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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Michael Nelson (DFL)

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Legislative Update - February 21, 2019

Thursday, February 21, 2019

On Tuesday, the Governor released his two-year budget proposal. His historic investments in infrastructure and transportation, education, and health care will strengthen our communities and increase economic prosperity for Minnesotans. While there are over a thousand Minnesota bridges and hundreds of miles of roads that are in poor condition, Minnesotans are losing money in gas, lost time, and car repairs. House DFLers and Governor Walz support common-sense investments to keep Minnesotans safe and ensure that nothing like the I-35W bridge collapse ever happens again.
All Minnesotans deserve access to high-quality, affordable health care. We will work to provide Minnesotans with an additional health care option and work to make affordable health care a reality in Minnesota.
The Governor also committed to making Minnesota the “Education State,” and reiterated his support for closing the funding gap in schools and making sure every child has a good teacher and access to the tools they need to compete in today’s economy. 
Election Security
After careful consideration in four House committees, today on the House Floor we debated and passed my bill to unlock federal money for election security. The bill still has to be passed by the Senate, but given the fact that there is bipartisan support and great urgency for this money to be appropriated, I’m hopeful it will be approved by the Legislature.  
In March 2018, the federal government appropriated $6.6 million to Minnesota for a grant under the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) to support state efforts to secure elections infrastructure against cyber threat, and we are increasingly more likely to see more attacks on the election systems from foreign governments and hackers.
The grant is already available, but current law prohibits the Secretary of State from using the funds until it is approved by the Legislature. This bill would unlock those existing dollars so we can modernize the statewide voter registration system, improve accessibility, train local election officials, and implement security improvements for election systems.
Earned Sick and Safe Time
Workers who don’t get paid time off to care for themselves when they are sick may feel pressured to come in to work anyway to avoid losing wages or even their jobs. That can lead to the spread of illness and other workplace problems, and it can cause workers to make a difficult choice between earning a living and caring for themselves or others.

HF 11 would require employees to earn, at a minimum, one hour of paid, earned sick and safe time for every 30 hours worked, up to 48 hours per year.
You can find KSTP’s coverage here.
Sovereignty Day
On Monday the House welcomed leaders of all 11 Tribal Nations in Minnesota to the House Floor. This meeting was historic – never before has the Legislature invited all Tribal leaders to join together for an open conversation like this. I appreciated the opportunity to learn, listen, and start a conversation about how we can better work together with Minnesota’s sovereign nations.

As always, please reach out if you have any questions, comments or ideas.
Michael Nelson
Representative, District 40A