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LEGISLATIVE UPDATE FROM REP. STEVE DRAZKOWSKI - DISTRICT 21-B

Friday, May 28, 2021

Greetings, everyone. I wanted you to know about some of the news here in St. Paul.

Work Group to Improve First Responder Benefits

Since 2019, I have been working to improve retirement benefits for rural firefighters and police officers. Sen. Mike Goggin and I have introduced legislation, testified in committee, and partnered with first responders to make this happen. This week marked an important step in accomplishing our goal.

On Tuesday, Governor Tim Walz signed SF 1712 into law. This legislation is known as the omnibus pensions bill. The 80-page bill contained dozens of provisions that govern how government employees are compensated.

The omnibus pensions bill was passed nearly unanimously by the Minnesota Legislature. The Senate voted 66-0 to pass the bill, and the Minnesota House of Representatives voted 131-2 to pass the bill. I voted in favor of SF 1712.

One of the most important sections of this bill involved the establishment of a supplemental state aid work group. This work group is tasked with putting together several options to change how police and firefighter benefits are allocated. As a result, this work group will have a real opportunity to improve the retirement plans that belong to police officers and firefighters.

Sen. Goggin and I worked very hard to make sure this provision was included in SF 1712. We are hopeful that the supplemental state aid work group will outline a clear, responsible strategy that ensures rural firefighters and police officers get what they deserve. To be clear, this work group only represents one step in an important journey. Nevertheless, I am optimistic about the work that can be accomplished.

I am grateful for Sen. Goggin’s consistent work on behalf of this goal. Furthermore, I am particularly thankful for the thoughtful advice and assistance that our local first responders provided in this effort.

Steve Drazkowski

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