Monthly Archives: June 2014

Rep. Mary Franson (08B) – Legislative Update

Dear Neighbor,

Today we received some great news from the U.S. Supreme Court in a case based out of Illinois called Harris v. Quinn. The high court ruled that homecare workers in Illinois are not public employees and therefore cannot be forced to join a public employee union and pay union dues.

As you may recall, last fall a federal appeals court had put Minnesota’s childcare unionization law passed in 2013 on hold until this case was settled. With it now decided, it is very likely the federal courts in Minnesota will rule the law is unconstitutional for childcare providers.

Currently, a lawsuit called Parrish v. Dayton filed by a childcare provider is before a Minnesota federal appellate court. With the ruling in Harris v. Quinn now the law of the land, we anticipate we’ll have a ruling soon that will overturn the childcare unionization law.

In response to the ruling, I released the following statement:

“The ruling from the Supreme Court today sends a clear signal to Governor Dayton and Democrats in the legislature that they must cease their reckless attempts to force independent childcare providers into a government union. Our children deserve better than to be pawns in a scheme to get more union dues out of hardworking parents,” said Franson, a former childcare provider. “Minnesota parents and childcare providers can now breathe a sigh of relief knowing it’s likely that their childcare will not be imperiled by the higher costs and reduced choices of forced unionization.”

You can also watch my floor speech from May of 2013 opposing the childcare unionization law.

If you have any questions about this ruling and what it means for Minnesota, please feel free to contact me.

You can send me an e-mail at Rep.Mary.Franson@House.MN or call my office at 651-296-3201. You can also send mail to my office address:

211 State Office Building,
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.,
St. Paul, MN 55155.

Sincerely,

Mary

Rep. Paul Anderson (12B) – Legislative Update

Dear Neighbor,

A number of new laws will go on the books July 1 and below is some information on that subject, as well as an update regarding flood relief. Many of the changes are budgetary following a $263 million supplemental spending bill that passed this year in light of our $1.23 billion surplus forecast in February. Health and Human Services will receive the greatest increase at $104 million. This is largely due to the $80 million (5 percent) increase we provided to home- and community-based care providers. A notable non-budget set of changes is designed to help curb the theft of smartphones.

Effective this July 1, 2014, all Minnesota phone dealers must keep a written record of each acquisition that includes information about the device, the seller of the device and more. Manufacturers will have until July 1, 2015, to equip phones with the antitheft function.

Click here for complete details on the new laws.

The column I submitted to area newspapers this week pertained to recovery efforts after huge amounts of rain hit Minnesota this month. Here are some of the key points: There are 35 counties included in a State of Emergency declared by an Executive Order from Gov. Mark Dayton. This makes a wide range of state resources/assistance available and engages state agencies. I was surprised that none of the counties in District 12B – Douglas, Pope and Stearns – were left off the eligibility list. The way it works is individual counties total up their damages to uninsured public structures, and if they reach certain amounts, they would be declared disaster counties. The formula uses population figures and multiplies that by a set dollar amount, in this case, $3.50, to come up with individual county thresholds.

For Stearns County, whose 2010 census figure was just over 150,000, the threshold is just over $527,000. The figure for Pope County with its population of just under 11,000 is $38,000. And for Douglas County and its 36,000 residents, the amount is just over $126,000. Under new state disaster legislation, if damage in a county amounts to one-half of those set figures, they would become eligible for disaster aid.Also, I have said some of the largest losses are to agriculture in the form of eroded top soil and lost crop production. If individual counties are declared disaster areas, farmers in those and adjacent counties will be eligible for federal aid in the form of emergency loans. Losses must exceed 30 percent in crops or livestock.

Rural Finance Authority disaster loans are also a possibility that can be utilized for losses not covered by insurance such as feed stocks being washed away. We are still awaiting word as to whether Gov. Mark Dayton will call a special session so we can provide flood relief beyond the $3 million that is available without the Legislature convening. Let me know if I can be of assistance to anyone with questions or problems dealing with the excess water situation.

Please contact my office in St. Paul at 651-296-4317 or my home phone at 320-239-2726.

Sincerely,

Paul

Rep. Paul Anderson (12B) – Legislative Update

Dear Neighbor,

Twin cities media is finally picking up on the story of too much rain in farm country, and its implications for reduced crop production this year. More heavy rain this past weekend has many wondering when this spate of wetness will end. Reports of up to three inches around Belgrade and over six inches in the Willmar area left much farm land and even parking lots under water. And the forecast is calling for chances of rain every day throughout the rest of this week.

I visited with several farmers in New Munich last weekend and heard about their efforts at putting up hay. One told of chopping haylage nearly all night and getting stuck in wet field conditions several times. He reported having to unhook the wagon from the chopper and pull it out backward. One can imagine the ruts and deep holes left in the field under such conditions.

Time is also running out for those who still have fields left to plant, or those who would like to re-plant areas that have drowned out because of standing water. As we approach the end of June, yields of crops planted this late would probably be greatly reduced. Dairymen and others who raise livestock may still decide to keep planting if they are short of feed supplies for their animals.

Water levels are also rising on area lakes and rivers which could impact resort and campground business. Because the season is so short in Minnesota, owners would like to utilize every weekend and keep their facilities occupied.

The amount of rain received in some areas during the past three weeks has been staggering. Some of the hardest hit areas have received upwards of 10 to 12 inches or even more. The ground hasn’t had a chance to dry out between rain events, which has made field work extremely challenging. There’s an old farming axiom that says too much rain is better than too little; however, I think we’ve reached a point where nearly everyone is saying “enough is enough.”

Sincerely,

Paul

More Townhalls!

Dear Neighbor,

Sen. Torrey Westrom and I [Paul Anderson] have scheduled three town hall meetings June 12 in order to receive input from local citizens. This follows one we recently conducted in Alexandria. Sen. Westrom and I will provide our thoughts on the now-concluded 2014 session, but the main thing is we’d like to hear what is on people’s minds. Here is the schedule and I hope you can attend:

June 12 town hall schedule:

Glenwood: 1 p.m., Pizza Ranch, 14 Minnesota Ave. E.

Sauk Centre: 2:45 p.m., Lynx National Golf Course clubhouse, 40204 Primrose Lane

Melrose: 4 p.m., Arvig, 224 Main St. E.

Although it’s raining again this afternoon as I write this email, the precipitation is not as heavy as that received last week. Unofficial totals ranging up to nine inches or more were reported in some of the hardest-hit parts of western Stearns County. Todd County, just to the north, also had heavy rain, and State Highway 28 in the Ward Springs area was washed out. According to officials from MnDOT, about 160 feet of the roadway had to be replaced before the road could be re-opened again. A county road in Stearns County was also washed out as a result of the weekend deluge, according to Stearns County Highway Engineer Jody Teich. That was County Road 187, located southwest of Sauk Centre, where about 50 feet of roadway washed away. County work crews were busy repairing the road, and it was opened to traffic again on Tuesday. Officials will let the new portion of the roadway “settle” a bit before applying a finishing coat of blacktop.

I visited with a resident who lives along Highway 4, just south of I-94 between Sauk Centre and Melrose, and the approach off the highway to his driveway was washed out. I also visited with a board member of the Sauk River Watershed, who reported that a ditch clean-out project currently in progress, was damaged by the weekend rain. The new ditch banks hadn’t been stabilized yet, and trees and other debris that had been cleaned out of the ditch were carried downstream and contributed to culverts being plugged.

I also was in contact with Stearns County Emergency Management who reported that, for the most part, the cities and townships most affected by the heavy rains, were doing a good job of getting things back to normal.

Sincerely,

Paul Anderson