In the 2019 legislative session, my colleagues and I worked together to create a balanced budget to fund the essential elements of state government. While we addressed major pieces of policy, such as hands-free cellphone legislation, the critical focus for session last year was passing the state budget. While it required a one-day special session, we came together and passed a bipartisan budget that was signed into law by Gov. Tim Walz that made sure to fund our schools, provide health care to Minnesotans, and included a middle-class tax cut.
We will need that same collaborative approach in the 2020 legislative session. Legislative sessions in even years direct the legislative bodies to work on a capital investment bill, more commonly known as a bonding bill. A bonding bill invests in public assets, infrastructure and economic development projects throughout Minnesota. It includes everything from wastewater treatment to science centers at the University of Minnesota, to repairing state-owned dams and state parks. It also requires a super majority of votes in both bodies of the legislature, and with a divided government, we will need to come together again to get it done.
We are at the very early stages of the long process of bonding proposals. A bonding bill will be introduced and voted on first by the House once session starts. Any differences between the House and Senate will have to be resolved in conference committee before it goes over to the governor. Making sure the Hastings Highway 316 Project and the Hastings City Hall bonding requests are included in the final bonding bill is my top priority in 2020. I will continue to whole heartily work towards making sure that becomes a reality.
There are also three South St. Paul projects that I am also strongly advocating for this legislative session. The Concord Street project demands major sewer and infrastructure improvements in conjunction with the road construction, a cost that is too much for the local government to bear. I’ve also introduced legislation that requests funds to modernize the Doug Woog Arena. It would be a great honor to the legacy of Doug Woog to keep that facility at its best. I will also introduce new legislation aimed at helping South St. Paul renovate the Lysdale Hangar at Fleming Field. Renovation of this hangar could help existing airport-based businesses expand and grow the local economy.
I am carrying legislation to help upgrade the capacity of the Ramsey/Washington County Recycling and Energy Center in Newport. They currently service over 800,000 residents and 70,000 businesses to help reduce, reuse, recycle, and recover value from waste. The improvements would help them recover more recyclables and organics from trash and it would also create 18 permanent union jobs! I’m also sponsoring legislation for the city of Newport on behalf of their bonding request to help the city fund inflow and infiltration infrastructure upgrades.