January 26, 2012

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At the Board meeting 1-23-12, new MGEC President Mohammad Dehdashti welcomes new Board Directors Brian Larson (MnDOT), Aida Mendez (MPCA) and Jeff Cremin (MDH).

2012 MGEC Award Nominations and Scholarship Applications - Recipients will be announced at the March 5th Annual Meeting. Nominations and scholarship applications must be received at the MGEC office by 4:30 p.m. on February 13.  For more information go to www.mgec.org

Committee Participation – The 2012 Board of Directors invites you to participate in any of several committees.  Most committees won’t take a lot of your time, and participation will give you a “behind the scenes” perspective.  For more information go to www.mgec.org > Click on Board/Committees > Click on Serve on a committee for more information about the committees.  Then email us the names of the committee you want to serve on to mgec@mgec.org.

Shutdown Grievances – MGEC and the State of Minnesota have agreed to try to resolve grievances affecting individual employees who claimed they had seniority and qualifications to work “critical” positions filled during the July 2012 shutdown.  Those individuals who claimed issue will be notified shortly once details are available.  Larger, class action issues (non-payout of severance, loss of holiday, sick and vacation accruals, loss of pay) continue to go to arbitration.

MGEC Worksite Meetings – We want to meet face to face with members.  Please contact your MGEC Contact Person to set up a MGEC meeting at your worksite.  This will give us an opportunity to discuss updates on bargaining, pensions, a new professional development opportunity, MGEC representation and communication, and other issues important to you.

 

MGEC Day at the Capitol                                 

 February 23, 2012

8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

The legislature is back in session and political campaigns will besiege us for 2012.  For the third year MGEC will host a Day at the Capitol to meet with legislators to inform them about the good work of state employees and address current legislative issues affecting your employment or work.  Please consider joining us for this day. Members from all agencies are encouraged to participate.  We know you have a voice and opinions – join us to make them heard.  

Key issues

In the morning we’ll be at the Kelly Inn where there will be presentations related to transportation. (Held in conjunction with our partner, the Minnesota Transportation Alliance) In the afternoon legislative visits will take place at the capitol or State Office Building.

9:00 a.m.     Registration & Breakfast

10:00 a.m.   Welcome

Future Transportation Projects and Funding – Needs and Revenue Options

Why 2012 is a Critical Year for MN Transportation

11:15 a.m.    Governor Mark Dayton (invited)

11:30 a.m.    MnDOT Update – Long-Term Plans and Future Funding

Jon Chiglo, Division Director of Engineering, MnDOT

12:00 p.m.   Lunch Program

Senator David Senjem, Majority Leader (invited)

Senator Joe Gimse, Chair-Transportation Committee

Representative Mike Beard, Chair-Transportation Policy & Finance Committee

Senator Scott Dibble, Member-Transportation Committee

Representative Frank Hornstein, Member-Transportation Policy & Finance Committee

To register please RSVP to mgec@mgec.org. Provide your name, home address, cell phone, legislative topics you want to address. We will attempt to set up visits with your legislators as well as others important to your key issues

There will be a preliminary meeting (new date -Tuesday, February 21 at 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. at the MGEC Office) for participants from all agencies to review MGEC Position Statements, discuss the issues and review steps for each legislative visit. If you become aware of any adverse “public employee” legislative bills that you believe may impact State employees, please contact the MGEC office. Members are always encouraged to contact your elected officials in person, by phone, email or personal letter. Let your elected officials know your opinion on any of the bills that you feel are detrimental to State employees.  Click on the following link to find your State Senator and House Representative: www.gis.leg.mn/mapserver/districts/

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Minnesota Political Caucuses – for all parties holding them will start at 7:00 p.m. on February 7, 2012.  To find the location of your caucus go to: http://caucusfinder.sos.state.mn.us/  Weigh in on the selection of presidential candidates, state senator for MN, district representative and senator, MN constitutional issues.  Consider promoting MGEC legislative position papers (Balanced Budget & Deficit Reduction, Fair Compensation, Protecting Pensions and Funding Infrastructure Maintenance) available upon request from Dana.Wheeler@mgec.org and soon to be posted on the website.

In the News – Your Reaction – perhaps you followed many developing stores in Minnesota.  We would like to hear your reaction and listen to your suggestions.  Do you agree, disagree, have suggestions….consider the following stories:

A Jobs Plan for Minnesota Getting Minnesota Back to Work - http://mn.gov/governor/initiatives/jobs-plan/

Who would you vote for president & other issues today - https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/YNGCZND

State of the Union Speech/Finance Committee Deal in Senate        Politico

There were some big transportation ideas — but few details — in President Obama’s speech last night. In a move sure to anger Republicans, he proposed that half of the defense money saved from ending the Middle East wars should be used for infrastructure. The Senate Finance Committee has found about $17 billion for a two-year highway/transit reauthorization, Environment & Public Works ranking GOP Sen. Jim Inhofe said yesterday, though he wouldn’t share the offsets. Inhofe said the deal is “not official but that’s what I’ve heard.” From a Finance aide: “There have certainly been constructive discussions and members are continuing to work on offset options to determine what can get the support needed to pass. We're hopeful we will be able to schedule a markup soon to move forward with the Highway Bill which will make crucial investments in our economy and create jobs here at home.” EPW head Barbara Boxer briefed White House chief of staff Jack Lew on the developments yesterday, according to sources. She told stakeholders that the Finance and Banking committees will mark up their portions next week, according to sources on the conference call.

 Senate Approves Legislation for St. Croix River Crossing    Star Tribune

In a milestone for the St. Croix River bridge project, the U.S. Senate unanimously approved legislation on Monday night granting environmental clearances for the controversial crossing. The $700 million bridge must now pass the House, where a similar bill has been stymied for the past year despite bipartisan agreement in support of the new span from numerous Minnesota and Wisconsin lawmakers as well as the states' governors. "All I can do is declare victory in the Senate," said Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., who shepherded the bill through a chamber where it had long been held up by a handful of lawmakers.

 House Transportation Committee to Vote on Highway Bill    Bloomberg News

The U.S. House Transportation Committee may vote on its version of legislation to reauthorize surface-transportation programs on Feb. 2, according to three people familiar with the matter.   The committee also won a commitment from House leaders for the full House to debate the bill in February. Transportation industry officials will be briefed on Jan. 26, the people said.

 Move Forward With Transit Investments       Star Tribune

Just as hope is renewed during spring training, 2012 looks to be a promising year for transit-related development in the Twin Cities. So it was fitting that the Metropolitan Council held its state-of-the-region presentation at Target Field on Wednesday, with an emphasis on creating a 21st-century regional transit system. Last week, Gov. Mark Dayton announced the creation of a transportation financing advisory group that will seek ways to stabilize transit funding. And on Tuesday, Dayton slotted $25 million of his proposed $775 million bonding bill for further development of the Southwest line.

Transportation Funding Task Force Announced        Star Tribune

Gov. Mark Dayton on Thursday created a task force to find new revenue to close a yawning gap in funding for roads and transit. Dayton said he wants the panel to "look all over the country and ... all over the world" for big ideas. "I'm not interested in nickel-and- dime modifications to our status quo because our status quo is getting worse," he said. The panel will come up with ideas that can be considered in the 2013 legislative session. He noted that forecasts have shown state transportation funding falling behind by as much as $50 billion over the next 20 years. "Minnesota has chosen by default and without really much public debate a path of declining transportation investments and therefore declining ... quality," Dayton said.

 

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