Rep. Tony Jurgens
Last week, the State of Minnesota announced it had reached an $850 million settlement with 3M regarding water contaminated with perfluorocarbons (PFC) in the East Metro.
Not long ago, I discussed the problems surrounding Minnesota's new licensing and registration system, MNLARS. This new computer program is supposed to process titles, tabs and license plates in Minnesota. But since going online July 24, it has been a debacle for deputy registrars as there is currently a backlog of more than 200,000 applications waiting for approval. We recently asked for an update on MNLARS from the Dayton administration and were shocked to hear that it needs another $43 million in order to fix the problems.
Is our water safe to drink? It's a question that is asked every time a new report is issued citing that industrial chemicals have been found in groundwater. Unfortunately, those reports have come up a number of times over the years, the most recent being in May. The culprit has often been the presence of some form of perfluorochemical (PFCs), which are products that have been produced by 3M at its Cottage Grove facility.
We received some good news recently when the federal government granted Minnesota a REAL ID extension until October 2018. Last session, we approved a new law that brought Minnesota into full compliance with the federal REAL ID act, which was a federal law passed in 2005. Its goal was to make it more difficult for potential terrorists to obtain fake identification cards by setting standards that states must meet for their driver's licenses.
Minnesota House Republicans have unveiled their budget targets for the upcoming biennium, and I'm pleased with a number of the priorities. With a budget surplus of $1.6 billion, I've been looking forward to seeing a plan with some meaningful tax relief. Not only do we have that here, but there's also more money for roads and bridges and K-12 education.