This week at the Capitol, committees have been busy hearing bills and starting the process of creating legislation that will ultimately make up the final budget proposal from each chamber. Both the House and Senate leadership have released budget targets that set spending guidelines for each committee. From that point, committees hear both budget and policy ideas from their jurisdiction and ultimately will put together a larger spending and policy bill.
It is expected that the omnibus budget bills will become public in the next week and begin to make their way through the full committee process. Typically, an omnibus bill must pass out of its committee of original jurisdiction and then move to the Finance Committee before heading to the Senate Floor. If a bill has any tax provisions included it will also make a stop in the Senate Tax Committee.
Disability advocates and parents have a message for legislators: “Raise revenues; don’t cut disability services, again.”
Parents of children with disabilities, and disability advocates will show the crucial role that disability services play in their lives, the unmet needs of people with disabilities and their families, and the importance of raising adequate revenues to ensure that those needs are met and to invest in our citizens with disabilities.
After the resignation of Eric Reetz at the March 6 council meeting, the Eden Valley council passed a resolution declaring a vacancy on the council. This vacancy must be filled by special election; the earliest possible election date would be Aug. 6. The council will publish a notice of filing, inviting individuals to file for the office. The vacant seat will be for a term through the end of December 2014, and the succeeding term will be for two years in order to keep in synch with council terms.
The City of South Haven held its first council meeting in the new city hall Tuesday, April 2.
The fire department report noted one rescue call and no fire calls in March. The department was approved to purchase a GPS, two hose reels, and some supplies. The fire chief’s annual pay was increased from $1,200 to 2,000, effective immediately.
Change is always difficult, especially when dealing with a complex issue like the Affordable Care Act, or ObamaCare, as it is more commonly called. But change, it-is-a-coming, and I give Democrat legislators credit for building their own state-based health insurance exchange.
The alternative is a federally developed program that cannot be adjusted to meet the needs and characteristics of Minnesota citizens. So instead of sitting on their hands and complaining about what is to come, House and Senate Democrats voted to approve an exchange that sets up a one-stop marketplace where individuals, families and small businesses can compare prices and benefits among multiple private health insurance plans.