More than 120 city officials from around the state attended the Legislative Conference last week.
(Published Feb 25, 2019)
More than 120 city staff and elected officials from Blue Earth to Bemidji attended the League’s Legislative Conference last week. The event aimed at informing and encouraging officials to be advocates for Minnesota cities.
The conference began on Feb. 20 at the League building with expert panels that addressed housing and transportation needs in Minnesota cities. They provided updates on what has been happening this legislative session and what it’s going to take to address these issues.
The Housing panel included Sen. Bill Weber (R-Luverne), Rep. Alice Hausman (DFL-St. Paul), and Anne Mavity, Executive Director of the Minnesota Housing Partnership. The Transportation panel consisted of Margaret Donahoe, Executive Director of the Minnesota Transportation Alliance; Met Council Chair Nora Slawik, and Minnesota Department of Transportation Assistant Commissioner Scott Peterson.
City officials then convened at the Capitol and joined legislators for a reception in the Capitol vault.
The conference continued the next day at Christ on Capitol Hill Lutheran Church, located across the street from the Capitol building. Gov. Tim Walz kicked off the day by addressing attendees, citing his recent budget proposals, which include transportation funding, restoration of local government aid, and other provisions of interest to cities.
Following the governor’s address, the League’s intergovernmental relations staff gave a legislative update on city legislation introduced this session. Attendees also received a federal update from National League of Cities Advocacy Director Mike Wallace.
Officials then heard from veteran legislators—Rep. Joe McDonald (R-Delano), Sen. Dan Hall (R-Burnsville), and Sen. Patricia Torres Ray (DFL-Minneapolis). They lead the Local Government committees and oversee most of the bills involving cities. Minnesota Department of Revenue Commissioner Cynthia Bauerly was also on hand to answer several questions from attendees.
Next up were city officials, who talked about their legislative advocacy experience. Plymouth Councilmember Judy Johnson, Rochester Mayor Kim Norton, and Spring Lake Park Administrator/Clerk/Treasurer Dan Buchholtz shared their stories about working with legislators on behalf of their cities.
Once the conference program was completed, members then went to meet with their state senators and representatives to share their city stories and talk about the impact of various legislation on cities.
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