Minnesota lawmakers on their top priorities in 2023 session
ST. PAUL, Minn. (KTTC) – DFL leaders in the Minnesota House and Senate met Wednesday to break down their priorities for the 2023 session now that the DFL has what is called a “trifecta”- or in other words, having a majority in both chambers and the Governor all being democrats.
DFL leaders say the new DFL majorities in the Legislature are united and already working to address what they say are the state’s big challenges including abortion rights, paid family leave and affordable healthcare.
“We still have people who can’t afford healthcare in the state of Minnesota and often times those are folks who are small business owners who find the option in the exchange are unaffordable,” House Majority Leader Rep. Jamie Long said.
Missing from the list of top issues is marijuana policy reform, something DFL leaders say is a criminal justice concern.
“It is critically important that Minnesota rights some of the wrongs that have been inflicted on our population because of our prohibition policy,” House Speaker Melissa Hortman said.
Last session, the legislature failed to pass a bonding bill. DFL leaders say they will be passing one this year, with or without Republican support.
“It’s not just about preserving Minnesota’s infrastructure which it does, it’s about preserving Minnesota’s history and helping make life easier and helping invest in communities across the state,” Senate Majority Leader Kari Dziedzic said.
Some Republican leaders disagree with the DFL priorities and want to put the focus on other issues.
“They want a lot of things we simply just don’t support, so we’re in the minority now. We know that’s our lot in life, and we’ll do the best we can to block some of their egregious policies,” Rep. Greg Davis said.
Republican leaders want to take the estimated $17.6 billion budget surplus head-on.
“One of my top priorities, one of the top priorities of Republicans is returning that money back to the taxpayers,” Sen. Jeremy Miller said.
Some GOP leaders are pushing for the elimination of social security income.
“Minnesota is one of only twelve states that still taxes social security benefits. I think it’s time for seniors to get this much deserved relief,” Sen. Miller said.
Many Republican leaders are also pushing against any and all tax increases.
“There are still those friends on the other side of the aisle that are talking about tax increases. I don’t understand it when you have the deficit that you do,” Rep. Davids said.
The Senate and House minority leaders issued statements in response to the DFL priorities. They said in part the DFL priorities are controversial and divisive. Rather than focusing on allocating the surplus back to taxpayers, DFLers are rushing through their priorities without bipartisan support.
The legislature wraps up on May 22.
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