Skip to main content Skip to office menu Skip to footer
Capital IconMinnesota Legislature

Legislative News and Views - Rep. Kristin Bahner (DFL)

Back to profile

Legislative Update: March 12. 2021

Friday, March 12, 2021

Having trouble viewing this? View it as a Web page.

Rep. Bahner

Dear Neighbors, 

I hope you are finding time to enjoy the nice Spring weather we have been blessed with in the recent weeks. We are welcoming a new business into our community that you can explore in Maple Grove! The MiniSota Play Cafe is now open for business in The Shoppes at Arbor Lakes. Let’s give them a warm welcome!

I’ve been incredibly proud to see Maple Grove grow and thrive during this unfortunate pandemic. You can find additional information about MiniSota Play Cafe here.

344
 
345

Strengthening Our Democracy

In the Minnesota House, my colleagues and I have joined together to push forward legislation to secure our democracy through a series of adjustments to our election structure. House File 9, introduced by Rep. Greenman, passed out of three House committees. This bill contains a good deal of democracy reform needed in our state, including ending dark money, instituting automatic voter registration, mailing absentee ballots to voters, expanding early voting, and establishing principles for redistricting.

This includes two stand-alone bills I carried last session and again this session, one on Automatic Voter Registration that ensures clean voter rolls with robust checks and balances to ensure that legal eligible voters are able to vote on Election day. This bill had its second hearing in the Committee on Transportation this week after previously passing in the State Government Committee. The other elections bill I am carrying ensures transparency in our elections, because no matter who is spending money, voters have a right to know who is trying to influence their vote, allowing them to make informed choices.

You can read about this conversation in greater detail here.

Advocating for Sexual Assault Survivors 

Last week, the House Public Safety and Criminal Justice Reform Finance and Policy Committee heard testimony on House File 289, a student-led bill that would grant immunity from prosecution to persons seeking emergency aid for a sexual assault survivor while underage or under the influence of certain controlled substances. In essence, we do not want fear of prosecution for a minor offense to hamper the reporting of crimes of violence.  Much like a Good Samaritan law we want to hold those doing the right thing harmless.

I am proud to sign on as a co-author of this legislation because sexual violence is not a matter we can take lightly, and this step is crucial to make Minnesota a safer place to live. Again this bill is what we know as a good samaritan bill, which strives to remove the hesitations that hold witnesses back from reporting, finding help, or testifying to these crimes. You can hear the full hearing footage here.

Pharmacy Board Legislation 

Prescription drug prices continue to skyrocket, and Minnesotans deserve solutions to ensure they can afford the medications they need to live healthy lives. A bill, authored by Rep. Kelly Morrison, to create a Prescription Drug Affordability Board is moving through the committee process. The board would include seven members appointed by the governor and lawmakers to set upper payment limits for the prices of drugs determined to be unaffordable. Read more in the StarTribune’s coverage of the new measure here.

During its hearing in the House Health Finance and Policy Committee, I shared some thoughts. You can watch the video recording here.

Update on Minnesota’s Economic Forecast

Twice each year, near the end of November and February, Minnesota Management & Budget (MMB) produces a forecast of the state’s General Fund revenues and expenditures for current and future bienniums. Based on the announcement, there is no longer an anticipated shortfall for 2022-23 fiscal year. The projected positive balance is $1.6 billion due to higher revenue forecast, lower state spending, and an increased balance for the current fiscal year.  

The projection of $1.6 Billion does not include items like inflation factors which are not included. What this means is that when we apply those obligations, the true surplus is somewhere around $230 Million. In short, this is good news on the economic front of our financial obligations and the revenue that feeds the critical programs on which we rely.

At the legislature, we will work to prioritize investments that put people first and create a better quality of life for all Minnesotans. We know this good news is welcome and that with the amount of families, students, and business impacted in the past year, we are also exploring critical investments to meet the needs of our communities and thrive moving forward.

Minnesota Vaccine Distribution Update

We just received great news!  Minnesota is expanding vaccine eligibility on Wednesday, March 10 as the state reaches its goal of vaccinating 70% of Minnesotans 65 years of age and older. At our current pace, Minnesota is now several weeks ahead of schedule. More than 1.8 million Minnesotans will become eligible to receive a vaccine beginning this week.

Now eligible

Phase 1b Tier 2 populations include: 

  • Minnesotans with specific underlying health conditions: Sickle cell disease, Down syndrome, those in cancer treatment or immunocompromised from organ transplant, oxygen-dependent chronic lung and heart conditions (COPD & CHF)
  • Targeted essential workers: Food processing plant workers
  • Minnesotans with rare conditions or disabilities that put them at higher risk of severe illness

Phase 1b Tier 3 populations include:

  • Minnesotans age 45 years and older with one or more underlying medical conditions identified by the CDC
  • Minnesotans age 16 years and older with two or more underlying medical conditions
  • Minnesotans age 50 years and older in multi-generational housing
  • Essential frontline workers: Agricultural, airport staff, additional child care workers not previously eligible, correctional settings, first responders, food production, food retail, food service, judicial system workers, manufacturing, public health workers, public transit, and U.S. Postal Service workers

All Minnesotans who have not received a vaccine should sign up for the COVID-19 Vaccine Connector to get regular updates on vaccine availability and eligibility. In some cases, health care providers or employers will have more information for patients or employees on vaccine availability. Minnesotans can also call the translation hotline at 833-431-2053 for assistance signing up over the phone.

vaccines

While we overcome the COVID-19 crisis and create a better Minnesota, I urge you all to stay in touch with me through e-mail, and help make our community a place for unity.

Thank you for the honor of representing our Maple Grove and Osseo residents and families in the Minnesota House! 

Sincerely,

Kristin Bahner

State Representative  

Recent News for Rep. Kristin Bahner