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Marion O'neill

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Update from Rep. Marion O'Neill: 2-1-2022

We gaveled in on Monday to begin the 2022 legislative session. This session, with crime skyrocketing and a nearly $8 billion surplus, my major legislative priorities will be public safety and tax relief. Minnesotans deserve to feel safe in their communities and have control over their own budgets without the government overreaching and collecting billions more than necessary. Any bills we pass this year must be fiscally responsible, without committing funds from a temporary budget surplus to ongoing spending and programs.
MINNESOTA STATE
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June 30- From the Capitol with Rep. Marion O'Neill

Last Wednesday, we heard the Transportation Omnibus bill. All of the DFL's proposed higher taxes and fees were removed from the final deal, and the bill included $18 million for small cities, $12 million for town roads, $5.5 million for local roads, and $14 million for local bridges. There is $27 million to expand I94 to six lanes at Albertville. Finally, the bill reopens all 93 driver's testing locations in Minnesota, which is a huge issue in Greater Minnesota. This will hopefully drastically cut down on wait times for scheduling driver's tests.
ALBERTVILLE, MN
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June 22- At the Capitol with Rep. Marion O'Neill

Over the weekend, the House passed three budget bills. First among them is the Higher Education Omnibus bill which funds higher education at $3.5 billion, which is $100 million over the base appropriation. The bill was negotiated in secret by the House and Senate chairs and the Commissioner of Higher Education under direction of the Governor. This bill will allow Minnesota State College and Universities to raise tuition 3.5% without doing anything to address the skyrocketing cost of college. It also spends a million dollars on a working group to figure out how to send a letter to high school students in 10 school districts to inform them about their opportunities at public colleges and universities. It should be noted that all 201 legislators send a letter to every high school senior every year already. Meanwhile, the bill underfunds Republican priorities like public safety on campuses and additional mental health resources. The shooting of five innocent bystanders in Dinkytown over the weekend highlights the public safety crisis in the neighborhoods surrounding the U of M Minneapolis. For these reasons, I voted no.
MINNEAPOLIS, MN
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From thew Capitol with Rep. Marion O'Neill

This week, working groups will begin hearing the compromise bills worked out in secret meetings by negotiators from the House and Senate majority members in each area and the Governor's commissioners. As the House Republican Lead in Higher Education, I will attend the Higher Education Finance and Policy working group Wednesday afternoon to hear the details of the bill that has been put together. Currently there is no bill language posted for the meeting, so all we know right now is what is in the bill’s spreadsheet.
EDUCATION
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From the Capitol with Rep. Marion O'Neill

This week, House and Senate Republican leadership gave a press conference about the deal struck between House Speaker Hortman, Senate Majority Leader Gazelka, and Governor Walz, and the path forward for dealing with the Governor's emergency powers. My colleague Representative Barb Haley, along with Senator Jeff Howe, brought a bill...
U.S. POLITICS
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From the Capitol with Rep. Marion O'Neill

On Monday, we ended the most unproductive session of the Legislature in nearly 40 years. Zero budget bills are headed to the governor's desk, but what is worse is the power has once again been centralized between Governor Walz, House Speaker Hortman and Senate Majority Leader Gazelka. The “Tribunal” of the Senate Majority Leader, House Speaker and the Governor agreed to 10 of the Governor’s demands for policy in addition to the global budget targets.
POLITICS
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At the Capitol with Rep. Marion O'Neill

On Monday, we voted on a historic bill, SF 1315/HF 1403, which is the only bill in Minnesota's legislative history that has had entirely female authorship with the maximum number of authors in the House and Senate. The maximum number of House authors is 35, and this bill actually had so much support from legislators that I introduced a clone bill, HF 2338, so that more members could sign on. The Senate companion, SF 1315, also has all 5 female authors.
CONGRESS & COURTS
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From the Capitol with Rep. Marion O'Neill

The Higher Education conference committee began hearing the side-by-side bill comparisons of the House and Senate policy provisions and fiscal components. During this deep dive into each bill, I discovered that one difference in the bills is that the Senate reduced the base appropriation by $2 million for Regenerative Medicine Minnesota (RMM), a partnership between the University of Minnesota and the Mayo Clinic.
CONGRESS & COURTS
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From the Capitol with Rep. Marion O'Neill

Last week, I was named to the conference committee for the Higher Education Omnibus bill. I look forward to buckling down to do the work on this bill to make it one that will serve our college students well instead of increasing bureaucracy and ignoring rising college costs. Since my...
CONGRESS & COURTS
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From the Capitol with Rep. Marion O'Neill

Over the past week we have made our way through 6 omnibus bills on the House floor. On Thursday, we heard the Legacy and Housing omnibus bills. The Legacy bill is paid for by a statewide .375% sales tax, which is constitutionally dedicated to spend those dollars on projects regarding clean water, parks and trails, and clean water. Unfortunately, this bill also includes the state's purchase of 6,500 acres of land across the state, taking that land off of the tax rolls and away from productive use by Minnesotans. These purchases over time have now totaled over 12 million acres of state-owned land. As Minnesota has a total of 51.2 million acres of land and 2.6 million acres of water, the total state-owned land is approaching 25% of all the land in the state. My question in the Ways and Means committee to the author of the bill is when is enough, enough? He had no answer.
CONGRESS & COURTS
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From the Capitol with Rep. Marion O'Neill

This past week, the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that a person who is sexually assaulted isn't considered "mentally incapacitated" if they voluntarily consumed alcohol or other intoxicants. I am the lead Republican author of the bipartisan bill, HF707, that would fix this loophole and update Minnesota's criminal sexual conduct (CSC) statute. And, I am calling for quick action on this bill. It has had all its required policy-related hearings thus far in the House and has been sent to the Ways and Means Committee to discuss the fiscal impact. From there it will go to the General Register where it can be calendared for a debate and vote on the House Floor. It has yet to receive even one hearing in the Senate.
CONGRESS & COURTS
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From the Capitol with Rep. Marion O'Neill

This past week has been a busy one, as Friday was the first deadline for bills to be passed by all the relevant committees and be in the final finance committee in either the House or the Senate. Last Monday in Ways and Means, we heard HF 269, which would...
CONGRESS & COURTS
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From the Capitol with Rep. Marion O'Neill

This week marks one year of the governor's emergency powers, executive orders, and unilateral decisions, which have had a devastating effect on Minnesota families students, and businesses. Even as the one year mark approaches, the Subcommittee on Legislative Process Reform has declined to pass even a single bill aimed at bringing the legislature back on equal footing with the executive as a co-equal branch of government. The one bill the committee has passed was aimed only at restaurant operations, defining risk levels and imposing restrictive requirements on when and how restaurants in Minnesota are allowed to open.
ANOKA COUNTY, MN
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From the Capitol with Rep. Marion O'Neill

This past Friday, Minnesota Management and Budget released their February economic forecast, showing a projected $1.6 billion surplus for the 2022-2023 biennium. This is up from a $1.27 billion deficit projected in November. It is great news that we no longer have a deficit to grapple with, and shows that not only is our economy recovering, but our current tax levels are more than sufficient to maintain our state's obligations.
POLITICS
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From the Capitol with Rep. Marion O'Neill

During Monday's session, I led our twelfth vote in the past year to end the Governor's emergency powers. The vote failed along party lines, with 63 Republicans voting yes and 70 Democrats voting no. Not one Democrat would even vote to bring the Resolution before the body to debate it and vote up or down on ending the Emergency Powers, even though six of them have voted to bring it up before. As a reminder, it takes 68 votes to bring it to the floor for debate and 68 to vote in the affirmative to end the Emergency Powers.
POLITICS
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From the Capitol with Rep. Marion O'Neill

On Monday, February 8th, during session, we voted for the 11th time to end the Governor's emergency powers. Unfortunately, Democrats blocked the vote and the emergency powers will remain in place. I continue to work within the Legislative Process Reform Committee to create solutions to this overreach. Due to pressure from House Republicans, Democrats held the first bill hearing in nearly a year on reining in the Governor's emergency powers. In Friday's hearing last week, Rep. Barb Haley presented her bill, HF371, which would require an affirmative vote by the legislature for executive orders issued by the governor in order for those orders to remain in effect for more than 14 days. Unfortunately, Chair Pelowski would not allow a vote on the bill. We expect to continue the discussion with another proposal from Leader Daudt this Friday.
POLITICS