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Legislative Update from Rep. Anna Wills
This has been another busy week of conference committees at the Capitol. Below is a brief summary of some of the bills we passed off the House floor, and some details regarding the House and Senate budget target agreement that was announced today.
House and Senate Budget Target Agreement
Today House and Senate Leadership announced their budget target agreement, which are the numbers that the joint conference committees will use in their final negotiations. Below are the targets for each budget area; specific provisions in each area will be worked out by conference committee members within these parameters.
It was the hope of House and Senate leadership that Governor Dayton would participate in these budget target negotiations so that a three-way agreement could be announced today. Unfortunately, Governor Dayton and his office have chosen to not be involved in budget target and conference committee negotiations up to this point, despite invitations from both the House and Senate for his input.
Abortion Clinic Safety and Funding
On Monday, the House passed two bipartisan bills dealing with abortion clinic health and safety measures and taxpayer funding for abortion.
The first provision, House File 809, would prohibit taxpayer funding of abortions. It is estimated by the Minnesota Department of Health that 43% of abortions in our state are taxpayer-funded, in spite of the fact that a significant portion of our electorate are morally opposed to abortion. There are currently 33 other states, as well as the federal government, that have similar laws in place already. Again, this bill had bipartisan support.
The second bill passed on Monday, House File 812, helps ensure the health and safety of women who decide to get abortions in Minnesota. Current law in Minnesota does not require women’s health clinics that provide abortions to be licensed. HF812 would require centers performing ten or more abortions per month to be licensed and inspected by the Minnesota Department of Health according to the industry’s own clinical standards. It is essential that we hold these clinics to a minimum standard of safety, sanitary conditions, and health practices to ensure the women seeking their help are protected, and I’m glad that this bill had bipartisan support.
Children in Foster Care Informed of Their Right to an Attorney
On Thursday, we voted on HF1702, a bill that would require the State to inform children over the age of 10 in foster care of their right to an attorney during a juvenile proceeding. Children are already given the right to an attorney in Minnesota; this bill simply mandates who must inform these children that they have that right, and when they must be told.
It is so imperative that children know their rights when they have been removed from their homes, because they may be too scared to ask. This bill is known as “McKenna’s Law,” in honor of the brave young lady, McKenna Ahrenholz, who advocated for this bill and testified regarding her own experience in foster care and the courts system.
This bill was passed unanimously by the House, and we are hopeful that Governor Dayton will sign it into law shortly.
In the Community
The MN Valley Men’s Choral is offering active members of the military and veterans discounted tickets at $5 tonight through Saturday, April 28 – 29. The concert will be held at Grace Lutheran Church, 7800 150th Street West, Apple Valley, MN. Cost for non-military members of the public is $10.
Thank you to constituents Kelly and Sam for visiting me to share your story about how Gillette Children's has helped your family.
Thanks Jenny and daughter Clementine (and their aide Allison) for sharing how Gillette Children's helped your daughter Scarlet who recently passed away. What a tragic loss for this family, but Gillette's gave Scarlet a longer, better quality of life than she otherwise would have had.
Thank you to constituent Ron for visiting me at the Capitol to discuss aviation legislative priorities.
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State Representative, District 57B