I hope everyone is staying safe and warm. Things may be slow-moving in this weather, but work is certainly moving fast at the State Capitol. We’re a month into our 2019 legislative session, and there are a few things that I’d like to update you on.
In addition to the committees I serve on, I’m proud to announce my appointments to the Legislative Coordinating Commission, the Legislative Budget Office Oversight Commission, and the Legislative Commission on Planning and Fiscal Policy. The Legislative Coordinating Commission serves as the umbrella organization for legislative commissions, joint agencies, and other boards. It coordinates the legislative activities of the Minnesota House and Senate. The Legislative Budget Office Oversight Commission was established last year to review the work of the Legislative Budget Office and make recommendations regarding the office’s ability to fulfill its duties. Finally, the Legislative Commission on Planning and Fiscal Policy provides and in-depth analysis of actual and projected state government revenues, expenditures, and tax expenditures. It is also provides oversight of on-budget and off-budget spending.
House Floor Vote
Minnesota is a great state, but work still needs to be done so that opportunity for some can become opportunity for all. I'm committed to working toward a better, more equitable future for our state, and that’s why I’m excited to tell you about the first bill we voted for on the House floor this session.
HF 51 seeks to address the racial disparities that have long existed in the housing history of our state. If signed into law, it would allow homeowners to formally denounce restrictive covenants on their home titles. Restrictive covenants were used in the past to prevent minority communities from moving into residential neighborhoods, and this bill would allow homeowners to attach a formal document to their home title repudiating the racist language. I’m happy to say that the bill passed the House unanimously.
Paid Family & Medical Leave
All Minnesotans should be able to work and care for their loved ones, and themselves. That’s why I support legislation to ensure Minnesotans have access to paid family and medical leave. This legislation is a priority for the House Majority, and was included as one of the “Top 10” bills introduced this session.
The Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program would ensure up to 12 weeks of partial wage replacement for medical leave, including pregnancy, as well as 12 weeks for family leave to take care of a child or other family member. The benefits of such an initiative are many, including economic security for families, improve parent and child well-being, boosted employee productivity and morale, and reduced turnover for businesses. This bill is the right thing to do, and I’m honored to be a co-author.
Tax Filing Season
I have been receiving some questions about the 2019 tax season, and I’m hoping to address some concerns. I understand that this year is especially confusing since there were several federal tax changes that went into effect recently. However, the good news is that the Minnesota Department of Revenue has updated its forms to reflect current Minnesota law regardless of the changes, so you should feel comfortable filing your state taxes at any point during this filing season.
Although no changes will be made for the state taxes this year, going forward I hope to work with my colleagues on the House Taxes Committee to craft laws that will make taxes fair for hard-working Minnesotans.
Thank you to Patrick, a high school senior who stopped by to discuss his senior year project on redistricting. Following the 2020 Census, the state legislature will have the constitutional responsibility of redistricting Minnesota’s Congressional districts, as well as Minnesota’s Senate, House, and Metropolitan Council districts. You too can learn more about the redistricting process here.
Stay In Touch
We had a great Town Hall last month with Rep. Mike Freiberg and Sen. Ann Rest. Thank you to everyone who came out during the cold weather with their comments on the legislative process. If you weren’t able to attend, we already have another one on the calendar!
Our next Town Hall will be this Saturday, February 16, at 9:30am. We'll be holding the event at the Crystal Community Center, and I'll again be joined by Rep. Mike Freiberg and Sen. Ann Rest. I hope to see you there.