Last Week in Review
It certainly was a busy week in the Minnesota House. Last Wednesday, we heard 106 bills in committee. That’s 3.6% of all bills introduced in a single day! Many omnibus policy bills passed out of their appropriate committee. The Judiciary Policy Bill received unanimous, bipartisan support.
Constitutional Amendments: This week we showed support – through four constitutional amendments – for issues we know are important to Minnesotans as well as the state’s fiscal future:
- Marriage Amendment: The definition of marriage should be defined by the people, not the courts. Rep. Gottwalt’s bill puts the question before voters in 2012 to amend the constitution to define marriage in Minnesota as a union of one man and one woman.
- Photo ID Constitutional Amendment: 80% of Minnesotans support Photo ID at the polls. House Republicans are committed to passing this into state law this session. Rep. Kiffmeyer’s bill to put this in state statute will pass this session but could face a veto by Governor Dayton. Rep. Kiffmeyer has also authored legislation to put this important election integrity issue on the ballot and giving Minnesotans the right to decide.
- 3/5 Majority to Raise Taxes: Currently, tax bills only require approval from a simple majority of lawmakers. However, spending bills – like the bonding bill – take a 3/5 majority. If it takes a 3/5 majority to spend money, it should take a 3/5 majority to raise taxes. Rep. Drazkowski will be carrying this bill this session.
- Spending Accountability: This amendment, authored by Rep. Keith Downey, would cap spending at the level of revenue actually received during the previous budget period. This would reduce volatility in the state’s budget forecasting process by basing spending decisions on actual revenues.
Planning for Federal Solvency
House Republicans also held a news conference to announce legislation, authored by Rep. Keith Downey, that will require state agencies to develop contingency plans in the case of federal government insolvency. The push for this legislation increased after credit rating agency S&P released a negative short-term outlook for the United States and identified material concerns with Washington lawmakers’ ability to enact budgetary reform. As Washington continues to borrow and deficit spend, we need to take steps to ensure Minnesota can fund its priorities and serve our citizens in the event the federal government is unable to deliver on its funding obligations.
About the Budget
The choice we must make at the State Capitol is clear: Either live within our means and reform government, or go to taxpayers for billions of dollars in more taxes and higher spending. The budget we are proposing promotes responsibility and reform. It will lead our state’s economic recovery. It sets priorities, provides tax relief and significantly reforms state government. Click here to learn more: http://tinyurl.com/3qcnh7z and please share the link with your friends, families and supporters!
With only a few weeks left, we will be wrapping up all the work we have done this session. I will keep you updated at least on a weekly basis.