Greater Mankato Growth hosted a breakfast Thursday to recap the recently-ended legislative session.
North Mankato DFL State Senator Nick Frentz said the event is an example of why the Mankato area is so successful, and one of the topics that came up was a recent Twin Cities business publication story, “Why is Mankato Minnesota’s hottest economy? The answer to that question is, in large part, in that room. Which is leaders and elected officials that work together in a little more cooperative fashion than you see in some other places around the state.”
Frentz said the highlight of the session, for him and most who attended the forum, was the funding for Highway 14. “That was something that people worked on for decades,” he explained, “To see it completed to four lanes from Owatonna to Dodge Center is probably the single best piece of news for our area in the session and that’s what a lot of people wanted to talk about.”
Madison Lake Republican State Senator Rich Draheim pointed to the passage of the health care transparency bill, which requires hospitals, doctors, pharmacies, and other providers to be upfront about the costs of visits and procedures, as his biggest win this year. “That was a lot of work with a lot of different groups that are pretty big in the state, pretty powerful, and every time you made an adjustment for one of them, the other three of four groups – somebody would have a problem with it,” he explained.
The biggest disappointment? The failure to pass a tax bill. Frentz does remain hopeful that if both sides can come to an agreement on the legislation, the governor will call lawmakers back to St. Paul. He said, “The governor has indicated that he does not want to call a special session, but I think the better approach is to say we will only call a special session if it’s completed and agreed to publicly, in advance.”
Draheim says there were several failures this session, including failure to enact legislation that would have provided, “Mental health for farmers and school children, the school funding – the safe school stuff was vetoed.” He added the veto of the money to reimburse deputy registrars for expenses from the MNLARS debacle, and said the list goes on and on.
Also in attendance, Madison Lake State Senator Rich Draheim, DFL State Representatives Clark Johnson and Jack Considine, and Republican State Representative Jeremy Munson of Lake Crystal.