For more information contact: DJ Danielson 651-296-8879
The atmosphere at the State Capitol is again buzzing, with the 2018 legislative session getting underway this week. We have a lengthy to-do list, and a relatively short 13-week session to finish our work. I assure you I’ll be fighting hard every day to ensure each student has access to quality education, people can find jobs that provide fair pay for hard work, and seniors can retire securely and with dignity. We have some true opportunities this session to build a state that works better for everyone, and I hope we can come together to deliver these results.
One of these opportunities is a robust public works bill, making investments in infrastructure across Minnesota. Our colleges and universities, clean water infrastructure, and other state assets are all in need of repair. There’s also a tremendous need for affordable housing across the state, and a bill like this can provide more places for Minnesotans to call home. While interest rates are still low, we should make these investments now while we have the capacity to do so. Gov. Dayton recently released his proposal, which focuses investments in key infrastructure, and you can read that here.
The impact of last week’s tragic events at Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida remains fresh in everyone’s mind. I’m sad and angry that events like this continue to occur in our nation’s schools, a place where young people should be able to show up every day in the comfort of classmates and teachers, and not have to worry about being vulnerable in a situation like this. On Tuesday, hundreds of advocates from Moms Demand Action rallied at the Capitol in support of common sense gun safety regulations. Yesterday, hundreds more from Protect Minnesota also swarmed the Capitol. Every time the doors to the House Chamber opened, we could hear their voices echoing, urging action on this issue. Changes to these laws are overdue and it’s unacceptable the Legislature hasn’t had a recent discussion about them. Until this happens, I hope everyday Minnesotans, like those who visited yesterday, continue to keep the pressure on and ensure their voices are heard.
This session I will continue efforts to expand affordable child care throughout the state. It’s disappointing that last session, the Republican majority failed to allow any meaningful progress addressing this crisis, and thousands of families remain on waiting lists. Further, child care providers struggle with paperwork burdens and a lack of available training. Many are barely able to keep the lights on because of low reimbursement rates. The lack of action last year came despite a budget surplus and a bipartisan commitment to fix the problem. A subcommittee was even established to focus on the issue, and I had the opportunity to serve on this panel. We toured the state, talking to parents, child care providers, local officials and others to hear their stories and ideas. After all this, nothing was accomplished. Families all over the state deserve better and I hope this session those across the aisle can deliver more than just rhetoric.
One puzzle to solve this session will be how Minnesota should conform to changes in the recently passed Trump tax bill, and at what level. Far and away this bill benefitted big corporations and the wealthiest among us more than working families. We also need to revisit the Minnesota tax changes passed during the 2017 session which likewise benefited the richest and corporate special interests, including Big Tobacco. As I see it, with costs of things like child care, college tuition, and health care premiums still out of reach for many families, Big Tobacco needs to take a back seat. Any of the federal changes Minnesota conforms to must be aimed at providing fairness for all Minnesotans, not further enriching those who have already been big winners under the federal legislation.
Please stay in touch with me throughout the session. I’m here to represent you, so whenever you have an idea or feedback for me, don’t hesitate to call me or send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you.
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