Working groups will continue their work to finalize major policy and fiscal components that stay within the set budget parameters. House and Senate majorities will negotiate details of the budget agreement in the coming weeks with the opportunity for the public to weigh in. The House and Senate will continue to work until we are called in for a special session by Governor Walz, which could be as soon as early June.
Yesterday the House passed compromise policy language in the areas of Agriculture, State Government Finance, Veterans and Military Affairs Finance, and Elections, and Health and Human Services. A big win in the HHS policy compromise includes adding cannabis flower to the medical cannabis program in Minnesota. This will help lower costs for patients, and expand access to those who are eligible.
We also passed important legislation yesterday that improves mental health access and increases clean energy opportunities in Minnesota.
Minnesota will join a PYSPACT
The House approved legislation on a vote of 133-0 that would allow Minnesota to join PSYPACT, an interstate compact under which licensed psychologists may practice telepsychology and conduct temporary in-person psychology across state boundaries. At a time when mental health support is needed now more than ever, passage of this measure will help address psychologist shortages and get Minnesotans the care they need.
The House also approved the ECO Act with my support to improve energy efficiency and cost savings opportunities across the state.
The Energy Conservation and Optimization Act of 2021 updates the conservation and improvement program (CIP) statutes, providing utilities with flexibility to meet energy savings goals instead of conservation spending goals. The new focus on outcomes, instead of spending, will allow utilities to pursue more effective energy savings opportunities.
Some of the changes to CIP under the bill include allowing utilities to improve service by implementing efficient fuel switching and load management within CIP, establishing separate sections in statutes for investor-owned utilities (Xcel, Minnesota Power, Great River Energy, CenterPoint, and others) and customer-owned utilities (municipal and cooperative-owned) that better reflect their needs. The bill also expands opportunities for low-income households to benefit from energy-efficient improvements.
Federal Aid for Summer School Programing
The Governor and Lt. Governor announced today they will utilize and allocate $75 million from the American Rescue Plan dollars to fund summer school opportunities for Minnesota students to help them catch up academically and emotionally. This is a critical investment in our kids and our families and I applaud the Walz Administration for prioritizing Minnesota students. You can read my statement here.
Upcoming Virtual Town Hall Meeting
I hope you’ll be able to join Senator Torres Ray, Representative Greenman, and myself for an end of session virtual town hall meeting on Thursday, May 27 at 6:00-7:30 p.m. We’ll be streaming the event live on Senator Torres Ray’s Facebook page. You are welcome to submit questions ahead of time by responding to this email. Looking forward to connecting online!
Keep in Touch
Please continue to reach out anytime at email@example.com or 651-296-0173 with questions or input. Don’t hesitate to let me know how I can be of assistance.
Thank you for the honor of serving our South Minneapolis residents at the State Capitol.