Reflection of recent session highlights, hurdles and accomplishments

Legislators listen to the questions and concerns of community leaders.

KEYC News 12 at Six - Legislative Lunch

NORTH MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - Area legislators gathered with business leaders at South Central College Wednesday morning to revisit the major sticking points of the 2019 legislative session.

Rep. Jeff Brand (DFL-St. Peter) said the session was far from what many expected.

“I thought it was an interesting session, we handled a lot of things locally, that we were able to get done," said Brand.

The local lawmakers said they were happy that a bipartisan agreement was reached on the state budget, but there were some hurdles along the way.

' There were some statewide things that I think we got that are left on the plate for next year... and there are some future discussions that we’re going to have to have about how we want to see some of the things go," said Brand.

There were also some things the two sides could not agree on, like Gov. Tim Walz’s proposed gas tax bill.

Rep. Jack Considine (DFL-Mankato) said he had mixed feelings about the whole situation, and there were times where he was disappointed with the handling of the budget.

" I’m old enough to know that there used to be a standard joke that you left Minnesota and you knew it because all of a sudden the roads went to hell," said Considine.

“If you went to Iowa, Wisconsin, South Dakota, you knew when you crossed the border, now it’s the opposite, all of a sudden the roads improve, I think that’s embarrassing.”

The panel and business leaders were happy to see more funding towards GreenSeam to boost agriculture, but leaders questioned decisions on healthcare, and panelists spoke out.

Sen. Rich Draheim (R-Lake Crystal) mentioned ideas for healthcare that he thought would be helpful.

“Direct primary care is one idea that we’re trying to work on where we would contract the clinic or doctors for the normal visits," Draheim.

"And another idea was to one of the bills that I had was a bill that would let you shop out of network.”

The state budget also gave more money to E-12 education but the local Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota said they were not successful in getting the all the funds they needed.

Sen. Nick Frentz (DFL- Blue Earth) spoke to leaders of the organization, letting them know that legislators will do more.

"You should hold all four of us accountable to go back up there and to say we have got to have funding in the E through 12 bill, “said Frentz.

"And I mean sincerely Deb, you guys could not have done more to show why the museum’s great, why it’s good for the kids, and why it belongs in the E-12 bill.”

As legislators reflect on this past budget, they are looking forward to the next session.

Copyright 2019 KEYC. All rights reserved.