Rep Denny McNamara’s Capitol Update: The 2014 Legislative Session has come to an end

Representative Denny McNamara

Representative Denny McNamara

By Rep. Denny McNamara, 5/16/2014

Hello from St. Paul,

After a week filled with twists and turns, the 2014 Legislative Session has come to an end. The Minnesota House passed a number of remaining bills on Friday, and shortly thereafter we adjourned for the year.

The bill that caused the most lawmaker heartburn over the final days was the capital investment bill, which funds construction projects across Minnesota. Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate were in constant negotiations about the size and scope of the proposal, and on Thursday all sides reached an agreement. The bonding bill officially passed early Friday morning.

The proposal includes a regional public safety training center in Cottage Grove and a pedestrian bridge in Hastings that should eliminate a number of safety concerns we’ve had over the years. This walkway should now keep pedestrians from having to walk along the shoulder of Highway 61, where they are currently in danger of being hit by vehicles.

I’m really pleased with the improvements that have been made in this area over the past several years. Not only do we have a brand new, four lane bridge over the Mississippi River in Hastings, but we also have a divided median that separates both lanes of traffic on the north side of the bridge, and will soon have a pedestrian bridge – all of which alleviate safety problems for drivers, walkers, and bicyclists.

I was also glad the final capital investment bill was modified to include full funding for the State’s share of repairs to the Lake Byllesby dam in Dakota County. This was the Department of Natural Resources’ highest priority for dam safety funding and was not included in either of the original Senate or House bills.

We also approved legislation that provides some Minnesotans with a bit of a tax break. Granted, the $45 million in property tax relief for homeowners, renters and farmers is a drop in the bucket compared to the $2.1 billion in taxes and fees that the legislative majority raised on hardworking taxpayers last year, but it’s still a step in the right direction.

Finally the House approved a supplemental budget bill that was needed due to our projected $1.2 billion budget surplus that was forecasted in February. This plan spends another $283 million on state government programs, which is in addition to the $3 billion in new spending that was approved by the majority last year. Personally, I would have rather seen more of the surplus returned to the people through tax relief and saved more of it in Minnesota’s rainy day fund. But the majority chose to go in this direction and the budget for this two year state budget cycle is now in balance.

I look forward to seeing you in the coming months to discuss any legislative concerns you may have. In the meantime, you can always call me at 651-296-3135 or email me at if you have questions or comments.

Keep in touch,

Representative Denny McNamara
359 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55155

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