I hope you and your loved ones had a safe and enjoyable Fourth of July weekend. When I sent my last update, my colleagues and I were debating our final budget bill on the House floor. I’m happy to report that we passed the bill and completed the state budget the following morning.
Support for Workers and Small Businesses
The final bill we passed this session, the Tax bill, will benefit workers and small businesses impacted by the pandemic, including those who received unemployment insurance (UI) benefits and federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. Thanks to the targeted tax cuts we approved, approximately 560,000 Minnesotans will be eligible for a refund. If you received UI benefits or a PPP loan, keep an eye out for mail from the Minnesota Department of Revenue.
The Tax bill also provides $6 million worth of grants for meat processing businesses in South St. Paul. This financial support, which I championed as HF 2501, will help local businesses cover the cost of relocating and make improvements. I’m very pleased it was included.
I met with Pao Yang, the owner of Long Cheng, and Rep. Fue Lee, who worked hard to include this provision, in South St. Paul recently.
MPCA Commissioner Resigns
In the House, we adjourned after the entire budget was approved and sent to Governor Walz for his signature. Senate Republicans chose to stay in session so they could oust state leaders who were appointed by Governor Walz. Commissioner Laura Bishop, the head of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), resigned on Tuesday before the Senate had a chance to force her out. I worked closely with Commissioner Bishop and found her to be a highly-qualified leader who worked hard to protect Minnesotans and our environment. Her departure is a loss for our entire state.
Senate Republicans targeted Commissioner Bishop because they refuse to acknowledge that climate change is real. When we were negotiating the Environment and Natural Resources budget, Commissioner Bishop and I found they refused to include any policies or initiatives that included the words “equity,” “environmental justice,” or “climate change.” It’s a shame this happened to a dedicated public servant. I wish Laura Bishop the best in her future endeavors.
Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund Update
The new budget appropriates nearly $132.27 million from the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund (ENRTF) and invests it in 165 projects that will help preserve and enhance our air, water, land, and wildlife. House DFLers successfully fought to support projects the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR) recommended this year and the critical projects Senate Republicans blocked funding for last year. The funds we delivered will be used for research, restoration efforts, aquatic and terrestrial invasive species management, and more!
The LCCMR met earlier this week to discuss the results of the legislative session and continue planning for the future. We’re currently vetting 189 proposals for environmental projects. In August, we’ll decide which ones we should recommend to the Legislature. More information about the projects we’re considering and those we’ve recommended in the past is available on the LCCMR’s website.
Stay in Touch
Please continue sharing questions, ideas, and feedback! Legislators won’t be back at the Capitol until September, but your input is always valuable. You can reach me by email at email@example.com or by phone at 651-296-6828.