For more information contact: Bennett Smith 651-296-6422
The legislature began a week of spring holiday break on Monday after finishing the second deadline for legislative committees. We’ll face the third when we return on Monday, April 9. Here’s a brief update on my work representing you at the Minnesota House of Representatives.
Town Hall Meeting – April 14th
Please join me, Representative Susan Allen and Senator Jeff Hayden, your District 62 legislators, for a Town Hall Meeting on Saturday, April 14, 2018, 10:00 am-12 Noon at East Phillips Community Cultural Center. We'll take time to discuss legislative issues this session, and to hear your questions and concerns. It’s important for us to hear your legislative priorities to help guide our decision-making at the Capitol in these final months before we adjourn on May 23rd. I hope to see you there!
What: Senate District 62 Town Hall Meeting
Where: East Phillips Community Cultural Center - 2307 17th Ave S, Mpls, MN 55404
When: 10:00 AM to 12 Noon, Saturday, April 14, 2018
Light Refreshments served
March for Our Lives
Minnesota’s youth are demanding we do something about gun violence. On Saturday, March 24th, 20,000 students and others marched from Harriet Island to the Capitol to protest and demand gun policy change. More Minnesota voices are urging the Republican Legislative majority to take action--including Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk and Greater Minnesota editorial boards like the Mankato Free Press. Two common sense solutions that we should be acting on are criminal background checks and extreme risk protection orders to help keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people who pose a risk to themselves or others. Please stay active and involved to help me move Minnesota forward to help reduce the epidemic of senseless gun violence in our country.
State Contracts Passed, Pension Updates Remain
Last week the contracts for 30,000 state workers were finally ratified. The Governor signed the contracts immediately, which were negotiated and approved last year but were held up by Republican delays. I know we all value the thousands of Minnesotans who plow our roads, keep our water clean, monitor health emergencies, and respond when our state is in crisis, and I’m glad they will finally be guaranteed the contract they negotiated in good faith.
Also last week, the Senate passed legislation to strengthen the long-term viability of state pension plans. Those who have worked hard for a secure retirement deserve to have that retirement protected, and we need to act on this important issue this year.
Governor Dayton’s Final State of the State
On March 14th, Governor Dayton gave his final State of the State address. The speech was a reminder that when we invest in Minnesotans and build on what we value as a state, including a fairer tax system, we can achieve a lot. In the past eight years we’ve gone from deficits and borrowing money from our schools to budget surpluses, largely because we enacted the governor’s proposed 2% tax increase on wealthy Minnesotans in 2013. However, many of our residents struggle to improve the quality of their housing, education, healthcare and job opportunities. So I was pleased to hear the Governor call on all Minnesotans to be more inclusive and broaden their minds to accept people of all races, religions, and cultural backgrounds. You can read his speech here.
Ending Violence Against Indigenous Women
Earlier this month a bipartisan group of legislators unveiled their plan for Gov. Dayton’s task force to end violence being committed against women in our Minnesota Indigenous Native communities. Nationwide, Native women suffer violence at a rate 2.5 times greater than any other group. In some regions of Minnesota, Native women are murdered at rates more than 10 times the national average. You can read more about the details of that legislation here. I am co-sponsoring this legislation and attended the rally to support getting it passed this year.
Listening with other attendees as the names of missing and murdered Indigenous women, and victims of domestic abuse, are read aloud during a rally at the Capitol on March 28th.
Keeping Our State’s Drinking Waters Clean and Safe from Toxic Nitrates and Lead
Clean drinking water is basic to human health and safety. There are many areas of Minnesota where nitrate levels in our drinking waters are unsafe for human consumption. This is a preventable health risk that no Minnesotan should ever experience from drinking unsafe water. Recently, Governor Dayton announced a number of measures to reduce nitrates in drinking water. In addition, unacceptable levels of toxic lead contamination in our residential drinking water is finally being better recognized, along with lead that comes from lead paint and soil contaminated from leaded gasoline. Consider that, last year, more than 800 Minnesota children suffered childhood lead-poisoning that required intervention! My bill (H.F. 491) which would provide testing and reporting of toxic lead in both prospective renter’s and new homeowner’s houses, including their drinking water, is gaining momentum. I believe this legislation will finally get a hearing in the Jobs Committee where I’ve had it transferred because that committee includes housing issues and the Chair was very supportive last year. I’ve not been able to get a hearing on this childhood lead poisoning bill in the House Health Committees for the past three years, mostly because the MN Multi-Housing Association (the landlord lobby group) has opposed it. We’ve proposed some compromises and actually now would empower renters themselves to access testing for toxic lead in their homes, so we hope to move forward. It’s critical that our state’s drinking water and homes be clean and safe, for our families and for future generations.
Governor Dayton released his supplemental budget proposal, and you can read more details here. The House and Senate will work through his proposal and come up with their own supplemental budget proposals after the Spring break, starting next week. He has prioritized the needs of the most vulnerable members of our state, and I hope that our Republican leaders will incorporate some of these proposals into their own budget proposals and make compromise more likely.
Proposed Line Three Pipeline Dispute
H.F. 3759 would authorize the Canadian corporate giant, Enbridge, to immediately begin construction of its proposed pipeline to carry tar-sands oil from Canada to the Duluth port on its preferred route--without completing the current review process of the Public Utilities Commission which is due to be reported in June. The proposed legislation would bypass serious state and tribal concerns that have been raised about potential water contamination and destruction of the wild rice beds sacred to the Anishinabe peoples. I was able to contact Winona LaDuke who came to testify against it, along with many other tribal and environmental representatives, including MN 350 and MN Environmental Partnership. The Chair allowed full testimony and though it was overwhelmingly in opposition, the bill did pass and will proceed to the next step. Hopefully the Governor will be able to veto it if it reaches his desk.
Your 2018 Home Value Assessment
If you are a home owner, you received your home value notice from the Minneapolis City Assessor recently. You may have noticed the large amounts that home values have gone up and exclusions have gone down. These rapid increases are caused mostly by a very hot housing market, and I want to make sure you know about your tools to appeal the assessment you received from the city. We’ve sought legislative fixes for years to protect low-income home owners in our community who don’t have the ability to withstand the tax costs of rapid changes in home value. I’ll keep seeking legislative action to help protect low-income homeowners, and I wanted to share the following information provided from the City Assessor’s Office:
Value notices were mailed to property owners the week of March 19, 2018. This important notice provides 2018 property value and classification information. Note: The 2018 property value and classification are used to calculate property taxes payable in 2019.
The value notice provides information on appeal options, definitions of values and exclusions, and the property tax notice schedule.
How to Appeal Your Value and Classification (Minnesota Department of Revenue, Property Tax Fact Sheet 3)
Local Board of Appeal and Equalization information (Submission deadline is Friday, April 13, 2018, at 4:30 p.m.)
2018 Assessment Year Sale Map (online map)
Meeting with Minneapolis Arts Advocates visiting my office on a snowy day in March.
Joining my colleagues for an event on the front steps of the Capitol to celebrate LGBT Minnesotans.
Introducing the 2018 OutFront Legislative Briefing on issues facing Minnesota’s transgender community.
You can always contact me with questions or concerns at Rep.Karen.Clark@house.mn or 651-296-0294. For gavel-to-gavel video coverage of the House, here is a list of sources you can follow to stay updated on House committee and floor coverage:
Broadcast television schedule:
Broadcast television channels:
Webcast/mobile streaming schedule:
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