Last week, MN Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka (R- Nisswa) held a press conference to outline his plans for the legislative session that kicks off in February.
“Our 2020 Vision will build on the successes of the 2019 session and Republicans will continue to work with Democrats in the House and Gov. Walz to get things done, even as we fight hard for our principles. Principles like fiscal responsibility, a limited but effective government that takes care of the vulnerable, a market-based economy and strong belief in personal responsibility and liberty.”
The 2020 Vision plan includes initiatives addressing health care, transportation, education, jobs and workforce development, clean energy, the economy and family budgets, clean water, violence prevention, taking care of people, childcare, greater Minnesota, state government, election security, and veterans.
- demanding more accountability from a failing Department of Human Services (DHS) by putting a stop to the hundreds of millions of dollars of fraud and waste in our public programs, especially when it comes to eligibility.
- a proposal to move the Office of Inspector General outside DHS to give them more autonomy.
- a drug reimportation program so patients can get cheaper Canadian drug prices at their local pharmacy, including insulin.
- protect Minnesotans with pre-existing conditions from being left out of the health care marketplace
- more funding for road and bridge construction, including making it a priority in the bonding bill.
- reform the driver license process, ending the extraordinarily long wait times at state-run driver’s testing stations
- addressing Minnesota’s persistent achievement gap beginning with our youngest children, using data to identify which early learning programs actually work the best and making them our top priorities.
- prioritizing student reading by third grade
- strengthening Principal Academies and early literacy programs.
- supporting real school choice for families and students in Minnesota
Jobs and Workforce Development.
- supporting mining and energy projects such as Polymet, Twin Metals and the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline. For these projects and others in the future, the delays need to stop, the approvals need to move forward and the people need to get to work.
- promoting strategies that focus on real workforce needs in Minnesota.
- planning for our state’s future energy needs in a way that prioritizes efficiency and carbon-free energy, instead of relying on mandates that only drive up the cost to consumers.
- the Clean Energy First proposal that will help Minnesota accomplish the transition to clean energy through careful resource planning and coordination.
- ensuring a reliable power grid.
- maintaining a more flexible, less costly, and diverse energy portfolio that includes renewables, large hydropower, innovative coal and groundbreaking nuclear power technologies.
Economy and Family Budgets
- empowering families, rewarding their work and giving them a break when it comes to taxes
- using the budget surplus for further tax relief such as exempting all Social Security income from Minnesota taxes
- helping communities ensure safe drinking water for their residents.
- making clean water projects across the state a top priority of the 2020 Senate Republican bonding bill.
- keeping people safe in their communities and schools by taking guns out of the hands of dangerous people
- analyzing the policies that govern local cities’ hiring and retaining practices for more police officers
Taking Care of People
- continuing oversight of our assisted living facilities
- pursuing innovative solutions to grow our elder care workforce
- rethinking service delivery for Minnesota seniors
- lowering the cost of childcare by addressing overregulation and rationalizing paperwork requirements
- making sure families in every part of the state have access to high quality care
- continuing tax relief for farmers
- holding agency leaders accountable for wasteful spending, massive overpayments, and cultures of zero accountability
- guaranteeing ballot integrity for all voters
- requiring a photo ID when voting
- pushing on the federal government to fund our veterans homes
- requiring school districts to allow military recruiters and representatives from the skilled trades and manufacturing to be present at career fairs
Sen. Eric Pratt (R- Prior Lake) summed it up by saying, “Our state’s budget surplus – which is estimated to be more than $1.3 billion – puts us in a healthy fiscal position, but it also means the government is collecting too much. With the surplus, I believe now is the time for us to consider additional tax relief for families, farmers, and small businesses, a drug reimportation program that affords Minnesotans access to cheaper prescription drugs, enhancements to public safety, and an ‘all-of-the-above’ approach to clean energy.”