Thursday, March 21, 2013

2013 Local Government Legislative Conference

A significant part of a County Commissioner's job is to advocate for new laws and policies that benefit our local County Government.  This is important work as the decisions made at the State Legislature directly impact the services Cook County government is able to provide and the taxes Cook County property owners will pay.

Advocating for Cook County is done by partnering with County Commissioners and Staff from other Counties, most often from NE Minnesota as we share common problems and concerns. We also work statewide through the Association of MN Counties.

The Association of Minnesota Counties (AMC) is a voluntary, non-partisan statewide organization that has assisted the state’s 87 counties in providing effective county governance to the people of Minnesota since 1909.  The association works closely with the legislative and administrative branches of government in seeing that legislation and policies favorable to counties are enacted.  Combined, MN Counties are a powerful force.

Governor Dayton at 2013 Conference
Every March, AMC holds a Local Government Legislative Conference in St. Paul. This conference gives County Commissioners an opportunity to meet directly with State Legislators to discuss policy issues.  The Conference also provides an opportunity to join with other Counties to work on common issues, lobby as a group, get updates on hot policy issues, network, learn and share.

Below is a list of some of the issues I advocated for this week with Senator Tom Bakk, Representative David Dill and other legislators for the financial benefit of Cook County:

(in no particular order)

a)  Exemption of public safety radio equipment purchases (ARMER) in all counties from sales tax.
b)  Restoration of inflationary adjustments to PILT payments.
c)  A change in state statute to allow Medical Assistance reimbursement for inpatient hospital treatment of inmates, taking the burden of these health care costs off of the local property tax levy.
d)  Replacing the obsolete DOS based technology in the State's Health and Human Services to improve efficiency and avoid catastrophic technical failures in this complex arena.
e)  Offset the certain increase in costs to Counties resulting from the changes in Health Care by passing Federal Funds through the State and to the Counties.

The descriptions of these important issues are brief.  For more information, please call me at 218 387 2111 or email me at