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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Jennifer Schultz (DFL)

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Legislative Update – April 9, 2021

Friday, April 09, 2021

Dear Neighbors,

Lawmakers have returned to the Capitol from a one-week recess in observance of Easter and Passover, and we’re advancing our House DFL budget through committees. The budget contains investments to address Minnesotans’ difficulties now, and will help people thrive once the pandemic is over.

Human Services Budget

This session, I’ve had the extremely rewarding job to chair the House Human Services Committee. Our committee has completed work assembling the new Human Services budget bill with $191.58 million worth of new support for people with disabilities, programs for older Minnesotans, food support, economic help for struggling families, assistance for those experiencing mental illness and substance abuse, and much more. The bill improves people’s lives in many different ways, making significant progress to improve the social determinants of health and addressing our vast racial and economic inequities.

Among the bill’s highlights:

  • $68.3 million to increase the rates and wages of personal care attendants
  • $13.61 million for a cost-of-living increase for those enrolled in the Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP)
  • An income limit increase for those who access the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
  • $49.8 million in direct care and treatment operating adjustments
  • $25 million for a homelessness package that includes emergency shelter, emergency services grants and long-term homelessness support services
  • $1.33 million to implement the Families First Prevention Services Act, which changes delivery of child welfare services to strengthen families, prevent maltreatment, and addresses other conditions that lead to out-of-home placement
  • A requirement for all child protection workers to complete training on sex trafficking and sexual exploitation of children and youth and the addition of sex trafficking to various child protection statutes and maltreatment reporting

The legislation will be considered next week in the House Ways and Means Committee. A summary of the bill is available here.

Amplifying Voices of Survivors

Minnesota’s sexual assault laws are full of loopholes and roadblocks that make it difficult for survivors to seek justice. One instance made the news recently when the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled the definition of “mentally incapacitated” doesn’t include people who become intoxicated after voluntarily consuming alcohol or drugs. This session, lawmakers are working to ensure victims of sex crimes are heard and accountability can be delivered.

I’m proud to support a bill to comprehensively update Minnesota’s sexual assault laws. In addition to addressing the voluntary intoxication loophole the Supreme Court has brought to light, the legislation also creates a specific new crime to prevent sexual extortion, in which a perpetrator uses employment, housing, or immigration-related issues to extort sex from someone, contains new protections for children, creates a new, felony-level offense for nonconsensual conduct and increases penalties for repeat offenders.

Many of these provisions came directly from a survivor-led working group that thoroughly examined the current laws and recommended changes. Minnesotans who share their stories of sexual assault and abuse deserve to be listened to, and we’re working to ensure they can receive justice.

Share Your Thoughts: London Road Reconstruction

The Minnesota Department of Transportation is planning to invest over $8 million into the reconstruction of London Road. In addition to repaving, MnDOT is exploring other potential updates including traffic lights, roundabouts, and improved pedestrian crossings and other steps to improve walkability.

Work isn’t set to get underway until 2025, but in preparation for the project, MnDOT is seeking input from local residents. Please take the agency’s London Road Survey here and share your input.

Please continue to stay in touch with your viewpoints, ideas, or if I can ever be of assistance. Thank you for the honor to work as your public servant.


Jen Schultz
State Representative

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