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Observer Corps Report - 2/7/2020 Dakota County Board Pre-Session Legislative Forum

Observer Corps reports are submitted by LWV of Dakota County members that volunteer their time to observe and take notes at government meetings of interest to Dakota County residents. While we strive for accuracy, these observations may be incomplete or inaccurate in some respects.

Agenda

Meeting Materials Meeting Summary: Dakota County commissioners and state legislators representing districts within Dakota County were in attendance. The meeting was held from 9:30 - 11:30 a.m. at the Dakota County Community Development Agency office in Eagan. A welcome was given by Commissioner Atkins and those in attendance introduced themselves. Dakota County’s 2020 legislative priorities were presented in the following order:

A. Capital Investment – included discussion of public safety and greenway improvements. B. Housing and Economic Stability – included discussion about providing a safety net and mitigating evictions, expanding support services, and providing rental assistance and support to landlords. There was discussion about the rental housing stock within Dakota County during the Q & A period. C. Transportation – included discussion about long-term sustainable funding for highways and bridges. Several legislators in attendance weighed in regarding specific needs within their districts. Bus rapid transit and regional transportation funding was also discussed at length. D. Natural Resource Stewardship – included discussion about various requests submitted by the Metropolitan Council for funding to acquire land and make capital improvements to the regional park system. The County views itself as a leader in natural resource stewardship and wants to secure the funding necessary to bolster that reputation. E. Environmental Protection – included a very lengthy discussion regarding protection of groundwater resources. While time was limited, there was discussion during the Q & A period regarding health and human services priorities, jobs and economic growth, and state government and elections. It was reiterated many times during the forum that Dakota County makes up 8% of the state's population and our contribution of 8% of the state's revenue requires strong advocacy on the part of our elected officials.