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Senator Ingebrigtsen sums up 10th week at Legislature

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Editor's note: Senator Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria, provided the following summary of his work at the Legislature in its 10th week.

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Voter ID on the November ballot

The Senate passed the final Voter ID bill on Wednesday afternoon by a vote of 35-29. Requiring photo ID to vote is an effort to modernize the election system, prevent voter fraud and inspire confidence in the integrity of our process. Voters will now have the opportunity to weigh in on the November ballot by answering the question: "shall the Minnesota Constitution be amended to require all voters to present valid photo identification to vote and to require the state to provide free identification to eligible voters, effective July 1, 2013?"

Environmental permitting bill signed into law

On Tuesday, Senate File 1567 was signed into law. It builds off the work I did last year with other legislators to find efficiencies in environmental permitting. Specifically, this bill continues to streamline the permitting process, removes duplicate services, and reforms government so it moves at the speed of 21st century commerce.

This is great news for Minnesota job creators and job seekers. By getting government out of the way and streamlining the permitting process wherever possible, businesses can grow and more Minnesotans can get back to work.

Honor guard funding addressed

Monday, a bill to give the Commissioner of Veterans Affairs the flexibility in allocating funds to local units of a congressionally chartered veterans organization, like the Honor Guard, was signed into law.

The Honor Guard program was established to reimburse veterans organizations throughout the state to assist in payment for military funeral honors, and every veteran has a congressionally-authorized benefit to have an Honor Guard at their funeral if the family requests. Last year, it was reported that this program, in the absence of a specific appropriation, was to be discontinued. This bill is one measure legislators have taken to address the issue and ensure the program continues.

Bill to pay back schools vetoed

The Legislature approved and sent Governor Dayton House File 2083 which would have sped up the scheduled school aid payments that were delayed as part of the agreement reached between the Governor and the legislature last year. Friday, Governor Dayton announced that he vetoed the bill.

This is disappointing as school districts and charter schools strongly support reducing the shift. Had Governor Dayton signed this bill, more timely payments would have allowed schools a better chance of avoiding short-term borrowing and related interest costs.

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Ingebrigtsen can be reached at (651) 297-8063, by mail at 303 State Capitol Building, 75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55155, or via email at sen.bill.ingebrigtsen@senate.mn.

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