Senate Report: Ups and downs of the end of first legislative session
Senate Report by Gene Dornink
Happy spring! I have enjoyed my first spring at the Capitol as May 17 marked the official end of the 2021 legislative session. We adjourned with the understanding that we will be back mid-June to wrap up several budget deals that missed the original deadline.
Many people are concerned that the Legislature was unable to pass a final budget before the end of session. I share in your concern and disappointment. With the end of session, all committee structures were dissolved. This is perhaps my largest concern as it means final budget decisions will be made without a full committee process and transparency. In this time of uncertainty, I am hopeful that House and Senate working groups will hammer out responsible bills to fund our state.
While I am disappointed in the timing of our budget agreements, there are several measures that we are proud to see cooperation and agreement on. Gov. Walz and the House DFL were insistent all year that they would raise taxes by billions, in a variety of different ways. Senate Republicans refused to budge, and we have ensured that there will be no tax raises. We even got a major tax break in the form of PPP loan conformity. You will not have to pay taxes on the aid provided throughout the pandemic.
After serving on the Agriculture Conference Committee, I was pleased to see agriculture policy bills pass in time for adjournment. I was also excited to see the Hometown Heroes program that I supported this year included in the final budget deal. This program will support our local firefighters and other emergency service heroes with medical support and training programs. While we differ on many issues, I’m glad to see we could come together and support those who serve our communities.
This weekend, I hope you are able to share Memorial Day with your loved ones. It is also important to remember the reason for this extended weekend: to honor the men and women who died while serving in the U.S Armed Forces.
If you have comments, questions or concerns regarding the Legislature, I encourage you to reach out to my office. I value hearing from my constituents and would look forward to hearing from you. You can email me at Sen.Gene.Dornink@Senate.mn or reach me by phone at 651-296-5240.
Gene Dornink, R-Hayfield, is the District 27 senator.
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