From: Sen. Jeremy Miller
R - Winona
I hope you’ve all had a great start to your new year. As the legislative session continues to move forward, I want to provide an update with some issues I’m focusing on here at the Capitol.
I had the opportunity to join local constituents at an event in St. Paul called “From Crisis to Surviving and Thriving” hosted by the Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault (MNCASA). This program provided information about the important role sexual and domestic assault advocates play in our communities.
There is a perception by some that domestic violence only occurs in larger cities, but in fact, domestic violence occurs all over the state. Even though domestic violence is a statewide issue, many times the resources are more limited in greater Minnesota. Last week, I also participated in a press conference with the Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women (MCBW). Organizations like MCBW and MNCASA are working tirelessly to support and advocate on behalf of the many other organizations, groups, and people working to combat this crisis.
I’m proud to co-author SF 332, a bill that will provide additional funding for Crime Victims Services Grants, which will be a vital boost for organizations throughout the state who provide assistance to victims and survivors of domestic violence. Some of the organizations which serve our area and would receive additional funding include Bluff Country Family Resources, Women’s Resource Center of Winona, and Women’s Shelter.
Last year, there were 23 domestic violence related deaths in the state of Minnesota and many more victims who were harmed. Any life lost or harmed as a result of domestic violence is one too many. I strongly believe one of the fundamental roles of government is to help keep people safe and any assistance we can provide our public safety officials, county attorney offices, and domestic assault advocates is well worth the investment and I’m happy to support these efforts.
Aquatic invasive species (AIS) decal update
Earlier this session, I introduced SF 85 which would permanently repeal a new mandated AIS trailer decal. I heard from many of you about this issue and we took swift action as the decal mandate was a poorly designed system to inform people about AIS. I’m happy to report that the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has listened to the concerns of the people and correctly put a temporary halt on the requirement. I will continue to work with legislators, the DNR, and constituents to find a more practical solution to combat the spread of AIS.
Governor Dayton’s budget proposal
Governor Dayton released his 2016-2017 budget proposal last week. Traditionally, the Governor’s budget is the first to be announced, and the legislative bodies follow with their own proposals in March. This gives the legislature time to move bills through committees and have thorough discussions about each item in the budget.
During my first legislative session in 2011 (also Governor Dayton’s first term), the legislature passed a general fund budget of roughly $35 billion. While under full DFL control in 2013, the legislature passed a general fund budget of $39 billion, an 11 percent increase. The governor is now proposing a general fund budget of roughly $42 billion, which is a $3 billion or 7.5 percent increase. In addition to the governor’s general fund budget proposal, he is also proposing a 6.5 percent gross receipts tax on wholesale fuel to raise an additional $440 million annually. The 6.5 percent tax equates to roughly a 16 cent per gallon gas tax increase for Minnesotans.
Please do not hesitate to contact my office with any comments, questions, or concerns you may have about issues facing our great state. I can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 651-296-5649. It is an honor to serve as your State Senator.