Rep Tony Jurgens Capitol Update (1/11/2019)

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Representative Tony Jurgens

Representative Tony Jurgens

By Rep. Tony Jurgens, 1/11/2019

Hello from St. Paul,

State lawmakers have returned to the State Capitol for the 2019 session and our work has begun. On January 8, all of the newly-elected state representatives were sworn into office on the Minnesota House floor.

It is such an honor to represent the people of Hastings, Cottage Grove, Afton, Denmark Township and Nininger Township, and I’m so grateful to have earned their trust for another two years.

The first week of session is usually not action-packed in terms of legislation being debated in committee or on the House floor. I did introduce a pair of bills. The first eliminates income taxes on Social Security benefits for all senior citizens. Last session we approved a law that helped tens of thousands of seniors keep more of their benefits, and I’m looking to continue that effort by helping the rest who did not qualify under that law. I spoke with the new chairman of the House Taxes Committee and he was receptive to giving my bill a hearing this year. The second bill would end lunch shaming in our schools.

But plenty of interesting events took place outside of the Capitol walls this week. For example, I was able to attend a dedication and ribbon cutting for a new 64-unit independent living and 75 unit skilled nurse & memory care service at Presbyterian Homes Norris Square Senior Living Community in Cottage Grove. It was a pleasure to speak at the ceremony.

I was also able to attend the swearing-in ceremony for new Hastings Mayor Mary Fasbender, and sit with members of the Hastings Chamber of Commerce at the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce’s Session Priorities dinner.

Today, I met with local leaders, YMCA representatives, and parents of Hastings High School students who are taking part in the Youth in Government program this weekend at the State Capitol.

These folks were able to tour the Capitol and learn more about the Youth in Government program.

Finally I enjoyed attending the Association of Metropolitan School Districts Legislative Session Preview, and I also took part in the bipartisan, bicameral panel discussion on health care costs and issues at the One Minnesota Legislative Policy Conference at U of M Humphrey School of Public Affairs.

As with any new year, there are changes at the Capitol. You may remember my previous legislative assistants Micah and Nicole. This year I’ll be working with Josh Solano.

When you visit my office or call to set up an appointment, Josh is likely the first person you’ll see, so feel free to stop by and say hello!

Along those lines, you can call 651-296-3135 or email rep.tony.jurgens@house.mn to set up that appointment, or to share your thoughts, ideas and concerns with me. My new office is located in Room 351 of the State Office Building.

Have a good weekend,
Tony

State Representative Tony Jurgens
351 State Office Building
St. Paul, MN 55155
651-296-3135
rep.tony.jurgens@house.mn

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Rep Tony Jurgens Capitol Update (1/4/2019)

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Representative Tony Jurgens

Representative Tony Jurgens

By Rep. Tony Jurgens, 1/4/2019

Happy New Year!

On Thursday, I was pleased to visit rural Hastings constituent Bill Sorg’s dairy farm in Nininger Township, a location where Governor-elect Walz announced his choices for a number of cabinet positions within his new administration.

Following the announcement, I spoke with our incoming governor for a few minutes and both of us shared a strong desire to set partisanship aside this session and to work together in the best interests of Minnesotans.

This event will surely be a special memory for the Sorg family and their friends, and I’m always glad when a local resident can be honored for their accomplishments. You might recall that in 2009 the Bill and Randy Sorg families were named Dakota County’s “Farm Family of the Year” by the University of Minnesota, so I’m glad they were once again recognized as leaders in agriculture.

In other news, I just wanted to remind everyone about my listening sessions that will be taking place Saturday.

The events will be held at the following times and locations tomorrow, January 5:

* Hastings City Hall, 101 4th St. East, 8:30-9:30 a.m.
* Cottage Grove City Hall, 12800 Ravine Parkway South, 10:00-11:00 a.m.
* Afton City Hall, 3033 St Croix Trail S, 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Senator Bigham will join me at the Hastings gathering.

I’m holding these listening sessions earlier this year as I wanted to give residents the opportunity to share the topics that are important to them before session begins. I’m hopeful you will take some time Saturday morning to attend the session that best fits your schedule and share your thoughts.

I look forward to seeing you there!
Tony

State Representative Tony Jurgens
351 State Office Building
St. Paul, MN 55155
651-296-3135
rep.tony.jurgens@house.mn

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Save the date! The SD 54 Convention will be on Saturday, February 2, 2019

Upcoming EventsOur BPOU leaders have been busy planning and organizing the 2019 BPOU convention. We hope you are planning to attend! Be sure to check our website often for the latest up-to-date BPOU convention information.

Question: Who can participate in the BPOU convention?
Answer: Delegates and Alternates who were elected at the 2018 precinct caucuses.

Stay tuned for more info!

Rep Tony Jurgens will hold listening sessions Jan 5

On Saturday, January 5, Representative Tony Jurgens will hold a series of listening sessions throughout the district.

8:30 – 9:30 a.m. at the Hastings City Hall, 101 4th St. East

10:00 – 11:00 at the Cottage Grove City Hall, 12800 Ravine Parkway South

11:30 – 12:30 at the Afton City Hall, 3033 St. Croix Trail South.

Senator Bigham has a previous engagement and will be unable to attend, so we are hoping to hold joint town meetings sometime after session begins.

Rep Tony Jurgens Capitol Update (12/7/2018)

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Representative Tony Jurgens

Representative Tony Jurgens

By Rep. Tony Jurgens, 12/7/2018

Hello from St. Paul,

Happy Holidays! As this is my first column since Election Day, I wanted to thank you for allowing me to continue serving as your voice in the Minnesota House. I am humbled by your support and once again look forward to fighting for the needs of Hastings, Cottage Grove, Afton Denmark Township and Nininger Township in St. Paul.

An early Christmas present has already arrived at the State Capitol, as we recently learned that Minnesota’s latest fiscal forecast shows a budget surplus of $1.544 billion for the next two year budget cycle. This likely continues the four year trend where lawmakers have not had to eliminate a budget deficit.

Of this amount, $491 million will be sent to our budget reserve account, which now contains more than $2 billion. That means just over $1 billion will remain for the Legislature to allocate before next session ends.

Keep in mind, this surplus exists because the State’s revenue collections – or taxes you paid to state government – exceeds the amount of anticipated expenses. Also remember that in early March we will receive an updated forecast that will be the official benchmark used by the Legislature as it moves forward and sets the budget for the next two years.

So if the positive economic trends continue or even improve, what should be done with this money? Last session we approved historic tax relief proposals, and I think more of them should be given consideration this session, particularly when it comes to eliminating taxation on Social Security benefits. Using some of the surplus on road and bridge repair needs might also make sense.

One thing is for sure: with this projected budget surplus we should not be thinking about any tax increases this session.

This positive news shows that a lot of the policies we enacted over the past two years are paying off. Legislative Republicans and the Governor’s Office will likely battle over who should accept credit for this surplus, but rather than focusing on that, I believe we should just agree that this surplus is a good thing and recognize that Minnesotans will benefit from last session’s work.

With the 2019 session less than a month away, I already have a handful of bills that I’m ready to submit for consideration. These proposals will center on veterans, senior citizens, and students, as well as local issues. I’ll share more information on those in the coming weeks following their official introductions.

But I also want to hear from you, so mark your calendars! On Saturday, January 5 I will be holding a series of listening sessions throughout the district. I wanted to hold these before session begins and give residents the opportunity to discuss the topics that are important to them. The sessions will take place from 8:30 – 9:30 a.m. at the Hastings City Hall, 101 4th St. East; 10:00 – 11:00 at the Cottage Grove City Hall, 12800 Ravine Parkway South; and 11:30 – 12:30 at the Afton City Hall, 3033 St. Croix Trail South.

Senator Bigham has a previous engagement and will be unable to attend, so we are hoping to hold joint town meetings sometime after session begins.

At a recent council meeting, it was my honor to present outgoing Hastings Mayor Paul Hicks with a Minnesota House resolution recognizing his leadership and service to the community. Paul not only served 28 years as mayor and city council member, but he also serves in a nonpartisan capacity in the Minnesota House with the Chief Clerk’s Office and does great work there as well. Congratulations Mayor Hicks on a job well done.

Congratulations are also in order for Mayor Richard Bend and Councilman Joe Richter of Afton, who are also stepping away from city leadership. Please join me in thanking them both for their commitment to the residents of Afton.

As always, I am always available to respond to your thoughts and concerns. Please feel free to contact me by e-mail at rep.tony.jurgens@house.mn or by phone at 651-296-3135 to share your input. I look forward to hearing from you!

Talk to you soon,
Tony

State Representative Tony Jurgens
351 State Office Building
St. Paul, MN 55155
651-296-3135
rep.tony.jurgens@house.mn

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