Legislators agree on one thing: Session had unprecedented ending

From: Post Bulletin, Matthew Stolle


At the forum, DFL Rep. Tina Liebling of Rochester called the GOP tactic an effort to restrain the governor's veto power by "booby-trapping the bill."

Though Liebling has stated she opposed Dayton's move on constitutional grounds, she said the GOP provision was also unconstitutional.

"If the governor vetoed the tax bill, that would have shutdown the Department of Revenue. That effectively shuts down government," Liebling said. "So this was a hostage-taking really and very unconstitutional in itself."

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PressLindsay Jones
Republican leaders booby traps bills, take Minnesota hostage. Budget threatens Minnesota’s future.


SAINT PAUL, MN – Yesterday, Governor Mark Dayton signed the majority of Minnesota’s two year state budget while line item vetoing the appropriations for the state legislature.

Rep. Tina Liebling (Rochester), the DFL-Health Policy Committee Lead, released the following statement:

“Speaker Kurt Daudt and the Republican legislative majority took Minnesota government hostage taking this week by planting a booby trap in the State Government Finance Bill to “insure” (as Speaker Daudt put it) Governor Dayton’s signature on their bloated, irresponsible tax bill.  The unconscionable and unconstitutional booby trap could have ended every function of state government by triggering a shutdown of the Minnesota Department of Revenue if Dayton vetoed the Republican tax bill. In response to the hostage-taking, Governor Dayton decided to pay the ransom by signing the tax bill.  He then responded in kind by vetoing the legislature’s entire budget.

“With their irresponsible, dark-of-night decisions the Republican legislature has put Minnesota on the road to future deficits that threaten everything Minnesotans value, including education, transportation, and a health care system that takes care of the elderly and those in need.”

Rep. Tina Liebling is the DFL Lead on the House Committee on Health and Human Services Reform.  

StatementLindsay Jones
Legislators look at leaky Lanesboro Dam

From: Winona Daily News

Glen Olson Daily News

When the water behind a dam starts coming out the other side, people start to worry.

People in Lanesboro have been worried for some time.

The Lanesboro Dam, built in 1868, leaks.

The dam — 25 feet tall, 220 feet long — was built with unmortared limestone blocks and is one of six of similar construction remaining in the country. Originally built to power grist mills, the dam was converted to a hydropower site in 1895 and produced electricity for the Lanesboro community for more than a century. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the dam is also classified as a ‘high hazard dam’ by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources — meaning it does not meet standards of safety for stability and its failure could cause the loss of human life.

Lanesboro residents worried that further deterioration of the stressed and aged dam could have negative impact on their tourism industry. Removal of the dam would affect fishing, tubing and canoeing, and sudden failure of the dam would have disastrous impact.

For nearly a decade funding to repair the dam has popped in, then out of bonding bills at the Minnesota Legislature.

Rep. Greg Davids, R-Preston, said he’s been pushing for the dam for almost a decade and in the last several bills it would have been included had the bill passed.

The $3.6 million dollar project to repair the dam in its historical form was included in the 2016 omnibus bonding bill which failed to pass the Senate.

Davids said it was ironic that the House Democrats were saying they supported the project and bonding in general, and blamed them for the failure to pass last year’s bill.

Davids was very adamant that the dam was in very bad shape, noting especially that it leaks, but was also very positive about the chances of having it included in the House’s bonding bill, and that the bonding bill will be proposed.

“There will be a bonding proposal coming forward,” Davids said. “It’ll be in there.”

So far only the Governor has gone public with his proposals to include in a bonding bill, but did not include the dam project.

House DFLers are pushing for a bonding bill, and last week five representatives from the House DFL made it down to the Lanesboro Dam to talk about both the town’s need for water infrastructure and the legislature’s need to put aside the bargaining.

The representatives told a crowd of around 35 that there are many such projects in the bill, ranging from roads and bridges to education building funding and other local government projects, but it’s being held by House Republicans in an attempt to leverage the governor.

Original article here.

PressLindsay Jones
Statement: House Republicans health and human services bill will create chaos in Minnesota’s health care system


April 7, 2017

SAINT PAUL, MN—On Friday the Minnesota House passed the Republicans’ Omnibus Health and Human Services bill. The bill cuts $600 million from health and human services to accommodate more than a billion dollars in tax cuts, most of which go to the rich and well connected, and big businesses.

Rep. Tina Liebling (Rochester), the DFL-Health Policy Lead, released the following statement:

“Instead of making sure that Minnesotans have access to the health care they need, this bill would throw our current system into chaos.  It cuts funding that counties need to decide who is eligible for public programs, crippling that system.  It repeals our insurance exchange, MNsure, and puts Minnesotans at the mercy of the Federal insurance exchange—which may soon be repealed.  It pays for new spending with made-up savings that will never materialize, then cuts payments to health care providers to save money when those schemes fail. 

“The bill is full of shifts, tricks, and gimmicks. All Minnesotans need and deserve access to quality health care that they can afford, but this bill goes the wrong way.  Republicans legislators are handing hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to insurance companies, and to the ultra-wealthy and large corporations through tax cuts. I’m committed to making sure Minnesotans have an opportunity to get ahead, and that includes quality healthcare without going bankrupt.”

StatementLindsay Jones
Statement: House Republicans Jobs and Energy Bill endangers our environment

April 6, 2017

SAINT PAUL, MN— Today the Minnesota House passed the Republicans’ Omnibus Jobs and Energy bill. The bill cuts job creation efforts, consumer protections, racial & economic equity provisions, workforce housing, and rolls back Minnesota’s renewable energy progress.

Rep. Tina Liebling (DFL-Rochester) released the following statement:

“Today the House of Representatives passed perhaps the worst “jobs and energy” bill the House has seen, especially in a time of surplus in the state’s budget.

“Minnesotans know climate change is real. Minnesotans value our outdoors, our clean air and our clean water, but House Republicans are attacking environmental protections. They eliminate the renewable development fund, which promotes clean energy; they deregulate oil and gas pipelines, threatening the progress we’ve made; they reduce the solar energy mandate for large energy producers, guaranteeing more dirty power; Republican legislators even blocked a measure to say climate change is real and is caused partly by humans. And an amendment debated and added on the House floor gives a huge gift to the Enbridge Corporation by allowing it to construct, own and operate a 340 mile-long pipeline “at its sole discretion.”

“In the bill, House Republicans cut racial equity programs by millions of dollars at a time when our state’s minority populations are struggling to be full participants in our economy and our state needs their full participation. The bill also cuts funding for “workforce housing,” which is in short supply, and funds for job creation programs that are effective around the state.

This bill is a slap in the face to Minnesotans who believe we should be moving forward together.

StatementLindsay Jones
Pioneer Press: With detailed policy focus, Democrat Tina Liebling to run for governor

From the Pioneer Press:

"Democratic state Rep. Tina Liebling has been known around the Minnesota Capitol as a policy wonk since she arrived in the House in 2005.

"Liebling, an attorney with a master’s degree in public health, represents the Mayo Clinic-focused Rochester district, has served on health committees, chaired a health committee and spoken out on health care issues for more than a decade. She digs into details of legislation.

"Now, she wants to take the policies for which she has long been known to a statewide stage. On Sunday, she announced that she would run for governor."

Read the full article here.

PressLindsay Jones
Statement: Massive Republican tax cut proposal that passed House will create future deficits

SAINT PAUL, MN—Today, the Minnesota House Republicans passed their omnibus tax bill. The legislation costs $1.35 billion over the biennium.  Over four years the bill will spend more than $536 million on tax breaks for business property owners and more than $357 million on an expansion of the estate tax exemption.

Rep. Tina Liebling (DFL-Rochester) released the following statement:

“The bill passed today is an affront to common sense budgeting. Minnesota doesn’t account for inflation in our budget forecast, so our surplus is based on the idea that costs will be the same every year but revenues will grow.  When inflation is factored in, our projected budget surplus drops by more than $1.1 billion.  Cutting taxes by $1.3 billion—with more cuts in the future—is not prudent.  While there are some very worthy provisions in the bill, I do not think we should be giving tax cuts to large corporations and wealthy individuals. 

At the same time, Congress is considering ways to cut federal assistance to many programs and services that Minnesota relies on.  Passing enormous, deficit creating tax cuts at a time of such fiscal uncertainty makes this a bill that should not be passed.  

Minnesotans expect us to be prudent with the state’s budget and invest in things like education, infrastructure, health, and protecting our environment. My constituents did not send me to Saint Paul to vote for tax breaks that will hurt our ability to maintain the services that make Minnesota strong. ”

Rep. Liebling is the DFL Lead on the House Committee on Health and Human Services Reform. Rep. Liebling can be contacted by email at rep.tina.liebling@house.mn or phone at 651-296-7173.

StatementLindsay Jones