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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Mike Freiberg (DFL)

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Legislative Update - April 17th, 2017

Monday, April 17, 2017

Dear Neighbors,

I hope everyone was able to spend some quality time with friends and family over the past weekend. The legislature was recessed last week for Easter and Passover. We are back at the Capitol tomorrow where House and Senate Majorities will be working on budget compromise bills to send to Governor Dayton for consideration. In order to finish session on time, the legislature must adjourn by May 22nd.

Minnesota has a $1.6 billion budget surplus and a stable economy. Unfortunately, the majority is choosing to prioritize tax cuts for corporations and the rich and well-connected instead of investing in the areas that have made Minnesota’s economy strong.

Here is a summary of some of the major budget bills passed this session:

  • While the Public Safety Bill does contain some good provisions, it also contains more controversial provisions to increase penalties for peaceful protests, and to allow private prisons to operate in Minnesota—allowing corporations to profit off of our justice system.
  • The Transportation Bill does not include sustainable, long-term funding for roads, bridges, and transit. The bill would result in a 40% reduction in regular bus route service, and doesn’t include funding for light rail.
  • The E-12 and Higher Education Bills underfunds our public schools, which would result in teacher layoffs, larger class sizes, less resources for students, and rising tuition. It also eliminates funding for optional, free pre-kindergarten for thousands of students across the state, shortchanging our students.
  • The Environment & Natural Resources Bill rolls back environmental protections and cuts funding that protects our natural resources, endangering Minnesota’s lands, waters, air, and wildlife.
  • The Health and Human Services Bill cuts $600 million from the HHS budget, putting our entire health care system in jeopardy—including vital services Minnesotans depend on. This is especially reckless at a time when we face serious federal uncertainty surrounding health care.
  • The Tax Bill contains tax cuts favoring corporations and the rich, including a $161 million estate tax cut for the wealthiest Minnesotans and a business property tax freeze. The bill excludes other measures to help hardworking families such as the Working Family Credit, the Child and Dependent Care Credit, and Local Government Aid (LGA) to reduce property taxes for homeowners and renters.

Civics 101 Community Forum

I will be joining Rep. Keith Ellison, Golden Valley Mayor Shep Harris, County Commissioner Linda Higgins and Rep. Peggy Flanagan for a discussion on civic engagement, what services are available to you as a Minnesotan, and different ways to involve yourself with local, state, and national government. The forum is Wednesday, April 19th starting at 6:30 p.m. and will take place at 7800 Golden Valley Rd, Minneapolis, MN 5542. You can find more details by clicking here.

Lanesboro Dam

Last week I joined Rep. David Bly, Rep. Rick Hansen, Rep. Fue Lee, and Rep. Tina Liebling at the Lanesboro Dam to highlight the need for a statewide bonding bill. With mere weeks left in the legislative session, the majority has yet to put forward a bonding bill for infrastructure projects across Minnesota, including the Lanesboro Dam where you can literally see the leaks in the dam.

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Last year, the majority waited until the final hours of the legislative session to unveil their billion dollar bonding package which failed in a chaotic end of session. Without action on a bonding bill this year, the costs for infrastructure projects across Minnesota continue to increase. While interest rates remain low and Minnesota continues to have a AAA credit rating, delaying longer will continue to increase costs and drive up future obligations.


Please contact me with any questions or concerns.



Mike Freiberg

State Representative