Sen. Gene Dornink: 2023 legislative session gets underway

Published 5:27 pm Friday, January 6, 2023

Friends and neighbors,

On Tuesday, Jan. 3, I took the oath of office and officially began my second term in the Minnesota State Senate. I’m excited to be back at the Capitol and represent Senate District 23, which includes communities in Faribault, Freeborn, Mower, Steele and Waseca counties.

During the 2023-2024 legislative session, I have the privilege to serve as the Republican lead of the Labor Committee and as a member of the Agriculture, Broadband and Rural Development and Elections committees. It is a true privilege to continue my work on our state’s leading labor issues and advance my mission of providing safe and productive workplaces for Minnesotan workers.

This year, my fellow legislators and I will dedicate ourselves to crafting our state’s next two-year budget. An integral part of this conversation will be how to spend our state’s historic $17.6 billion surplus.

A massive surplus calls for permanent and meaningful tax relief. Minnesotans know how to spend their money better than the government, and we need to put it back in their pockets. To achieve just that, last year, Senate Republicans put forward our state’s biggest tax cut ever, which included the full elimination of the Social Security income tax. Out-of-control inflation and energy costs continue to affect Minnesota workers and families. And to address this, the surplus needs to provide ongoing relief to Minnesota workers and families, not a onetime check like the governor has proposed.

Public safety also remains a key issue for our state and one that I regularly hear from constituents about. During the 2022 session, Senate Republicans proposed critical investments in public safety to keep our communities safe. This included strong support for law enforcement recruitment and retention and tough penalties for violent criminal activity. And as we work to fund our state for the next two years, these topics must continue to be an integral part of our conversation.

Additionally, this year, we must make important investments in long-term care and senior housing. Minnesota’s long-term care facilities are on the brink of collapse, and they continue to face stress as staffing shortages have ravaged the industry. The crisis is further compounded by the closure of residential providers driving individuals to other facilities already facing staffing shortages. We must provide support to these facilities and help the Minnesotans who face waiting lists and find themselves unable to access essential care.

This session, the Senator Capital Investment Committee will review how money should be spent to acquire and better public buildings and infrastructure projects across Minnesota. An area I believe capital investment dollars can be best spent on is the improvement of wastewater treatment projects. In greater Minnesota, many wastewater treatment facilities have not been modernized for years and need our critical attention.

As the session continues to advance, I remain committed to fighting for policies that will improve the lives of Minnesotans. It is the greatest honor to serve as the voice of our community in the Minnesota Legislature.