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Legislative Action Day

CGMC Legislative Action Day was a huge success! More than 110 city officials and business leaders from nearly 50 cities attended the CGMC’s annual lobbying event on March 14. We also had great attendance from legislators at the reception and dinner that capped off the day at Mancini’s — a bipartisan mix of more than 40 legislators representing both rural and urban districts mingled with CGMC members over a steak dinner, despite having to move to our event to an earlier time due to the Governor’s State of the State Address that evening.

One of the highlights of this year’s Legislative Action Day was a lunchtime panel discussion featuring Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka (R-Nisswa), Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk (DFL-Cook), House Speaker Kurt Daudt (R-Crown) and House Minority Leader Melissa Hortman (DFL-Brooklyn Park). This is the first time in recent memory that all four legislative leaders have addressed the CGMC membership at the same time.

Discussing their goals for the legislative session, there was agreement among all four legislators that a top priority is passing a bonding bill that is heavily focused on replacing old or outdated infrastructure. Sen. Bakk said he is seeking a bill that is somewhere around $1 billion, while Sen. Gazelka and Speaker Daudt said they expect the bill to be $800 million or less. The legislators also discussed the state’s budget situation, with several noting that the recent February Forecast (which showed a $329 million surplus) was lower than expected. Sen. Gazelka and Speaker Daudt emphasized that economic indicators are positive at both the state and national levels and expressed disappointment with Minnesota Management & Budget’s (MMB) forecast predictions. However, Sen. Bakk and Rep. Hortman said there are a potentially troubling signs ahead for the state budget, particularly due to inflation and slowing job growth. When asked what advice they would give to the next governor, Rep. Hortman urged him or her to invest in our state’s workforce and education system. Sen. Bakk, who jokingly predicted that the next governor will be named “Tim,” echoed Rep. Hortman’s comments and said a strong investment in our workforce is what makes Minnesota great. Speaker Daudt said the next governor needs to focus on keeping Minnesota competitive, claiming that our current tax system encourages residents and businesses to go elsewhere. Sen. Gazelka advised the next governor to be accurate when predicting the future (harking back to his assertion that the recent MMB numbers are flawed) and urged them not to be afraid to reform. You can watch video of the full panel discussion here.

Legislative Action Day attendees then spent the afternoon meeting with legislators at the Capitol and urging them to support CGMC proposals on LGA, water infrastructure funding, child care and other important issues. A copy of the lobbying packet that was given to legislators can be found here.

A big thank you to everyone who participated in Legislative Action Day!

Legislative Action Day right around the corner! We are expecting a large turnout of more than 100 mayors, city councilors and city staff members to join us for our annual CGMC lobby day on Wednesday, March 14. With so many Greater Minnesota city officials descending on the Capitol at once, it will be a great opportunity to band together and advocate for the needs and concerns of rural communities.

Although the initial deadline has passed, we are still accepting registrations. Please visit greatermncities.org/LAD2018 to fill out the online registration form.

The Legislative Action Day schedule is as follows:

  • 9:30 a.m. – Registration begins at the Best Western Plus Capitol Ridge in St. Paul
  • 10:30 a.m. – Legislative update & message for legislators
  • 12 p.m. – Lunch & panel discussion featuring legislative leaders (Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk, House Speaker Kurt Daudt and House Minority Leader Melissa Hortman are all confirmed)
  • 1-4 p.m. – Lobby at the Capitol (reminder: attendees must make their own lobbying appointments)
  • 4 p.m. – Legislative reception at Mancini’s
  • 5 p.m. – Dinner with legislators at Mancini’s

Note about parking at the Best Western Capitol Ridge: There is free parking available at the hotel. However, the parking lot is controlled by a gate. When guests arrive, they should take a ticket at the gate, and when they leave they will need to enter a code that will be posted at the exit gate. 

If you have any questions about Legislative Action Day, please contact Julie Liew at jlliew@flaherty-hood.com or 651-259-1917.

This should make for an interesting discussion! All four legislative leaders —Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk, House Speaker Kurt Daudt and House Minority Leader Melissa Hortman — have confirmed that they will participate in the lunch-time panel discussion at CGMC’s Legislative Action Day on Wednesday, March 14. This is the first time in recent years that all four legislative leaders have agreed to sit on a panel together at a CGMC event. We are looking forward to a robust discussion on Greater Minnesota issues such as Local Government Aid, infrastructure funding, water quality regulations and child care.

In addition to the panel discussion, Legislative Action Day also provides a great opportunity to learn more about legislative issues affecting your community and to lobby for Greater Minnesota priorities at the State Capitol. As is our tradition, the day-long event concludes with a reception and dinner with legislators at Mancini’s Char House in St. Paul. The full Legislative Action Day agenda and venue information can be found here.

If you have not yet registered for Legislative Action Day, please do so by filling out the online registration form at greatermncities.org/LAD2018. Please register by Feb. 28.

We are looking forward to seeing our CGMC members at Legislative Action Day on Wednesday, March 14! Please note that there has been a slight change to the day’s schedule — we have moved the legislative reception at Mancini’s up to 4 p.m. and moved dinner to 5 p.m. (they were previously scheduled for 5:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., respectively). We decided to move the reception and dinner to the earlier time after it was announced that Governor Dayton will be holding his State of the State Address that evening. While the earlier times may cut into some of our lobbying time, they should allow legislators to be able to attend both our event and the Governor’s speech.

The full Legislative Action Day schedule is now as follows:

  • 9:30 a.m. – Registration begins at the Best Western Plus Capitol Ridge in St. Paul
  • 10:30 a.m. – Legislative update & message for legislators
  • 12 p.m. – Lunch & panel discussion featuring legislative leaders (Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk, House Speaker Kurt Daudt and House Minority Leader Melissa Hortman are confirmed; we are waiting to hear back from Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka)
  • 1-4 p.m. – Lobby at the Capitol (reminder: attendees must make their own lobbying appointments)
  • 4 p.m. – Legislative reception at Mancini’s
  • 5 p.m. – Dinner with legislators at Mancini’s

If you have not yet registered for Legislative Action Day, please do so by filling out the online registration form at greatermncities.org/LAD2018. The full agenda and venue information can be found on this Legislative Action Day flyer. Please register by Feb. 28.

In addition, we were able to get an extension on the block of hotel rooms that we have reserved for the CGMC for the nights of March 13-14 at Best Western Plus Capitol Ridge. Members now have until Feb. 20 to book a room under our discounted rate ($139+tax). Call the hotel at 651-227-8711 to make a reservation.

If you have any questions about the time changes or Legislative Action Day, please contact Julie Liew at jlliew@flaherty-hood.com.

Registration is now open for the CGMC’s Legislative Action Day 2018! It will be held Wednesday, March 14 at the conference center at the Best Western Plus Capitol Ridge (formerly the Kelly Inn) in St. Paul, located one block from the State Office Building. Due to the overwhelming interest last year, we have reserved a larger space for this year’s event.

Legislative Action Day is always a great opportunity to build connections between local officials and legislators and advocate for the priorities of Greater Minnesota cities. To attend, please go to greatermncities.org/LAD2018 to fill out the online registration form. The cost is $70 per person, and attendees may pay online or be invoiced later. Please register by Feb. 28.

The day will kick off with a brief legislative update in the morning followed by lunch featuring yet-to-be-determined speakers (House Speaker Kurt Daudt, Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk and House Minority Leader Melissa Hortman  are confirmed to attend; Senate Majority Paul Gazelka has yet to respond to our invitation). Members will then spend the afternoon meeting with their legislators at the House and Senate offices (members should make their own appointments for meetings with legislators between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. that day). The daylong event concludes with a legislative reception and dinner at Mancini’s Char House & Lounge that evening. The full agenda and venue information can be found on this Legislative Action Day flyer.

For those who want to spend the night in St. Paul, a block of rooms is reserved for the CGMC for the nights of March 13-14 at the Best Western Plus Capitol Ridge ($139+tax, call 651-227-8711 to book). Members are encouraged to book their rooms early as the block closes Feb. 20.

If you have any questions about Legislative Action Day, please contact Julie Liew at jlliew@flaherty-hood.com or 651-259-1917.

We hope to see you there!

CGMC Legislative Action Day was a huge success!

More than 120 city officials and business leaders from nearly 50 cities attended the CGMC’s annual lobbying event on Wednesday. There was also great attendance from legislators at the reception and dinner that capped off the day at Mancini’s — a bipartisan mix of more than 65 legislators representing both rural and urban districts came to the event.

Legislative Action Day began with a membership meeting in which attendees were apprised of the CGMC’s top legislative priorities and given tips on how to lobby at the Capitol. The meeting was followed by lunch and a panel discussion featuring Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk (DFL-Cook), Sen. Jeremy Miller (R-Winona) and Rep. Dean Urdahl (R-Grove City). Attendees then spent the afternoon meeting with legislators at the Capitol and urging them to support CGMC proposals on LGA, workforce housing, bonding and other issues. A copy of the lobbying materials that were given to legislators can be found here.

A big thank you to all who participated in this year’s event!

More than 100 CGMC members are registered to attend our Legislative Action Day this Wednesday, Feb. 1! We are excited to have such a large turnout and look forward to seeing many of you there. Here are few notes about the day for those planning to attend:

Location – Best Western Capitol Ridge
For those who have attended Legislative Action Day before, please note that we will be at a new location this year – the Best Western Capitol Ridge, located at 161 St Anthony Ave. in St Paul. This is within short walking distance of the Capitol complex.

Parking
The Best Western Capitol Ridge has a parking lot that will be free for CGMC members to use. However, the hotel has informed us that due to another event being held there the same day, there is a possibility that their lot could fill up. If that happens, you are welcome to park in the lot at the League of Minnesota Cities (145 University Ave. W) or at our office at 525 Park St., both of which are within walking distance of both the Best Western and the Capitol complex.

Schedule
The day will begin at 10:30 a.m. with a program featuring a legislative update, overview of the CGMC’s top issues and some lobbying tips. Lunch will be served at approximately noon, during which we will hear from a legislative panel featuring Sen. Tom Bakk (DFL-Cook), Sen. Jeremy Miller (R-Winona) and Rep. Dean Urdahl (R-Grove City). After lunch, members will head to the Capitol complex for meetings with legislators. Remember – attendees are responsible for scheduling their own appointments with legislators. Here is the full agenda for the day.

Legislative Reception & Dinner
The legislative reception will begin at 5:30 p.m. at Mancini’s Char House & Lounge, located at 531 7th St W. in St. Paul. Dinner will be served at 6:30 p.m. Mancini’s has a large parking lot, so there will be ample free parking available. If you are staying at the Best Western or the Holiday Inn, you may want to inquire at the front desk about the availability of shuttle service to and from the restaurant if you would prefer not to drive.

DowntimeIf you are looking for somewhere to hang out between meetings, you are welcome to come back to the conference room at the Best Western (the room will be available until 5 p.m.) or you can go to the Flaherty & Hood Office, located at 525 Park St., Suite 470. We also encourage you to take a tour of the newly remodeled Capitol building!

Cancellations
If you signed up for Legislative Action Day but can no longer attend, please let me know ASAP. We had to start a waiting list due to the high number of attendees this year, so if you can’t make it there may be someone else who is interested in taking your place.

Spending the night in St. Paul
There might still be hotel rooms available for those who want to spend the night in St. Paul. A block of rooms is reserved for the CGMC for the nights of Jan. 31 and Feb. 1 at both the Best Western Plus Capitol Ridge ($139+tax, call 651-227-8711 to book) and the Holiday Inn St. Paul Downtown ($140+tax, call 651-225-1515 to book).

If you have any additional questions about Legislative Action Day, please contact Julie Liew at jlliew@flaherty-hood.com.

Registration is now open for the CGMC’s Legislative Action Day 2017! It will be held Wednesday, Feb. 1 at the newly renovated conference space at the Best Western Plus Capitol Ridge (formerly the Kelly Inn) in St. Paul, located one block from the State Office Building. (For those who have attended Legislative Action Day before, please note that this year’s event is being held at a new location).

The day will kick off with a brief legislative update in the morning followed by lunch featuring a yet-to-be-determined speaker or speakers. Members will then spend the afternoon meeting with their legislators at the House and Senate offices (members should make their own appointments for meetings with legislators between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. that day). The daylong event concludes with a legislative reception and dinner at Mancini’s Char House & Lounge that evening.

Legislative Action Day is always a great opportunity to build connections between local officials and legislators and advocate for the priorities of Greater Minnesota cities. To attend, please fill out this registration form and email, fax or mail it to the listed contact information. Please RSVP by Jan. 18.

For those who want to spend the night in St. Paul, a block of rooms is reserved for the CGMC for the nights of Jan. 31 and Feb. 1 at both the Best Western Plus Capitol Ridge ($139+tax, call 651-227-8711 to book) and the Holiday Inn St. Paul Downtown ($140+tax, call 651-225-1515 to book). Members are encouraged to book their rooms early as the blocks close one month before the event.

If you have any questions about Legislative Action Day, please contact Julie Liew at jlliew@flaherty-hood.com or 651-259-1917.

This year’s CGMC Legislative Action Day was a huge success! More than 120 city officials and business leaders from 51 cities attended the CGMC’s annual lobbying event on Wednesday. We also had great attendance from legislators at the legislative reception and dinner that capped off the day, with a bipartisan mix of legislators representing both rural and urban districts.

The day began with a membership meeting in which attendees were apprised of the CGMC’s top legislative priorities and given tips on how to lobby at the Capitol. The meeting was followed by a lunch with Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk (DFL-Cook) as our guest speaker. Attendees then spent the afternoon meeting with legislators at the Capitol and urging them to support CGMC proposals on LGA, workforce housing, bonding and other issues. A copy of the lobbying materials that were given to legislators can be found here.

A big thank you to all who participated in this year’s event!

For Immediate Release: March 16, 2016
Contact: Julie Liew, jlliew@flaherty-hood.com

A PDF version of this press release is available here.

ST. PAUL—Momentum for an increase to the Local Government Aid (LGA) program continues to build at the Legislature. Yesterday, Gov. Dayton included a $21.5 million one-time increase in LGA funding as part of his supplemental budget. Then today, Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, confirmed to city leaders that the Senate is standing by its plan to increase ongoing funding for the program.

“The Senate tax bill puts LGA back at 2002 levels. We feel really strongly about that,” Sen. Bakk said, referring to the $45.5 million in additional LGA funding that the Senate included in its version of the tax bill. He added that it is “unlikely” that a tax bill could pass out of conference committee without that LGA provision in it.

Sen. Bakk discussed LGA and other top Greater Minnesota priorities while addressing 120 city administrators and elected officials from across the state who convened in St. Paul for the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities (CGMC) annual Legislative Action Day. House Speaker Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, had also been expected to speak at the event, but he had to cancel his appearance because the House was in session.

An LGA increase is the top legislative priority for the CGMC this session. More than 75 cities have adopted a resolution in support of the $45.5 million increase and 17 newspapers have written editorials expressing similar support. Clearly, it was a top focus for the city officials taking part in the Legislative Action Day lobbying activities.

“LGA is absolutely vital to Greater Minnesota communities,” said Robert Broeder, mayor of Le Sueur and president of the CGMC. “Our costs continue to rise, yet LGA funding has not even kept up with inflation. We are asking our legislators to support a modest increase to the program so that our cities can continue to provide key services to our residents and businesses while restraining property taxes.”

In contrast to the Senate’s plan to increase LGA, the Republican-led House is pursuing a tax bill that would cut the LGA program by $84 million by targeting the cities of Minneapolis, St. Paul and Duluth. While addressing the CGMC crowd, Sen. Bakk urged them not to “take the bait” on the House proposal. He indicated that although it might sound like the House plan would benefit Greater Minnesota cities, in reality it would put the entire LGA program in jeopardy.

“I’ve been around here long enough to know that if LGA is going to become just a rural program, we’ll never hold it,” Sen. Bakk said. “There needs to be a formula where everybody can fairly participate in it. If you start taking large groups of legislators out of it, it’s just not going to be workable going forward.”

Sen. Bakk noted that the conference committee will begin reconciling the differences between the House and Senate versions of the tax bill “in earnest” soon, but he gave no indication that the two bodies are any closer to reaching an agreement today than they were at the end of session last May.

However, Sen. Bakk reiterated that if a tax bill makes it out of the conference committee, it will be a “sensible bill that is going to have LGA in it.”

The Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization representing 88 cities outside of the Twin Cities metropolitan area. The Coalition educates legislators about issues important to Greater Minnesota. Visit the CGMC online at greatermncities.org.

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