House Members Set Legislative Priorities

Created: 02/25/2014 6:40 PM
By: Brianna Long

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- State lawmakers are back at the capitol, and they didn't waste any time getting to work for this short session. It is a bonding year at the state capitol. So now lawmakers are getting to work on that, and other issues that will affect people in southeast Minnesota.

The state capitol was buzzing Tuesday as the 2014 legislative session was called to order.

"It's wonderful to get back to work here at the capitol. It's a great office to have," said Representative Kim Norton.

"It's great to be back and see a lot of my colleagues here," said Representative Tina Liebling. 

According to lawmakers, there's really only one way to sum up the way this session is going to go.

"We are going to be at a fast and furious pace. We have a lot on the plate. We have a short amount of time to get things done," said Representative Jeanne Poppe.

With only an eleven week session, representatives in the House got to work within fifteen minutes of being in session.

First order of business, getting emergency funds to help low income people dealing with the propane shortage.

"With the cold winter, and the shortage a lot of people are in need," said Norton.

The biggest thing House lawmakers will be doing this session is passing a bonding bill.

"The shooting star bike trail is one that we can have locally. We want to make sure that we bring in from Adams, LeRoy, and getting to Austin. That's going to be a good thing, "said Poppe.

"Rochester of course has its own projects. Of course, the civic center and the zip rail funding for the final study," said Norton.

"We need to take advantage of the opportunity that we have to do some of these really important projects. Especially like the Mayo Civic Center, which we've been trying to do for quite a few years now," said Liebling.

There are about $3 billion in proposed bonding projects, and only about a third of them will get funded. So with only eleven weeks in the session, lawmakers say there's no time to waste.

"So we'll just be going, going, going for the very short session," said Liebling.  

The other big issue House lawmakers told me about, is repealing some business to business taxes.

It's the same thing members of the Senate talked about. Also, each of the representatives has some of their own bills they want to see passed. That includes everything from adoption, to food shelf changes, and even tattoo ink.