep.Mary.Franson@House.MN or contact my office at 651-296-3201. You can also send mail to my office address: 517 State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55155.

Sincerely,

Mary