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Legislative Update- October 5, 2021

Tuesday, October 5, 2021
Rep. Hanson

Dear neighbors,  

I hope this finds you well and with an opportunity to enjoy the beautiful season. Fall is a great time of the year to explore our state parks and trails and see the changing colors. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources compiles every year a “Minnesota Fall Color Finder” for our residents to check out which areas of our state are peaking. It’s a great resource to plan your next hike or adventure.

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The Minnesota DNR has also recently initiated a contested case hearing process regarding the permit to mine for PolyMet’s NorthMet mining project, as directed by the Minnesota Supreme Court. The hearing will examine whether the use of bentonite clay to reduce oxygen and water infiltration into the proposed tailings basin is a practical and workable reclamation technique that will satisfy the DNR’s reactive waste rule Minn. R. 6132.2200, subp. 2(B)(2). You can find the DNR notice of hearing here and the Minnesota Supreme Court ruling here.

 

Connected to Community

October is depression and mental health awareness month. On this Thursday, October 7 from 5-8 pm, SAVE (Suicide Awareness Voices of Education) and the Dakota County Alive & Thrive project will host a suicide prevention and awareness night at South Saint Paul High School. Let’s Talk About It is a free event open to anyone in Dakota County. It will include a local community resource fair, meal, keynote address from an international expert in suicide prevention, as well as local youth and adults who will talk on panel discussions about mental health and suicide in our community.

Earlier on October 7, the Greenway Ribbon Cutting will take place to celebrate the Robert Street underpass on the River-to-River Greenway. It will be officially unveiled with a ribbon cutting at 10:30 a.m.

It was a great honor to serve as the chief Booya judge this year at 33rd On The Road Again festival. I had fun celebrating the season with all of you! See you next year.

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Capital Investment Statewide Tour Begins

Once again, this biennium, I’m serving on the House Capital Investment Committee, the group of legislators charged with compiling the “bonding” bill, the investments our communities count on for public infrastructure like public safety facilities, water treatment plants, community centers, public colleges and universities and more.

Typically, every other year, the committee tours the state to check in with local communities about their requests of projects in need of state assistance. We kicked off our statewide tour earlier last month in Northwest Minnesota and have begun our second stop in Northeast Minnesota today.

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You can find a full list of the stops from the tour here. In the coming weeks, we’ll focus on the Southwest, Southeast, and Metro areas of the state. With interest rates low and our economy slowly recovering from the pandemic, now is the perfect time to make these critical investments and create good paying jobs for Minnesotans.

 

Special Session Update: It remains to be seen if we will be called back for a special session this fall. A key driver is continued disagreements on how the $250 million additional aid will be allocated to frontline workers who have been sacrificing their health and safety since the onset of the COVID-19. The Senate would prefer to limit the scope of recipients to health care workers and first responders only, leaving out thousands of others who kept us all going throughout the toughest parts of the pandemic, like the grocery store workers for example.

You can read a short, informative article from the National Conference on State Legislatures that discusses what’s at stake for states who can’t agree on how to spend CARES dollars and American Rescue funds in 2024.

Governor Walz has also requested that Senate Republicans attest they will not use the special session as an opportunity to play politics and fire Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm. He has not received that confirmation from Senate leaders. I’ll keep you posted on any special session developments.

Please reach out anytime with questions or input. You can reach me at rep.rick.hansen@house.mn or (651) 296-6828. 

It’s an honor to serve our communities at the State Capitol.

Sincerely,

Rick Hansen

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