This week promises to be a busy one here at the Capital in St. Paul. That’s because Friday, March 16th, is the first deadline for proposed legislation to pass through its first committee hearing. There will probably be a rush of bills submitted early in the week, and then committee meetings lasting into the evening the rest of the week as we hear as many bills as possible before Friday’s deadline.
One of the bills I have up for a hearing this week pertains to unemployment insurance benefits for children of seasonal business owners. Legislation passed last session fixed the problem for those sons or daughters to get full unemployment benefits during the winter months, for example. However, it turns out there is additional language in statute pertaining to children of owners if they had started to take an ownership interest in the business. It’s okay if that interest is less than 25 percent; however, current law states that the children’s ownership interest is to be combined with the parents when determining eligibility for unemployment benefits. As is often the case, the parents own the remainder of the business so that automatically puts the “family” ownership above the 25 percent threshold. My proposed legislation would strike the word “parents” from the section in law dealing with combined ownership.
Another bill I’m authoring is the omnibus agricultural policy bill. It was heard several weeks ago in the Ag. Committee and is now scheduled for stops in several others before being heard on the House floor. It’s mainly a clean-up bill with many of its provisions brought forth by the Dept. of Agriculture. They include proposals that would affect grain buyers and the bonds they must secure, changes in firewood distribution because of concern about the spread of emerald ash bore, nursery stock labeling, and how the Department deals with counties in the collection of hazardous pesticides. The bill also contains the framework for setting up a commission to study the possibility of constructing a new dairy research and education facility in Minnesota.
The stadium bill faces its first hearings in both chambers of the Legislature this week. The future of a new home for the Minnesota Vikings is in doubt as questions about the state’s funding source were raised almost immediately after the bill was released. Figures supplied to us when crafting the bill showed an additional $72 million in revenue if paper pull tabs were converted to an electronic version. The charities who currently sponsor pull tabs want their taxes lowered as part of the over-all agreement. The problem arises because the taxes paid to the state on pull tab revenue are graduated, in other words, the higher the revenue, the higher the tax rate. The charities would like their tax rate lowered, while there still needs to be enough new revenue for the state to cover its projected stadium bond payments. It could prove to be a delicate balance.
Rep. Anderson can be contacted by email at email@example.com or by phone at 651-296-4317. To receive email updates sign-up on his webpage at www.house.mn/13a