Legislative Update: March 7, 2019

Special election update

Nathan Nelson won this week’s Republican primary for the special election for House District 11B over Ayrlahn Johnson. Nelson prevailed with 88 percent of the vote.

Nelson is a dairy farmer and president of the Pine County Farm Bureau. He and his wife live in Clover Township, just east of Hinckley, with their five children. Nelson has served as a member of the Clover Township Board for nine years. During the primary, he had the endorsement of the local Republican Party and the support of Congressman Pete Stauber and State Senator Jason Rarick.

Nelson will face Tim Burkhardt, a member of the Hinckley City Council, who is the DFL nominee for the House District 11B special election.

The House seat became vacant when then-state Representative Jason Rarick, R-Pine City, was elected to the Minnesota Senate in a special election on February 5. Rarick resigned his seat in the Minnesota House prior to being sworn in as a member of the Minnesota Senate on February 13.

House District 11B includes almost all of Pine County as well as the eastern portion of Kanabec County. The special election is scheduled for Tuesday, March 19.

Governor Walz signs first bills

Governor Tim Walz signed his first two bills of the session this week. The first, HF 861, is a bill that provides $13 million for MNLARS, the state’s vehicle registration system. MNLARS has been plagued by problems, including delays for motorists seeking new vehicle tabs, plates, and licenses, since its launch in 2017. The funds are for new technology, maintenance and customer service support for the Minnesota Licensing and Registration System. It also directs a task force to issue recommendations for next steps in repairing the system by May 1.

Walz also signed HF 80 this week, a $102 million capital investment bill that funds environmental and infrastructure projects across the state of Minnesota. Cities across the state have been anxiously awaiting the sale of these bonds for landfill cleanup, conservation projects, wastewater treatment upgrades, and improvements to parks and water quality.

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