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Kimball, Minnesota
January 29, 2009     Tri-County News
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January 29, 2009

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Pa e 12 Le als 4 Government Thursday, January 29, 2009Kimball, Tri-County News MN Week in review: Jan. 19-23 individuals from Minnesota Citi- zens Concerned for Life (MCCL), Gov. Tim Pawlenty and U.S. Sena- tor Norm Coleman. "Green Acres" The Legislature originally passed the "Green Acres" law in 1967 to prevent the premature development of farmland through tax deferment benefits. More recently it drew legislative atten- tion because it was available only in some counties and was seem- ingly being administered with- out consistency. Changes made by the Legislature in 2008 unexpect- edly complicated the issue, hitting some property owners with large tax bills. To address the problems created by the changes, many law- makers are first seeking to repeal the changes immediately so prop- erty owners saddled with unex- pected bills can see some relief. Later in the session, we can get back to the discussion of how to revise the law to make it fair and consistent. I would be glad to hear your comments on this issue if it has affected you. Northwest/Delta merger Several House and Senate com- mittees met this week for an update on negotiations between the Met- ropolitan Airports- Commis- sion (MAC) and Delta regarding merged airline Northwest's debt to MAC from a 1991 bailout loan. About $245 million is left on the loan which is due in 2012. Because immediate repayment would only benefit the bond holders- not MAC or the state-MAC is negotiatingto maintain a certain level of airline jobs and a minimum number of flights per day. MAC will vote on the terms of the deal on Jan. 26. Sex offenders Another issue on the minds of lawmakers is the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, a program passed by Congress that By Sen. Michelle Fischbach Lawmakers had a short week as we observed the federal Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday on Monday, and had limited committee ,meet- ings on Tuesday, while some lead- ers traveled to Washington, D.C. for inauguration-related events. Jobs climate In the meantime, figures released Thursday, indicate a jump in the state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate, with Decem- ber numbers closing the book on a year when unemployment lev- els took us back to the mid-1980s. A bill extending unemployment assistance was the first passed out of the Senate this year. State by state, news sources are announcing headlines of expand- ing unemployment rates for work- ing Americans. Minnesota is stay- ing slightly lower than national averages, but our leaders must address the task at hand: rein- venting and streamlining govern- ment in a manner that is focused on a new, 21st Century economic model, and giving attention to the tax burdens that have driven many job creators out of the state. Governor's budget" Governor Tim Pawlenty will release his plan to erase a nearly $6 billion deficit next Tuesday, but has made it known around the Capi- tol that his plan includes spend- ing cuts, accounting shifts such as changes in payment schedules and very limited fee increases. It pro- vides the starting point for the next four months of discussions at the Capitol. Local voices on abortion At the Capitol, Thursday, I attended events observing the 36th anniversary of the tragic Supreme Court decision that legal- ized abortion on demand. With me were thousands of other Minneso- tans, dozens of state lawmakers, requires states to adopt a compre- hensive set of minimum standards for sex offender registration and notification. Because the federal standards are at odds with some of the states' standards - includ- ing Minnesota's data privacy laws, states will be allowed to file for compliance deadline extensions. Committees will continue discuss- ing getting Minnesota ready to face the federal mandate. Coming to the capitol? As you may know, getting around the state capitol is diffi- cult during the Legislative Session. Here is a Web link that will help you get around: . Additionally, here is a map that shows good areas to find public parking . Senator Michelle Fischbach is serv- ing in her fifth term in the Minne- sota Senate. She encourages and appreciates constituent input and can be reached at (651) 296-2084, by mail to 145 State Office Building / St. Paul MN 55155 or via e-mail at