End of Session Recap: State Senator Ron Latz
DFL State Senator Ron Latz of St. Louis Park says there were a lot of missed opportunities in this past legislative session.
One of the few bright spots, according to Latz, is the passage of a pension bill. The bill corrects a long-term financial imbalance that existed for Minnesota’s public employees.
“We did a combination of things, with some greater financial contributions from existing employees, from existing employers to those existing employees and also some adjustments for the retirees as well,” says Latz.
Latz says part of the challenge in correcting is acknowledging the state’s fiscal obligations while trying to predict the future financial picture.
“This was several years in the making,” said Latz on the pension issue.
Latz added, “We finally did reach the consensus necessary to take care of a whole bunch of the different funds from teachers to local government employees to the direct state employees as well.”
Ron Latz: Lack of Transit Funding a “Big Disappointment”
Among the disappointments this session, Latz cites the absence of funding for transit such as buses or light rail. Without any funding, Latz believes projects such as the Bottineau light right line are at great risk.
Latz is also concerned there wasn’t funding for a pedestrian underpass at Highway 55 and Douglas Drive. He says it’s a dangerous intersection where students cross near Perpich Arts High School.
Looking Ahead: Tax Conformity & Gun Purchase Reforms
Latz believes the tax system must be fixed before the next session starts in January. He vows to continue his ongoing work on extending background checks for gun purchases.
“I carried the bill to provide for extreme risk protection orders that would enable law enforcement to remove, temporarily, guns from the hands of people who are in crisis — either at risk of hurting someone else or committing suicide,” says Latz.
“We couldn’t even get a hearing on those bills. Even though they’ve got 90 percent public support across the state, and including among gun owners, which is just ironic we couldn’t even get a hearing on those bills.”
Coming up on Friday, we’ll hear from Republican State Senator Paul Anderson of Plymouth for his review of the past legislative session.