The House finished passing our budget proposals on Monday! You can find more information about the last two bills we passed – the Public Safety & Judiciary budget and the Health & Human Services budget – below.
Conference Committees Start Meeting
Now that the House and the Senate have put forth budget proposals, we can start comparing the two plans. Legislators from both parties have been appointed to “conference committees” that will meet over the next few weeks. Members of each joint committee will try to find a compromise and craft a final bill that can be sent back to each chamber for a vote.
I was appointed to the Environment and Natural Resources Conference Committee earlier this week! I look forward to working with my colleagues to protect our clean air, water, and lands. Together, we must seize this opportunity to ensure current and future generations of Minnesotans can enjoy the great outdoors.
Improving Public Safety
We passed the Public Safety, Criminal Justice Reform, Judiciary, and Civil Law budget last week. In addition to the police reform and accountability measures that I’ve mentioned in several previous emails, this legislation strengthens Minnesota’s criminal sexual conduct laws. The Minnesota Supreme Court recently ruled that under current law, the definition of “mentally incapacitated” doesn’t include people who become intoxicated after voluntarily consuming alcohol. Our bill addresses that issue so survivors of sexual assault can seek justice. Other measures aim to decriminalize poverty, reduce racial bias, and ensure that every Minnesotan receives equitable treatment under the justice system. I will continue supporting these important changes.
Expanding Access to Healthcare
All Minnesotans deserve access to affordable, high-quality healthcare, and House DFLers are working to make that vision a reality. On Monday night, we approved a Health and Human Services budget that would expand healthcare coverage and pave the way for a public option. The bill strengthens our healthcare system by making prescription drugs more affordable and codifying important Affordable Care Act (ACA) provisions – like those that protect people with preexisting conditions – into state law. It also addresses significant racial and economic disparities, with a focus on maternal health. I was happy to cast my vote for this important legislation.
Rent and Energy Assistance Available
If you or someone you know is struggling to make ends meet due to COVID-19, you may be eligible for assistance. For example, the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency can help low- and moderate-income Minnesotans catch up on overdue rent and utilities. To learn more about eligibility, renters can visit renthelpmn.org and download the renter checklist. Resources are available for landlords as well.
Assistance is also available for Minnesotans who are behind on heating bills. The state’s Energy Assistance Program can help people with utility payments, disconnections or fuel deliveries, and repairing or replacing heating systems. You can find more information on the Minnesota Department of Commerce’s website.
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Please continue sharing your questions, ideas, and feedback and let me know if I can be of assistance. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-296-6828.