As we begin the 91st Session of the Minnesota Legislature, I’m writing with a few updates for you.
New Role and Committees – Ways and Means
I’m grateful to be serving Crystal, New Hope and Plymouth for another two years in the Minnesota House. After the change of majority in the House this November, I am honored to have been appointed to chair the Ways and Means Committee by House Speaker Melissa Hortman for the 2019-20 Sessions. The Ways and Means Committee is responsible for setting spending targets designating the state public investment in all areas of state government, from education to roads and bridges.
In addition to chairing the Ways and Means Committee, I will be serving on the Tax Committee, the Rules and Legislative Administration Committee, and the Subcommittee on Legislative Process Reform. You can view all of the committee assignments here.
Minnesota Budget Forecast Release
In December, the Office of Minnesota Management and Budget announced a positive state budget forecast for fiscal years 2019-20. This forecast is an opportunity to help Minnesotans get ahead and contains good news in the near term, but there are many reasons to be cautious as we approach the future. We must be cautious about looming risks and continue our balanced approach. Minnesotans need us to come together to make our budget work for them.
Questions About the Legislative Process?
More Minnesotans than ever before are finding ways to get engaged in civic life and the legislative process, and the nonpartisan House Public Information Office has assembled a list of frequently asked questions about the legislative process. If you’re thinking about getting involved to advocate for an issue that’s important to you but you want to learn more, this is a great resource. Read more here.
You can also keep track of what is happening day-to-day at the Legislature by checking Session Daily, another great publication of the nonpartisan House Public Information Office. If you’d like email updates from Session Daily, sign up here.
New Laws on January 1st
A handful of new laws passed during the 2018 legislative session took effect Jan. 1, 2019. You can learn more about these new laws here.
Minnesota Awarded Early Childhood Grants
Minnesota has been awarded a $4.7 million federal grant to help build a more comprehensive early learning landscape for children and families. You can view the press release here. This is an important investment for the future success of our youngest Minnesotans.
Tips and Info: Energy Assistance, and Conserving Energy
Finally, you might be interested in some information provided by the state Department of Commerce. First, if you or someone you know is having difficulty paying for heating costs or furnace repairs, check out the Department’s page on the Minnesota Energy Assistance Program. The program can help with energy bills, utility disconnections or fuel deliveries, or advocacy with power companies and human service providers. For more energy saving tips, you can sign up for Commerce’s twice monthly Home Energy Tips here or see their complete Home Energy Guide here.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve our community at the State Capitol. I think we do best when we practice fair and balanced budgeting. We must also continue to prudently maintain our state budget reserve in preparation for the future. That includes making health care accessible and affordable; guaranteeing our kids have a first-class education; making higher education and job training a reality for Minnesotans; and keeping our communities safe.