Letter to the Editor
We are now halfway through the 2013 legislative session. By the time Legislators return from the Easter/Passover break next week, only seven short weeks will remain. Here is the ‘buzz’ on some of the most significant session activities so far.
Recently there’s been a flurry of activity around budgeting. It started in February with the new state budget forecast, and continued early this month with the release of the Governor’s supplemental budget. Last week the House and Senate took turns releasing their new budget targets, and now the task for both Chambers is to review all three.
I have introduced a number of Duluth-specific bills this session. One is for continued flood recovery efforts. The bill is critical to many residents in Duluth and to others throughout Northeastern Minnesota, as it’s designed to help flood victims who were unable to utilize the state’s Quick Start loan program. It ensures that the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency would work closely with the Long Term Recovery Committee on continued repair and reconstruction of homes. The bill also reallocates a portion of existing flood relief funds to a study that would look at the housing needs in flood damaged areas.
This session I have also introduced bonding bills for projects at Wade Stadium, Spirit Mountain, and the NorShore Theater—the Wade Stadium funding now all the more critical. All three are positive projects for Duluth and should be included in a final bonding bill.
The third and final committee deadline on April 22nd will arrive quickly after break. Soon after, we’ll be in extended floor sessions and conference committees will start convening to remedy language differences between House and Senate bills.
No doubt the buzz will continue until we recess in May. I’ll work hard to keep you informed.