The Minnesota House has overwhelmingly passed a bill that would fund agriculture programs, veterans services and energy matters. The House passed the bill on a 131-to-2 vote.
Rep. Al Juhnke, DFL-Willmar, the chief author of the bill, says it would provide additional support for veterans, including suicide prevention and counseling. It would also provide scholarships for the children and spouses of those killed or disabled in action.
"We cover everyone from World War II vets to returning Iraq vets and everyone in between gets a piece of this," Juhnke said. "So I hope the message goes out across the state that the House of Representatives is concerned about veterans and veteran affairs and military affairs and we are doing something about it in this bill."
One of the members who voted against the bill said he didn't like the fee increases in the proposal. Rep. Mark Buesgens, R-Jordan, was unsuccessful in his attempts to scale back some fees in the bill. He used a fable to describe what Democrats were doing to taxpayers by increasing income taxes and fees.
"Like the parable of the boiling frog, let's turn up the heat a little and then a little more and a little more because the frog doesn't notice when you do that. And pretty soon you boil the frog to death. And that's what we're doing to the taxpayers of the state of Minnesota. We keep turning up the heat," he said.
The bill would also extend the state's new renewable energy law beyond electrical utitlities to others sources of fuel, including gasoline for cares. The bill would also put money into researching and developing new plant based fuels.