Category Archives: Paul Anderson

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

Rep. Paul Anderson (12B) – Legislative Update

Dear Neighbor,

It’s been nice to return home since the 2014 legislative session concluded late last Friday night.

I’ve had more time to talk with local folks about the issues, get in the field and, of course, spend more time with Faith.

The first major holiday of the summer season is upon us with Memorial Day around the corner. It’s a time when we all should stop to remember the ultimate sacrifice made by those who answered the call to defend our country.

I saw an Internet site which reports there are 21.2 million military veterans in the United States (as of 2012). What those men and women did, what they fought for, was to ensure that the United States of America remains the greatest country in the world.

We owe them a huge debt of gratitude. I encourage you to take a moment this weekend to share their legacy with children. The story of our soldiers deserves to be told so future generations understand what great sacrifices the men and women of our armed forces have made in order to achieve and preserve our freedom.

The weather seems to have finally straightened out. Cold temps throughout springtime have slowed down those crops that have been planted and excess moisture has kept farmers from making much planting progress at all in some areas.

My guess is that corn acres not planted by the end of the month will probably be switched to soybeans. The northern tier of states has the biggest problem with delayed planting while the major corn belt areas have nearly wrapped up.

Be safe this weekend, stay in touch and let’s pray for weather that will help our crops.

Sincerely,

Paul

Rep. Paul Anderson (12B) – Legislative Update

Dear Neighbor,

We have been wading through a whole host of “other” bills this week as we await some bigger ones like bonding and supplemental tax and budget bills to come to the floor.

One of them we addressed pertains to employees continuing the union representation they previously had even when joint-power boards form. This is an issue which has impact in our area as local governments work together.

The bill I am referencing (SF 2490) was modified in the legislative process to address some issues, but concerns remain about whether this bill will discourage local governments from working together when, in fact, we should be encouraging them to come together when it means more efficient work. A mediator should be able to step in and reconcile differences between respective union contracts in such cases. Click here for a brief video where I spoke about this subject on the House floor Tuesday.

As for the “big” bills, it appears we could hear the bonding bill on the House floor as soon as Monday. Indications are the final plan will borrow and spend $846 million in bonds to fund construction projects all across Minnesota. On top of that, they are proposing around another $200 million in a stand-alone cash bill to pay for other work.

Disappointingly, it does not look like funding for the Lewis and Clark Regional Water System, which brings much-needed water to communities in Southwestern Minnesota, will be included. There is a shortage of quality drinking water in that part of the state and it is hard to imagine some of the more questionable projects will take priority over that issue. We’ll see what transpires.

We also expect to hear a supplemental tax bill on the floor soon. They reportedly ironed out House and Senate differences Wednesday night for what would be a second omnibus tax bill this session. I will get back with the details once we are able to give the bill a full rundown.

That other budget bill also is in the works (the additional $200 million on top of bonding) and we anticipate picking that up next week as well. That will be a busy stretch of days as we creep closer to the May 19 deadline to adjourn. We may get done a few days early, or could run right down to the wire. I’ll let you know what transpires.

Sincerely,

Paul

Rep. Paul Anderson (12B) – Legislative Update

Dear Neighbor,

Gov. Mark Dayton issued his State of the State Address last night and a few things stood out in my mind.

First, the governor talked about how transportation is underfunded, yet I have not seen much of a push from the majority to increase it. It seems as if they are on different pages.

The governor also trumpeted MNsure as a success, even though it has had a very rough start. It perplexed me that he made a point of noting that “only” 8 percent of our citizens are uninsured. The problem is that actually is a higher percentage of uninsureds than we had previous to bringing Obamacare to Minnesota. Through the creation of MNsure, some 280,000 Minnesotans were forced off health plans they chose with doctors they liked. Now, just this week, MNsure announced that once again it would be delaying its enrollment deadline for some Minnesotans who qualify.

Dayton also mentioned same-sex marriage in a peculiar way, saying “Here in Minnesota, we greatly enhanced the well-being of many of our citizens by passing into law last year’s marriage equality legislation.” It just struck me as an interesting choice of words to use same-sex marriage as a tool to improve our “well-being.”

On the education front, the governor talked about having increased early childhood education scholarships to $46 million last year. One issue I have with this is the current system favors children in the metro area. We need to implement a statewide approach to the application process so we have greater access to funds in parts of the state like ours.

On another note, I mentioned in the column I submitted to area newspapers this week that we seem to be stuck in a weather pattern again this spring that’s not conducive to getting much outside work done.

According to the calendar, this week should be prime corn planting time, but little if any will get done because of the weather system that’s stalled overhead. Late planting usually means a wetter harvest and more crop-drying. No one wants to experience another round of propane shortages and sky-high prices like we saw last year. And if producers can’t secure enough propane at moderate prices to dry what might be another wet crop, they may forgo planting corn and switch to other crops, such as soybeans.

The next few weeks will be critical as we look for clearing skies and warmer temperatures. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that Mother Nature lightens up on us.

Sincerely,

Paul