Category Archives: Bill Ingebrigtsen

Legislative Update from Bill Ingebrigtsen

Friends and Neighbors,

What a week at your state Capitol! I had the opportunity this week to get another hearing on my “Blue Alert” bill I also took part in the conference committee regarding the Governors pay increase bill. Please read in the “Hot Button” section of the update for more information. Have a great weekend!

Lawmakers and faith leaders take stand for religious freedom

On Monday, a bipartisan group of legislators joined leaders of various religious faiths to denounce religious persecution around the globe. The group introduced Senate File 15, a resolution asking President Obama and Governor Dayton to take additional steps to raise awareness for the subject and make religious freedom a higher priority.

We are fortunate to live in a country where we have freedom of religion. It’s easy to forget how lucky we are. Around the world, people of faith are more and more often being subjected to discrimination, violence, and even death for no other reason than their religious beliefs. The most recent in a long list of examples is the murder of 21 Christians in Egypt.

The U.S. State Department reported that in 2013, the world witnessed the largest displacement of religious communities in recent memory. According to Pew Research, Christians face persecution in 151 countries – more than any other religious group. Christians are the only religious group at risk in each of the 16 worst countries for religious persecution.

Education plan focuses on “Your School, Your Needs”

This week Senate Republicans introduced an innovative education funding bill that would provide a burst of funding directly to our classrooms while relieving districts of costly, burdensome state mandates that have long tied the hands of school boards, principals, and teachers. Here are the details:

Equitable funding for every child

The “Your School, Your Needs” funding bill would allocate an extra $175 per student for 2016 and $180 per student in 2017 – an increase of 3%. It is a fair, equitable funding method that treats every student in Minnesota exactly the same. For comparison, the governor proposed a 1% increase to the current education “formula” that distributes money unevenly across the state.

No strings attached

In the past, the legislature has forced schools to spend new money on very specific programs that may not align with students’ needs. Our plan comes with no strings attached, giving schools flexibility to spend the money on innovative new ideas that boost student achievement. Locally elected school boards and parents will get to decide how their students will benefit from this funding. This plan also allows schools to opt-out of any future mandates that are forced upon schools for the next two years.

Classroom innovation

Another key feature of the proposal is the “lockbox” provision. It allows school districts to set aside money for specific projects so it cannot be touched during negotiations or budget discussions. I hope our local school boards will take advantage of the lockbox provision to innovate in the classroom.

Local priorities

“Your School, Your Needs” is about trust and priorities. For years, the only answer to problems facing our education system has been funding increases. But as we increase funding, we also cause harm to school districts with hundreds of mandates that tell them exactly what to do with the money. Our bill places faith in local school boards and parents to determine how best to spend education dollars.

The needs of students in Douglas and Otter Tail Counties are not necessarily the same as the needs of students in Minneapolis, so why do we let bureaucrats in St. Paul make education decisions for everyone in Minnesota? “Your School, Your Needs” empowers our schools to come up with bold, innovative ideas and deliver the best possible education to our children, and I’m proud to support this plan.

Hot Button Issues:

This week I was put on the conference committee to discuss the Governor’s proposed pay increases. This conference committee included both the House and Senate. In this conference committee we discussed the differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill. The Senate version called for a delay in the Governors increase till July. The House version had that same language but on July 2nd 2015 it returned the power of giving raises to commissioners back to the legislature. While I believe the power should have never left the legislature I do not believe that we should allow Governor Dayton to give commissioners upwards of 20, 30 and even 40% raises. We should be putting that money into our aging roads and bridges.

Also I had the opportunity to present S.F. 397 the “Blue Alert” bill on Wednesday. This bill would create a new system similar to the Amber alert system. Except in this case, folks in nearby areas will be notified if a law enforcement officer has been either extremely hurt or killed and a suspect is on the loose. Suspects who are willing to do that to a law enforcement official are extremely dangerous and need to be apprehended as soon as possible. This law would lend 5 million more eyes to law enforcement and add no additional cost to the state. The bill passed through the State and Local Government Committee and will be heard next in the Finance Committee.

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

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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

Senator Bill Ingebrigtsen Weekly Update 1-15-15

January 15, 2015

Friends and Neighbors,

It has been a very face paced week here at your state capitol. The full Finance met for the first time this session as we discussed the destination medical center in Rochester, as well as disaster relief. Many constituents and organizations were in this week to my office. I am currently working on bills regarding the DNR and MPCA. Please continue to read below about other issues that have come up this week.

Tax cuts at the top of the agenda

Senate File 50 is a bill that would put Minnesota’s tax laws back in line with federal laws and allow Minnesotans to take full advantage of IRS deductions is making its way through the legislative process quickly. This bill, which was offered by republicans last year and rejected, has the opportunity to be passed as early as next week. I hope my support of federal tax conformity laws will help you to better plan and avoid the hassle of last-minute filing.

Tax savings measures in the bill will include:

· Educators may deduct up to $250 in expenses for classroom supplies.

· Homeowners may deduct mortgage insurance premiums.

· Students and parents may deduct up to $4,000 in tuition and related higher education expenses.

· Parents of disabled children may create new tax-free savings accounts to pay for certain expenses.

· Seniors 70+ may deduct up to $100,000 in charitable contributions made from IRA accounts.

· Businesses may deduct expenses relating to hiring veterans, research, charitable donations, equipment depreciation, and more.

Common sense budget reform refocuses on priorities

I Co-Authored a new bill which is referred to as Zero-Base budgeting that proposes substantial reforms to the way the Minnesota budget is developed. The current practice of using last year’s budget as a starting point often leads to increased spending on programs that are wasteful and inefficient, and creates a false urgency to raise taxes. If passed, this law will require the state budget to be reset to zero every two years, allowing lawmakers to start with a fresh slate and rebuild the budget according to current revenue projections and spending priorities.

The term “zero based budgeting” has been used to describe this common sense reform. Supporters of this process believe that lawmakers should review state programs on a regular basis to establish their effectiveness before continuing funding.

I believe the legislature should look at the fine example the average middle-class Minnesota family provides. They are the ones who sit down at the kitchen table to develop their budget. They know that we aren’t able to get everything we want and we need to live within our means. Likewise, hardworking taxpayers would be better served if lawmakers built the Minnesota budget every two years based on our priorities today and in the future.

Thanks again for taking the time to read my weekly update. One emerging issue is the gridlock between Governor Dayton and the Senate DFL over the office space in the Capitol. This argument, in my opinion, should not delay the construction that the state has invested millions of dollars in. Please keep an eye on this developing issue. 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

LEGISLATURE RECONVENES FOR 2015 SESSION

Hot agenda items likely to include budget agreement, transportation funding

St. Paul – The Minnesota Legislature reconvened in St. Paul today to begin the 2015 legislative session.

“I am excited to begin the new session with a fair and balanced legislature,” said Senator Bill Ingebrigtsen. “It’s an honor and a privilege to once again represent the citizens of Douglas and Otter Tail Counties.

“Over the last two years we saw the harm caused by Governor Dayton and DFL majorities. This year we now have a Republican Majority in the MN House. This will undoubtedly give a stronger voice to Greater Minnesota. With this new Republican Majority we now we have an opportunity to reform our tax laws to provide some relief to hardworking taxpayers. Tax reform has long been a goal of Republicans, and truthfully, Minnesota families deserve this relief.

“Republicans have a simple vision,” Senator Ingebrigtsen continued. “We need to improve the roads in this state as well as making long-term care, healthcare and taxes more affordable. We can address our challenges and make Minnesota a more welcoming environment for families and business if Senate Democrats and Governor Dayton are willing to work with Republicans to support new, innovative ideas.”

Senator Ingebrigtsen will continue to serve as the Republican lead on the Environment, Economic Development, and Agriculture committee. In addition, he will serve as an Assistant Minority Leader, and will have assignments on the Finance, Capital Investment, AND Legacy committees.

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Senator Ingebrigtsen welcomes constituents to contact his Capitol office at 143 State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, Saint Paul, Minnesota 55155, by phone at 651-297-8063, or by email at Sen.Bill.Ingebrigtsen@Senate.mn.