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

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Legislative Update - April 5, 2019

Friday, April 5, 2019

On Wednesday, Governor Tim Walz delivered his first State of the State address. He laid out his vision for our state by using real stories about the struggles and strengths of Minnesotans. He emphasized the importance of bipartisan cooperation between the two parties, and the House and the Senate, to focus on serving Minnesotans.
Help America Vote Act Update 
I hope that bipartisan spirit carries over to the Help America Vote Act negotiations. Secretary of State Steve Simon and I have continued to fight for full funding in order to secure our elections, though Republicans have been hesitant to agree, or even show up to our negotiations. This is an issue that has historically had broad bipartisan support, clearly demonstrated by the fact that every single other state has begun using money allocated from the Federal Government.
You can learn more from a recent KARE11 segment here.
Minnesota Values Budget
Budgets are more than just spreadsheets and numbers -- they’re a reflection of our values and morals. The Minnesota Values Budget invests in a state that works better all of us. It is based on the fact that Minnesotans care about their neighbors and want to see them succeed just as much as they do their own families.
Learn more by reading MPR’s coverage here.

The House DFL budget will strengthen communities across the state through investments to improve education opportunities, support our families, and increase economic prosperity. This week, House committees began announcing the budget’s major components. Here’s an overview of some of the proposals introduced so far:
  • The Health and Human Services Committee announced a proposal to lower the cost of health care, address the rising cost of prescription drug prices, increase the quality of coverage, and give patients and their doctors more power over their care.
  • The Early Childhood Committee announced a bill that would make permanent the School Readiness Plus program – preserving access to preschool for 4,000 children; increase investment in early learning scholarships, with a focus on birth to age three; and prevent suspension and expulsion of children from preschool programs.
  • The Higher Education Committee announced a budget to reduce student debt and freeze tuition at Minnesota’s colleges and universities.
  • The Transportation Committee announced a bill that prioritizes better access to transit for Minnesotans who need to get to work, school, the doctor’s office, and engage in civic life. It will also fund investments for our roads and bridges. The American Society of Civil Engineers rated Minnesota’s roads as “D+” on their most recent infrastructure report card. Bridges received a “C” and transit was awarded a “C-.” Because of this, the average Minnesotan loses an average of $1,000 each year due to car repairs and lost time. Unless we make these investments, it will only get worse.
 As Chair of the State Government Finance committee, I will announce our budget on Sunday.
Thanks for reading, and feel free to reach out with questions and comments about the budget or plan for the rest of the legislative session.
Michael V. Nelson