Minnesota’s Senate Republicans Unveil 2020 Agenda, Includes Consideration of Red Flag Laws, Clean Energy Proposals

 

Minnesota Senate Republicans unveiled their “2020 Vision” agenda during a Monday press conference, highlighting their priorities for the upcoming legislative session.

A “violence prevention” section of the agenda states that Republicans will consider “measures that take guns out of the hands of dangerous people and tighten up our current laws.”

“When the dust settled on the 2018 election, Minnesota was the only state in the nation with a divided government. Republicans in the Senate made it a priority to work with Democrats in the House and Gov. Tim Walz to pass a budget with bipartisan votes in each body—and we got the budget done on time, without the drama of a prolonged special session,” Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka (R-Nisswa) said Monday when unveiling the agenda.

He said the policy agenda builds on the “successes of the 2019 session” and promised to continue to “work with Democrats in the House and Gov. Tim Walz to get things done, even as we fight hard for our principles.”

The agenda will include Sen. David Osmek’s (R-Mound) “Clean Energy First” legislation, which aims to “prioritize clean energy” and “modernize Minnesota’s energy resources,” The Minnesota Sun reported.

Republicans also said they plan to push for tax relief for Minnesotans, since the state has a fully-funded government and a $1.3 billion budget surplus.

“We’ve lowered taxes for the middle class, seniors, and provided tax breaks to college students and small businesses—it has proven to be good for this state,” said Sen. Roger Chamberlain (R-Lino Lakes), chair of the Senate Taxes Committee. “Moving forward with a fully-funded government and a large surplus should indicate to all of us that lowering the tax burden for farmers, families, small businesses, charities, and parents should be a priority again this year. We are taking too much from hard-working Minnesotans, and they deserve relief.”

One of the top objectives of the upcoming session is to create a borrowing package for public projects, called a bonding bill. Gov. Walz has announced the first two installments of his four-part proposal for a bonding bill, which he is calling the “Local Jobs and Projects Plan.” The first package in his proposal calls for investing $276 million in safe and affordable housing projects across the state.

In regards to health care, the Republican agenda calls for pharmaceutical transparency through a “drug reimportation program so patients can get cheaper Canadian drug prices at their local pharmacy, including insulin.” Their health care agenda seeks to hold the Department of Human Services accountable by moving the Office of the Inspector General outside of the agency, and protect Minnesotans with pre-existing conditions.

“The healthcare market is changing to be more responsive to people’s needs,” said Sen. Michelle Benson (R- Ham Lake), chair of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. “Because of our work, Minnesotans currently enjoy the lowest health insurance premiums in the nation.”

Other priorities in the agenda include addressing Minnesota’s achievement gap, securing school choice for Minnesota families, supporting mining and energy projects like Enbridge Line 3, lowering the cost of child care, tax relief for farmers, and legislation to require a photo ID for voting.

“Republican policies to combine tax relief with sensible investments have been working well for the state,” Gazelka concluded. “We’ll use our successes from the past to make sure Minnesota has a successful future. It starts with a bonding bill that is affordable and prioritizes the state’s most important needs, focusing on roads and bridges. We will exercise our oversight over state agencies in their budget requests and look for even more tax relief.”

The 2020 legislative session begins Tuesday, February 11. The full “2020 Vision” agenda can be viewed here.

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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of The Minnesota Sun and The Ohio Star. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to anthony.gockowski@gmail.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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