Tag Archives: Legislative

Representative Jim Davnie Legislative Newsletter

[Representative Davnie posted this to the Seward Neighbors Forum. Watch for future updates in the Profile too.]

As a way to try and reach out to neighbors in the heat of the legislative session so that you can better know what I am up to and what issues the legislature is struggling with I thought I would try posting my legislative newsletters to neighborhood forums.

Individual legislators in the metro exist in something of a media desert-the Star Tribune doesn’t cover us and the neighborhood newspapers, were they exist, often either don’t cover legislative action or publish too infrequently to be timely in their coverage. For neighbors who are subscribers to my updates you know that I try to send out updates roughly weekly during the legislative session and far less frequently during the legislative interim’s.

These updates generally are short, focus on one issue, and sometimes include announcements of community events.

Below find an update focused on the current bonding bill debate.  The only update to the update below is that the Governor again is out of state this weekend making negotiations more challenging.


Dear Neighbors,

The two overarching priorities for this legislative session are job creation and balancing the state’s budget. This is why the Legislature has moved at a rapid pace this session. Monday night the House and Senate passed the Capital Investment Bill with bipartisan support. With this vote we took another step toward a full recovery for our state.

The bill would authorize $999.9 million in new bonding. It’s focused on infrastructure improvements and higher education and is designed to energize our job market. To qualify, the projects had to be “shovel-ready” so we can get Minnesotans’ back to work faster.

Through bonding we have the opportunity to create thousands of jobs that will be here for the long haul. It will begin with the firms that secure bids to start construction. This will create a ripple of jobs that starts with the brick-layers and ends with the scientist in a brand new university facility.

By moving quickly on a bill traditionally one of the last passed in May of each even numbered year we can take advantage of the spring construction season and the low price of construction work. The bill was designed to come in under the recommended debt management guidelines produced by the Office of Management and Budget and to take no money from the General Fund in fiscal year 2010.

Projects were spread evenly throughout the state. I’m happy to see that work Minneapolis sought funding for was approved.  Some of the highlights for our city include:

  • Money to start improvements on Veterans Affairs Building 17 at the Minnesota Veterans Home
  • $5 million for a new hyperbaric chamber at HCMC. This chamber is used to treat victims of carbon monoxide poisoning, burns, and patients undergoing cancer treatments,
  • $750,000 for completion of the Minneapolis Emergency Operations and Regional Fire Training Center,
  • Funds for renovations at the Minneapolis sculpture garden, Orchestra Hall and Peavy Plaza.

This provides us with a great opportunity to expand public safety initiatives in Minneapolis while at the same time promoting cultural institutions like Orchestra Hall. A safe and secure city that offers unique cultural experiences will drive commerce and tourism.

Unfortunately, the final bill left out the Midtown Farmers Market. I was disappointed by this omission.  It is not unusual for it to take more than one attempt to secure bonding dollars for a project. I’ll continue to work with Market proponents and other stakeholders to find ways to support the Market.

Governor Pawlenty responded swiftly even before the passage of the bonding bill. He sent a letter explaining rather than line-item projects out of our bill he would veto the entire measure.

In an attempt to avoid a veto and keep open the opportunity for negotiations the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate agreed to hold onto the bill rather than move it along to the Governor’s desk.

The bill’s authors have sent the Governor a letter asking him to identify, now that he has returned to the state, specifically which projects he objects to and where he wants more money spent. They have asked him to make this information public by noon on Thursday so that the Senate can begin the parliamentary process of reopening the bill for further negotiations. In a quick response the Governor has responded in part, pointing to his bonding proposal while also indicating a willingness to try to reach a compromise.

I recognize that the people of Minnesota want the Governor and Legislature to act jointly in the interests of the state and to do so quickly.  I hope that these recent developments help make that possible.


Jim Davnie

State Representative District 62A

Jim  Davnie