As we work towards next week’s Easter and Passover break, my colleagues and I in the Minnesota House are putting the finishing touches on our proposal for the state’s budget. Here’s a quick update on the budget we’ve been crafting in committee, as well as legislation we’ve passed off the House floor.
Minnesota Values Budget
Last month, the House DFL released our proposed financial targets that committees would use to start building Minnesota’s budget for the next few years, and this week we’re finalizing that work in committees. Our proposed budget makes significant investments in education, healthcare, and Minnesota’s workers. The House finance committees are creating budget bills made up of multiple pieces of legislation brought forward by numerous members, these are often referred to as omnibus bills.
Though I’ll be working with my colleagues on all portions of the House budget, as a member of the Environment and Jobs finance committees, I was especially involved in their omnibus bills. With both committees having completed their budget work, here are some highlights of those bills.
- The House Environment and Natural Resources Budget includes $32.5 million in new funding to protect, restore, and enhance our great outdoors. Protecting Minnesota’s natural resources was a priority for the committee this session. To that end, the bill includes measures to strengthen protections for fish and wildlife and improve public waters, forests, parks, and trails. It also reduces the use of toxic chemicals and other pollutants that contaminate air, water, and soil and cause increased health risks.
- House Jobs and Economic Development has several provisions in its omnibus bill that lift up and strengthen Minnesota’s workers, including three pieces of legislation that the House DFL identified as priority goals for this session. The Paid Family Leave Act (HF 5) and Earned Sick and Safe Time (HF 11) are both highlights of this bill. Together, both bills ensure that Minnesotans are allowed time off work to care not only for their children and other members of their family, but also themselves. Another priority bill included in this budget is legislation to establish and enforce wage theft prevention (HF 6). With 39,000 Minnesotans experiencing wage theft in some form every year, this bill would protect wages and hold accountable employers who take advantage of their workers.
Both of these bills will serve as great starting points as we head into negotiations with the Minnesota Senate on the final budget bills. You can take a look at the specific investment proposals of the Environment bill here, and the Jobs bill here.
State of the State
Last week, Governor Tim Walz delivered his first State of the State Address. Speaking to the only legislature in the nation that isn’t controlled by a single political party, Governor Walz’s message on coming together to work for a better Minnesota was especially important as we look towards the final weeks of session. Centering his speech on the stories of real Minnesotans, the Governor focused on small business owners, working families, veterans, and more. You can watch the State of the State Address below.