2023 MN Legislative session kicks off

Yesterday marked the start of the 2023 Minnesota Legislative session.
Published: Jan. 3, 2023 at 12:09 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 4, 2023 at 9:26 AM CST
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ST. PAUL, Minn. (KEYC) - Yesterday marked the start of the 2023 Minnesota Legislative session.

Rep. Bjorn Olson (R) emphasized that this marked an exciting time, but it’s also an opportune time to hit the ground running.

“It’s both a celebration of a new year and a new session as well as getting the technical aspects of what we need to do in order to get the job done,” said Rep. Olson.

Rep. Luke Frederick (DFL) made an observation about how much hustle and bustle there was on such an important day.

“It was a chamber full of representatives, guests in the hallways,” said Rep. Frederick. “[There] were Advocates and allies and people, as you know, representing several different issues.”

After the general election in November, Democrats have control of the House, Senate, and the governor’s office -- a state government trifecta.

Yet, local lawmakers say it’s not as easy as it sounds.

“Different people advocating for their own communities and for different areas,” explained Rep. Frederick. “And so I’m not going to say that it’s going to be a walk in the park for anyone. There is definite work to do but I am hopeful that this year will end much better than last year did and I think Minnesotans deserve better than how last year ended.”

Republican leaders say this situation isn’t ideal.

“When you have all three parts of government, that’s probably the scariest time,” admitted Olson. “Because you can get absolutely every part of your wildest dreams and there’s no one on the other side who can make you compromise.”

Yet they hope to continue their work.

“I am on the tax committee,” said Rep. Olson. “I’m going to be reminding them every single day that that money came in the form of taxes and should be responsibly spent or provided back to the citizens or paid to them.”

The topic lawmakers are focusing on: the record budget surplus of $17.6 billion, $12 million of which is one-time money.

”The wastewater treatment facilities are perfect projects where we can take some of that we can invest in Minnesota, but there’s other projects,” said Rep. Frederick. “There’s other water projects around the state. There’s roads and bridges, there’s data infrastructure.”

In the session, multiple bills start dropping, which gives them an opportunity to be heard in the future.

Topics to be heard include abortion, driver licenses for all, education, tax cuts and more.

“So, right now, they don’t have to compromise with us,” said Rep. Olson. “They can run the board and take everything that they want. But is that best for Minnesotans? So my hope is by the end of this session if we can sit back and say, you know, they didn’t run the board on us. We reminded them to be wise and responsible with taxpayer dollars and that we can actually work together.”

The session will end 120 Legislative days from today.