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June 9, 2011     Tri-County News
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0000urs00+&apos;une00'"011 Community Tri-County News * Kimball, MN Week in Review: End-of-Session update By Michelle Fischbach Minnesota State Senator The budget was passed out of committee early this year to give ample time to work through con- ference committees. Unfortunately, most of the budget.was vetoed by Governor Dayton. Bills that passed: Ag Bill Governor Dayton signed the FY2012-13 Agriculture & Rural Economies budget bill in April. The bill spends $76.8 million for the three major areas that com- pose the overall agriculture bud- get: the Department of Agriculture, the Board of Animal Health, and the Agricukural Utilization Research Institute. It funds and proect s Min- nesota's livestock and grain indus- tries, the health and safety of our food supply system, and our ever- increasing export programs. Permitting reform The Senate worked in bi-par- tisan fashion with the House and Governor Dayton to create legisla- tion. that will reduce bureaucratic red tape, create more stability in the permitting and review process, and move Minnesota toward a more jobs-friendly business climate. Defining marriage The Legislature passed a mea- sure that would give Minnesotans the opportunity to vote on the def- inition of marriage in the 2012 elec- tion. The introduction of the issue and placement on the 2012 ballot allows a year of public discussion in communities statewide in prepara- tion for the vote in next year's gen- eral election. Hannah's Law A new law will require CPR training for all teachers and assis- tant teachers in child care centers. "Hannah's Law" honors Hannah Kozitza, who died after choking on a grape while at a day care facility last summer. Green Acres Legislation intended to reform Minnesota's problematic Green Acres program was finally signed into law. The legislation will protect farmers from rising property taxes because of nearby commercial and residential development. 'Designer' drug law A new drug law contains pro- visions relating to designer drugs, analogs, and fluid from water pipes used with marijuana. Specifically, it makes it illegal to possess syn- thetic cannabinoids, known as K2 or SPICE, and adds 2C-E, 2C-I, and analogs to the Schedule I list of con- trolled substances. Police animal There are now increased pen- alties for people who harm or kill police and ther public safety dogs in police actions, search and rescue operations, correctional facilities, or arson investigations. Teacher licensing A new law will create, an alter- nate pathway for licensing teachers in Minnesota. Under the law, well- qualified individuals can share real-world skills in the classroom. The law may also make it easier to find teachers for the most challeng- ' ing areas of the state. Rural EMTs A new law allows experienced paramedics to become certified as "community paramedics." Under the proposal, certain EMS person- nel could provide health services and advanced levels of care for pre- vention, emergency care, evalua- tion, triage, disease management and referrals. Fleeing a peace officer This law extends the felony law to situations where a suspect ini- tially flees police in a motor vehicle, but abandons the vehicle and con- tinues to flee by other means. Vulnerable adults This measure standardizes the penalty for assaulting a vulnerable adult and grants a vulnerable adult the opportunity to weigh in with his or her own statement when the Vul- nerable Adult Maltreatment Review Panel is investigating or deciding a maltreatment case. Bills that did not make it through the complete legislative process: The Legacy Bill, which appropri- ates funds generated from the 2008 Clean Water, Land and Legacy Act constitutional amendment. The legislation'appropriates $449.2 mil- lion over the biennium for Outdoor Heritage, Clean Water, Parks and Trails, and Arts and Cultural Heri- tage None of the money appropri- ated in the bill is available until the biennial budget for the appropriate agencies is enacted for FY2012-13. Although a local partner was found in Ramsey County, a new Vikings Stadium bill is taking a back burner to budget negotiation. Other issues regarding a new stadium still need to be clarified as well. Work will continue on lifting Minneso- ta's 17-year nuclear moratorium, approved by both houses but held in conference committee. A plan to add gambling at Min- nesota's horse tracks, Racino, is on hold. Although it did have a hearing, no action was taken by the commit- tee. Supporters say the bill can help rescue Minnesota's failing equine industry and add $250 million in new revenue each biennium. A package of lawsuit reform bills designed to reform Minnesota's legal system, save taxpayers money, and encourage economic develop- ment, faced hurdles in the House. These bills are designed to reform our civil justice system to provide less expensive lawsuits, and to elim- inate incentives for delay that add costs for all. The House defeated state match to the Federal Emer- gency Management Agency (FEMA) for disaster assistance to MN coun- ties affected by the 201l Spring Flooding. Budget bills passed by the Legislature, vetoed by Governor Dayton: What was in the bills... E-12 Education At $14.1 billion, this legisla- tion contains equi W and account- ability, reforms and initiatives. This measure provides new funds, both in general and special education. Education remains by far the larg- est single component (41 percent) of the state's budget and this mea- sure increases funding over the pre- vious biennium by 3.2 percent state- wide. It repeals many state mandates and instead gives local districts flexi- bility, replaces inconsistent and inte- gration revenue with specific literacy aid, and sets ongoing evaluation cri- teria for both teachers and districts. Health and Human Services This $10.135 billion spending bill contains an 8-percent increase from current HHS spending, although it is an l 1-percent reduction from over- all projected spending. This measure protects and increases some trad- ing for nursing homes and the dis- abled. Major reforms are made to state-subsidized health care deliv- ery systems to move toward and patient-centered system, eliminate state-funded medical assistance for legal non-citizens, and make responsible changes to the electronic benefit transfer (EBT) program. State Government Funding a variety of state pro- grams, including the Legislature and constitutional officers, this bill cuts nearly 34 percent of forecasted spending and works to improve delivery of services while protect- ing veterans. It contains a 15-percent state workforce reduction by 2015 (excluding MnSCU, the Department of Military Affairs, and the Depart- ment of Veterans Affairs), mostly through attrition. Economic development The Jobs & Economic Growth final bill helps businesses secure capital to expand and create jobs, and creates a small business loan program. One major reform is the elimination of pass-through grants (legislative ear- marks) by creating three competi- tive workforce development grant programs. The bill is carefully crafted to prioritize available resources on funding workforce and housing pro- grams for the unemployed and the most vulnerable. Higher Education The Higher Education budget bill contains more than $2.5 billion in state funding for the University of Minnesota, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, and the Office of Higher Education, which administers financial aid programs for ehgible public and no3public students. This balanced legislation works to make education affordable for Minneso- tans by capping tuition, increasing funding for need-based state grants, protecting work study programs, and protectingchildcareassistancegrants. Judiciary & Public Safety Funding courts and public safety programs at $1.8 billion, this bill was carefully crafted to protect core constitutional services of govern- ment, especially fire, police, and correctional facilities. The measure increases the public defenders' bud- get because of their constitutional mandate to represent clients in court. Transportation Through multiple sources, the state appropriates $4.54 bil- lion in total spending on state and local roads, public safety, and tran- sit over the FY20012-13 biennium; $62.2 million of this is state Gen- eral Fund money. In this mea- sure, services to the elderly and dis- abled have beeia protected, and Greater Minnesota Transit will actu- ally receive a slight increase in fund- ing from the current biennium. This bill alsoincludes up to $20 million in Trunk Highway money to promot6 economic development, increase employment, and relieve traffic con- gestion. To avoid service reductions and fare increases, this bill requires the Met Council to use its reserves for bus bperations and to fund trans- fer authority passed by the 2009 Leg- islature. This measure increases local road funding by more than $120 mil- lion, and puts the brakes on unaf- fordable rail and transit projects. Environment, Energy & Commerce The Environment, Commerce & Energy. budget bill appropriates $201.46 million in the areas of Envi- ronment and Natural Resources; Commerce and Consumer Protec- tion; and Energy, Utilities and Tele- communications for the next bien- nium, including funding for Depart- ment of Natural Rsources enforce- ment, firefighting, efforts to inves- tigate and combat aquatic invasive species and ChronicWasting Disease, as well as Red River flood damage grants and flood mitigation efforts. The legislation includes $51.16 mil- lion of funding to the Environment and Natural Resources trust Fund, which the Legislative Citizen-Com- mission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR) appropriates to projects. Taxes As the key piece of the budget, the tax bill gives Minnesotans tax reduc- tions of $203 million and tax relief of $30 million in homeowner prop- erty tax refunds for FY2012-13 and $120 million in FY2014-15. The mea- sure also includes a number of provi- sions to encourage economic growth and job expansion, including a $34.8 million expansion of the research and development tax credit and an initial reduction and later phase-out of the statewide business property tax. A key provision included in the bill brings Minnesota's tax laws into conformity with the Bush tax cuts for 2010, including elimination of the marriage penalty. Other nota- ble provisions include an average 10-percent increase in refunds for eligible lower-and middle-income homeowners through the home- owner property tax refund program, allowing tuition to be included in eli- gible expenses for tax credits for low- income families through the K-12 education tax credit effective tax year 2013, a phased-in military retirement Page 5 income tax exclusion, and tax relief Abortion for estate taxes, small businesses This legislation would have pre- and farms to encourage small busi- vented tax dollars in state-spon- ness succession planning and family sored health igrograms not he used farming. Local Government Aid and for funding abortions, except to the county Program Aid funding is not extent necessary for continued par- cut, but rather continued at 20101ev- ticipation in a federal program. els, except for the three largest cities. Another measure required a pbysi- Non-budget bills vetoed by cian, prior to performing or indue- Governor Dayton: ing an abortion, to determine the Redistricting post-fertilization age of the unborn The once-a-decade redistricting child and prohibits performing or process that adjusts the bounder- attempting to perform an abortion if ies of all eight congressional districts the post-fertilization age is 20 weeks and most of the state's 201 legislative or more, unless a medical emergency districts by population was vetoed, or medical condition. Voter ID Senator Michelle Fischbach In addition to establishing a encourages and appreciates con- photo ID requirement for voting, this stituent input and can be reached bill explored election administration by phone at (651) 296-2084, by mail and integrity, established optional to 226 State Capitol / St. Patti, MN electronic roster systems for pre- 55155 or via e-mail at sen.michelle. cincts, and created a new chapter of fischbach@senate.mn. law governing recounts. Ki,nbdl senior Dininq Menu '1"!,t7 Suggested contribution for June per- I1 II/ sons 60+ arid volunteers is $3.50, Monday-Euchre: Hot roast or what you can afford. Guests prk sandwich, whipped pota- under 60 pay $7. toes w/gravy, squash, apricots. REMINDER: When there is a Tuesday-Euchre: Salmon loaf, choice of entree on the menu, you oven fried potatoes, peas in cream will receive the first one listed sauce, wheat bread, gingerbread UNLESS you notify us. The cof- with topping, fee pot is on by 11:15 a.m. every Wednesday: Shepherd's pie, Wednesday. crunchy Romaine salad, wheat For more information, call bread, cerealbar. Rosalea Hoeft at (320) 398-2211, Thursday-Ice Cream Party; ext. 13, between 10:30 a.m. and June is Dairy Month: Cheese- 1 p.m. Gift dining booklets are burger on a bun with fried onions, available at the Senior Dining Site cheesy vegetable chowder, water- and the State Bank of Kimball. melon, dinner roll, ice cream. Partially funded under contract Friday: Oriental chow mein, with the Central Minnesota Coun- rice, Oriental vegetables, Manda- cil of Aging as part of the Older rin oranges fortune cookie. Americans Act and administered 1% milk is served with every by Catholic Charities of the Dio- meal. Menu is Subject to change, cese of St. Cloud. " FREE,= Regular 6" Sub [ ,++h +mrdms of a 6" sub o( +eqml m I ger value & o 21 oz, soft drink m am ,.m.<  r p ,,. t ,+kt ++i+l+ m.f mbet | = or m Pmmk or  5dmd f" | i Expires 7-9-1 l I Good only at: 2086 State Hwy 15 (just N, of Luxemburg on Hwy 15) 320-25t-4533 u , 'vr+ _. nitlIlt;=* '+'"  L.- Clticgen ""- ,- 0-'-- e_, _ ,_ 12: W-t) ) ",2 Ballroom HWY 55, KIMBALL 320-398-3965 ,:,-;::j Garage !,1,(: Tim Ellis, Owner HRS: Mon-Fri: 7:30-5:30; Sat: |0-Noon North of Hwy. 55 on Hwy. 15 in Kimball !0) 398-2200