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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Laurie Halverson (DFL)

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Legislative Update - May 9, 2019

Thursday, May 09, 2019

Dear neighbors,

My colleagues and I approved the final pieces of the House budget last week. Now that the Senate has passed their budget as well, members of the two bodies have begun to meet in conference committees to resolve our differences.

In my latest update (available here), I provided summaries of the E-12 education and jobs and energy budgets. Here’s more information about several of the others:

Health & Human Services

When I ask folks in our community about their concerns, many of them talk about health care. As a member of the Health and Human Services Division, I’m proud of the budget that we’ve put forth and excited that several of my bills were included. This legislation aims to help Minnesotans get the care they need when they need it by lowering the cost of prescription drugs, expanding high-quality coverage options, protecting elders in assisted living facilities and nursing homes, and creating emergency access to insulin.

The Protect Access to Contraception Act, one of my bills that was included, would ensure that women have access to contraceptives, counseling, and follow-up services at low or no cost. Another bill I introduced would provide residents of Dakota and Olmsted Counties with job training and opportunities to develop their skills. The budget also incorporated my legislation to add e-cigarettes to the Minnesota Clean Indoor Air Act and direct settlement money paid by tobacco manufacturers to prevention programs.

A fact sheet with more details about the budget is available here. The Health & Human Services budget is also the topic of the latest episode of the Minnesota Values Podcast. Tune in here if you’d like to learn more.

I was appointed by Speaker Hortman to serve on the Health and Human Services Conference Committee. This committee consists of five members of the House and five members of the Senate who are charged with working out the differences between the House and Senate versions of the health and human services bills. I’m also a member of the conference committee that is working on legislation to provide prevention, treatment, and recovery resources to Minnesotans impacted by the opioid epidemic.

Last Thursday, I had the opportunity to share some of the great provisions in the health and human services budget with my House colleagues.

Taxes

I voted in favor of the House tax plan that would cut taxes for more than two-thirds of Minnesotans and simplify the filing process for everyone. The bill closes corporate loopholes, which provides revenue that will be directly invested in our schools and freezing tuition at all two- and four-year public colleges and universities.

You can read more about the tax bill and see a breakdown of the numbers here.

Transportation

Transportation is on the mid of many Minnesotans and for good reason. The American Society of Civil Engineers gave Minnesota’s roads a D+ grade on their most recent infrastructure report card. Our bridges received a C, and transit was awarded a C-. That’s unacceptable. Minnesotans deserve to be able to go to work, school, or the grocery store safely and quickly.

Fixing Minnesota roads, bridges, and transit requires honest investments. The bill raises the gas tax by a nickel a year for four years to help local governments maintain and improve infrastructure. The gas tax is constitutionally dedicated exclusively to fixing roads and bridges in Minnesota, so taxpayers know exactly where this investment goes. This budget would increase transportation funding for Dakota County by $15,643,237 and provide $2,719,841 of additional funding for the City of Eagan over the next four years.

A fact sheet with more information is available here.

Eagan News: Holz Farm Spring Festival

The annual Holz Farm Spring Festival will be held on Sunday, May 19. People of all ages will enjoy the activities and demonstrations and visiting the historic farm. There will be barnyard animals, hayrides, planting demonstrations, vintage tractor displays, butter churning, and more. It’s a great opportunity to gather with neighbors and learn more about it was like to live in Eagan from the Great Depression to World War II.

Tickets are $2 and can be purchased online at www.discovereagan.com or onsite.

When: Sunday, May 19 from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Where: Holz Farm. 4665 Manor Drive, Eagan, MN 55123

Veterans Admitted Free to Historic Fort Snelling

Starting Memorial Day weekend, Historic Fort Snelling will offer all military veterans and up to five accompanying family members free admission. Many military members served at Fort Snelling from 1820 through the end of World War II. This National Historic Landmark is the site of a wide range of history. More information is available at www.mnhs.org/fortsnelling.

It’s an honor to serve as a voice for our community at the Capitol. Please continue to share feedback, questions, and ideas.

Sincerely,

Laurie Halverson
State Representative