Thursday, September 21, 2017

Dear Friends,

Thursday night Governor Dayton called a special session, and today the legislature convened in Saint Paul to wrap up work on the 2016-2017 budget. The session continued into the early morning hours Saturday, and we passed our final bill about an hour ago. I am disappointed that the Governor forced this special session by vetoing bipartisan budget bills, but am glad we were able to finally finish up our work today and provide certainty to the 9,000+ state workers who would have been affected by a government shutdown.

We passed a total of six bills: the Education bill, the Agriculture and Environment Bill, the Jobs and Energy bill, a small bonding bill, the Legacy bill, and a technical corrections bill to make minor fixes to previously-passed legislation.

Some highlights:

Read more: Special Session Update from Rep. Wills

Dear Friends,

As of Tuesday, the 2014 legislative session is officially underway. It's good to be back in St. Paul as we get to work tackling the long list of issues ahead of us before the constitutionally-mandated May 19 adjournment date. Here are some updates from the first week of the 2014 session:

Read more: 02-28-14 Legislative Update from Rep. Wills

Dear Neighbor,

The first week of the 2014 legislative session is in the books.

It has been good returning to the Capitol to address important issues. This is scheduled to be a relatively shorts session in a non-budget year, but we still face a number of key decisions.

Here is a snapshot of this week’s headlines:

Read more: Rep. Mack: Recapping Week 1 of the 2014 session

Dear Friends,

We're just a few days away from the start of session, so I wanted to send along one last interim update on the community events I've been able to attend over the past couple of weeks, and give you a preview of issues I'll be working on this session.

Community Events:

Caucuses

Earlier this month, Minnesotans gathered for their respective precinct caucuses, the first step in the 2014 election process. I wanted to thank those of you who took time out of your busy lives to get involved--regardless of party--in your local caucus. The world belongs to those who show up, and I appreciate your commitment and dedication to the political process in shaping the future of your respective political party and the state as a whole.

AMSD Legislative Preview

On Friday, February 7th, I attended the Association of Metropolitan School Districts' (AMSD) 2014 Legislative Preview event. In attendance were a number of local school officials and other elected officials to hear from the AMSD about their legislative priorities for 2014. We also heard from Minnesota's Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius.

This was the first of several pre-session events I attended in the last few weeks. I also attended an Education Summit on February 6th put on by the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce where we heard from a number of speakers about education reform and ways we can tackle our state's unacceptable achievement gap. That weekend, I got the chance to attend a joint event on February 8th put on by the Minnesota Agricultural Education Leadership Council, the Minnesota Association of Agricultural Educators, and the Minnesota FFA for their legislative breakfast. There we heard about some of the unique issues facing Minnesota's agriculture industry, and the educators who work in the field of agricultural education. On Monday, Februray 10th, I attended the Legislative Institute on Child Development Research and Policy, where we heard from leading experts about child development and ways to increase learning and achievement for our youngest learners.

Read more: 02/21/14 Legislative Update From Rep. Wills

Dear Friends,

Today the legislature voted to provide $4.5 million dollars in disaster relief funding for 18 counties across the state of Minnesota during a one-day special session. It was great to see my colleagues and for all of us to come together in a bipartisan fashion to support much-needed relief for the areas impacted by the severe storms in June 2013 that caused widespread damage across Minnesota.

The House voted 127-1, with all Republicans voting in support of the measure. The Senate passed the bill unanimously 59-0. The Governor is expected to sign the bill in the coming days. While I was disappointed that we missed an opportunity to fix the tax mistakes impacting Minnesota businesses and families, I look forward to making that a priority when the legislature reconvenes in 2014.

Here are some additional updates from the past couple of weeks:

Read more: News from Representative Wills 09-09-2013

Dear Friends,

As many of you know, yesterday was Night to Unite (formerly National Night Out), a night where communities around Minnesota and across the country gather to greet their neighbors for block parties. The event is used primarily to strengthen neighborhood relationships, and encourage drug and crime prevention awareness.

Strong relationships in our neighborhoods and communities are one of the best tools against crime. Many law enforcement organizations participate in Night to Unite as a way to promote tips on how to make your neighborhood safer.

Thanks to everyone in Rosemount and Apple Valley for the kind reception -- I had hoped to make it to more gatherings, but the severe weather cut the evening's festivities short.

I also met with Dakota County Regional Chamber President Vicki Stute on Monday. Much of our conversation was on the new warehousing tax that was passed last session, and how it's already costing Minnesota jobs and growth opportunities for existing companies. We agreed that we need to be taking steps to make Minnesota's business climate more attractive so we can create jobs, rather than encouraging them to go elsewhere.

Apple Valley, Rosemount, Coates unlikely to see property tax relief

I've received a number of questions this summer about property taxes. There has been a lot of talk this summer about property taxes, and with it comes some confusion about what it would mean for our area. Despite claims that property taxes are going down, it's unlikely that homeowners in Apple Valley, Rosemount, and Coates are going to see any relief on their property tax statements.

The DFL majority is claiming that increasing government aid to local cities and counties qualifies as property tax relief. In a sense, they are right. Many communities around Minnesota receive local government aid (LGA), and could use those increased payments to lower their overall levy.

Unfortunately, our communities do not receive LGA. That means that there's no new government money coming in that would allow the cities of Apple Valley, Rosemount, and Coates to lower their property tax levies.

In fact, it was decided at Monday night's school board meeting that the Apple Valley-Eagan-Rosemount school district will be asking taxpayers for $10 million dollars per year -- which works out to about $184 dollars for the owner of a $225,000 home, the average for the school district.  

If passed, that would mean a property tax increase for residents in our area. I hope this clears up the issue for you. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact my office at 651-296-4306 or by email atThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Have a great rest of your week,
 
Anna Wills
State Representative, District 57B

Dear Friends,

I wanted to share with you some updates from this past week, and a look at the week ahead.

Read more: News from Representative Wills 07-08-2013

Dear Friends,

Monday evening marked the end of the 2013 Legislative Session. The final weekend of session was marked by many late nights which were necessary to pass the bills that now have either been signed or are still awaiting the Governor's signature for the 2014-2015 biennium budget.

Next week I plan to send out a session wrap-up detailing our work this session here at the legislature. In the meantime, here are some highlights from the last weekend:

Read more: Rep. Anna Wills (57B) - Legislative Update

Greetings from the Capitol!

We are in the home stretch of the 2013 session and bills to set a new state budget for the next two years remain works in progress.

May 20 is the scheduled date of adjournment. Since the majority has yet to unveil a finished budget, we will be working through the weekend. It will be a daunting task to get a budget in place before the deadline. It concerns me these important bills will be rushed to passage with a lack of transparency if the majorities are unable to bring them to our respective floors soon.

Read more: Rep Mack: Still no budget; survey results released

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