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April 25, 2013     Tri-County News
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Pa00e 14 Le00als Government Michelle Fischbach Minnesota State Senator Week in Review: April 19 ing, while dropping the overall rate charged, as well as a $.94 per pack increase in the tobacco tax. Some of the items that will be subject to the new sales tax would include: Auto repairs, Haircuts, Over-the-Coun- ter Drugs, and Clothing (not just those over $100 as was the case in the Governor's proposal) Other Happenings: The Health and Human Ser- vices Finance Bill, Senate File 1034, passed out of the Health and Human Services Finance commit- tee and is working its way through other committees this week. It will likely be up on the Senate floor next week. While this bill makes a $152 million reduction to forecasted spending, the bill actually spends $500,000 more than current law. This week the Senate passed the State Government Omnibus Finance Bill (SF 1589), which elim- inates review of state government agencies, increases the legislature's budget by 10 percent, and increases the salary of legislators by 35 per- cent. I opposed this legislation for a number of reasons, including the inclusion of the pay increase for legislators and the governor. The Senate considered and passed the This week at- the Capitol, the Senate has been continuing work on the state budget. Numerous committee specific budget bills have been heard in the Finance Committee and passed off the Sen- ate Floor. That work continues and likely will into next week. Once a budget bill is passed by both the Senate and the House, there will be a conference commit- tee convened to work out the dif- ferences between the two propos- als. The governor will also begin to engage the legislative committees during these conferences in order to work toward final agreement on all the separate areas of the budget. The one major missing piece of the budget discussions is that Sen- ate Tax bill. This legislation will pro- vide the framework for how all the other spending bills will be paid for once they're all finalized. Work has begun on the tax bill and it will likely include a variety of provisions that were contained in Governor Dayton's original tax proposal. While the full version of the bill is expected to be released next week, it is likely to include income tax increases, an expansion of the sales tax to services, goods, and cloth- Omnibus Higher Education bill this week and it now awaits a con- ference committee with the House. This legislation increases spend- ing by 10 percent over the previous biennium and includes $80 in new money for the University of Minne- sota, the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, and for finan- cial aid programs. On Monday the Environment Finance Commit- tee heard, debated and passed the large omnibus environment, nat- ural resources, agriculture, com- merce, energy, jobs, and economic development appropriations bill (SF1607 Tomassoni.). This legisla- tion has since been passed by the Finance Committee and sent to the Thursday, April 25, 2013 Tri-Coun News www.tricounnews.mn Senate Floor where it will likely be debated this afternoon. This week the data practices omnibus bill passed offthe Senate floor. The data practices omnibus bill includes many provisions intended to pro- tect Minnesotans' information. Of great concern is what information the government, specifically the Department of Health, is collect- ing on Minnesotans, what consent the govemment obtained to col- lect and store the data, and how the government uses the data. The bill is now awaiting action in the House of Representatives, and it is likely that we will have a conference committee between the two bodies to iron out differences. The Senate Education Committee passed the Omnibus Education bill this week and it was referred to the Tax Com- mittee for further hearing. The bill includes a variety of new spending within education, including new dollars on the per pupil formula. The bill also delays the implemen- tation of new testing for perspec- tive teachers that would have taken effect in 2014. Senator Michelle Fischbach encourages and appreciates con- stituent input and can be reached by phone at (651) 296-2084, by mail to G 15 State Office Building, St. Paul, MN 55155, or via e-mail at sen.michelle.fischbach@senate.mn. Board approves chickens in residential districts Other zoning ordinance changes Chickens will now be allowed in residential districts in Stearns County. The Board of Commis- sioners Tuesday, April 23, voted to change the County's Land Use and Zoning Ordinance to allow for chickens in R-1 and R-5 districts. In R-1 zoning districts, up to 12 chickens will be allowed. In an R-5 zoning district, 15 chickens will be allowed for 1 acre, with an additional 4 permitted per addi- tional acre up to 5 acres, allowing for a maximum of 31 chickens in an R-5. All chickens in residential dis- tricts must be confined with a coop and/or fence, and set back 10 feet from all property lines. The raising of chickens in res- idential districts will be allowed as a provisional use, meaning the birds must be registered with Steams County's Environmental Service Department. Commissioners, Tuesday, also approved allowing contractor's yards in agricultural zoning dis- tricts as a conditional use, permit- ting contractors to use property in an agricultural zone for their busi- ness. At the previous Board Meeting on April 9, Commissioners agreed not to include in the Land Use and Zoning Ordinance an allow- ance for motor cross tracks within Steams County. Hedlund Plumbing & Heating, Inc. Septic & holding tank pumping Portable toilets & sewer cleaning THERE'S NO SUBSTITLrFE FOR EXPERIENCE,.. CHOOSE Nohner Electric, Inc. FOR ALL YOUR EI,ECTRICAI, NEEDS.. JUST LIKE YOUR NEIGHBORS I lAVE BEEN [K3ING FOR 30 YEARS! 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