January 18 - 2019

If you enjoy hearing from state agency staff - presenting agency overviews - than this, my friend, was the week for you ... and the same activities will likely spill into next week as well. It's still early in session and very little has actually happened yet; mostly just legislators meeting with various groups, talking about goals and session priorities. Truth be told, little will happen for a while. Yes, there has been a flood of bill introductions from both the House and Senate, but those bills will not see any action or movement in the immediate near term. 

The most notable news to come out this week is that there seems to be bipartisan agreement that some sort of hands free distracted driving bill will pass this year. Imagine that - a bipartisan bill to start things off. Hopefully that's a good sign. 

Federal Shut Down Hurting Minnesota
Commissioner Franz testified this week that the Federal shutdown is having a very significant impact on Minnesota. Not only do we have number of major programs that are reimbursed by federal dollars but we also have a number of state employees who are actually paid through federal dollars. As the shutdown continues, the pressures that are building on states are becoming more and more significant. Governor Walz has outlined a number of steps he wants to take to mitigate the negative effects.

Tracking the Special Election
We continue to track news about the 11th district special election; a vacancy created by Sen. Tony Lourey's appointment as Governor Walz's Dept. of Human Services Commissioner.

ep. Jason Rarick is the  GOP's endorsed candidate and will face no primary battle. Meanwhile,  Stu Lourey (Tony's son) has picked up some big union endorsements, in advance of his DFL primary contest against Michelle Lee, taking place on Tuesday of next week (January 22nd)

A  3rd party candidate from the 'Legal Marijuana Now' party will also appear on the February 5th special election ballot.  The 11th district has recently been trending more GOP, so this could be a pickup for Republicans, which would expand their margin from one seat to two in the MN Senate. Of course, if Rarick wins, we will then need to have  another special election to fill his 11B House sea t. 

Top Legislative News 
It's the early part of session - which means there are numerous bills being introduced. As it goes every year, many will get hearings; some may pass and be signed into law; but the majority will never progress much further than their initial introduction.  

Chronic Wasting Disease

Gun Control

What's Next?

The first two weeks have shown some optimistic   levels  of bipartisanship at the legislature.  This is great ... but it will be interesting to see how everyone is still doing in May.  

For now, all sides are still very much feeling everything out.  Walz is working on his budget and legislators are drafting bills.
It is still way too early to tell how session will progress but there are almost certainly rougher waters ahead (there always are). The real questions is, how will they all handle those challenges when they arise?

On a personal note I want to thank my current & past clients, friends, family and so many others that have been supportive of my business. Five years ago this week, I took a big leap in launching OSC and it has been one of the best decisions I've ever made.

I very much enjoy my work, as well as the people I get to work with on behalf of my clients and I look forward to many more clients, issues, and newsletters in the years to come.

Warm Regards, 

Cap O'Rourke

Cap O'Rourke | (612) 483-1863 | cap@orourkesc.com | www.orourkesc.com/
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