April is moving right along, even though it still seems like winter outside! We have one month left in session and a lot left to do. As we hit the third and final committee deadline this week, where most finance bills need to be passed out of their respective committees, the pace at the Capitol will quicken.
It is important to note that while many Omnibus Bills being heard in committee contain things we might not like, there are still many stops for those bills to be improved, amended, or completely changed before the last night of session. I will be working with my colleagues and the Governor to make sure provisions that would be bad for our communities are changed or removed.
Governor Dayton Urges Action
Last week, Governor Dayton sent a letter to legislative leaders outlining the need for a smooth process to end the session. He asked that items with bipartisan agreement--protecting vulnerable seniors, addressing the opioid crisis, making schools safer, and shoring up state pensions--be passed now. He also stressed that he would not accept shifts, gimmicks, cuts, or false financial assumptions that would undo the hard work done by DFLers to return fiscal stability to Minnesota after years of Pawlenty’s deficits.
There is no excuse for holding these important bills back simply so they can be used as a bargaining chip at the end of session. Minnesotans deserve swift action on these issues, not delays.
Delay in Securing Minnesota’s Pension System
Minnesotans are living longer, but that has made our expectations for Minnesota’s pensions not line up with reality. Thankfully we could be on the verge of shoring up our long term pension obligations. One bipartisan fix would require workers and employers to put in a bit more, and then payout slightly less to retired workers over time. This fix would go a long way as it cuts Minnesota’s long-term liability in half.
The Senate unanimously passed that bill several weeks ago and we’ve been awaiting action in the House. It’s looking more and more likely that House Republicans will use our state pensions as a bargaining chip for end of session budget negotiations. The people who work so hard for us as teachers, police officers, and fill so many of our state’s vital needs don’t deserve to be treated like hostages in some political game. Call Speaker Daudt and tell him our community doesn’t expect him to delay fixing our pension system just so he can trade our retirement security for special political favors. Call his Capitol office at 651-296-5364.
I’ll keep you up to date as the pension fix and budget negotiations move forward. You can read more about the bill in this MPR story.
Minnesota Values Project
Finally, a step back: In the months leading up to this year’s legislative session, my House DFL colleagues and I engaged in a dialogue with Minnesotans about our shared values and future. We facilitated challenging and thoughtful conversations all over the state, for people from all walks of life. Based on those sessions, we’ve put forward the Minnesota Values Project — our goals, principles, and commitments to the people of Minnesota. Our shared values bring us together and can serve as a guide for how we move forward and how we make Minnesota work better for all of us. Learn more and add your voice at www.minnesotavaluesproject.com.
Keep in Touch!
Feel free to respond to this email to let me know what your priorities are. As your voice at the Capitol, my top priority is to make sure that the people in our region have a chance to succeed. That means everyone has access to a quality education, a job that rewards hard work with fair pay, and a secure retirement.