Monthly Archives: January 2015

Legislative Update from Bill Engebrigtsen

Friends and Neighbors,

What a week at your state Capitol. The Governor released his budget proposal this week. This budget is one of three that we will take a look at this legislative session. The DFL controlled Senate along with the Republican controlled House will both release their budgets within the next couple months. This gives the legislature time to move bills through committees and have thorough discussions about each item in the budget.

At the start of the session, it was encouraging to see Gov. Dayton agree to prioritize tax cuts by putting Minnesota’s tax code in line with the federal tax code. This move cut taxes around $20 million for all Minnesotans and is something to celebrate. However, the governor’s newly released budget proposal seems to reverse this trend. If his budget is adopted, Governor Dayton’s spending impact on Minnesota will be a 23% budget increase since he took office and a 7% increase in just the last two years.

This is significantly different than what the average family has been able to do. Working Minnesotans should be rewarded for pulling our state out of the economic slump and we should do this by returning some taxpayer money that was over-collected by the past DFL majorities. As it stands, the governor’s budget will spend all of the current surplus and large portions of any future surplus.

It’s also noteworthy that K-12 education and healthcare reforms were not included as part of the governor’s budget proposal. I was hoping to see some fresh ideas from the governor to fix persistent problems like the K-12 achievement gap and the financially unstable MNsure system, but he seems to be content with the status quo. My colleagues and I are working toward more substantive reforms and will be introducing those in the coming weeks.

Hot Button Issues

One hot button issue that I have heard about from a few constituents is the AIS decal requirement. While this decal had a strong educational purpose, the requirement was seen as too much. We learned this week that the DNR has planned to delay the program. This will give the legislature the time it needs to pass the bill I co-authored and eliminate the decal requirement.

The Governor, House and Senate leadership finally came to an agreement on the space allocation in the upcoming renovated capitol building. It came with the Senate giving up a majority of its space in the building.

Thank you for taking the time to read my weekly update it remains an honor to represent you in St. Paul. As always feel free to contact me at my office at any time with your legislative concerns at 651-297-8063 or at Sen.Bill.Ingebrigtsen@senate.mn.

Thanks,

Bill

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