We completed our initial work of crafting and approving the House’s proposal for Minnesota’s budget last week. The focus is now on negotiating with our colleagues in the Senate, who have followed a similar process but produced a very different product. Here’s a quick update on our work in St. Paul, including highlights that are especially beneficial for our community.
Protecting Minnesota’s Workers
As a member of the Jobs & Economic Development Committee, I helped craft our Jobs & Energy budget that takes significant steps in protecting Minnesota’s families and investing in our workforce. This budget contains several top priorities for the DFL House, including Paid Family & Medical Leave and Earned Sick & Safe Time, which allows our workers to take time off to care for their children, family members, or themselves. We’re also protecting our workers from wage theft, ensuring an hour’s work equals an hour’s pay, and holding accountable employers who cheat employees out of their hard-earned dollars.
A provision in this budget I’m especially proud of is the funding for the Helmets to Hardhats program. Adopted from a bill I authored, the funding for the Helmets to Hardhats program would help to recruit, retain, and support our service members and place them in apprenticeships in the construction trades.
Investing in Students
Every child deserves a world-class education, regardless of zip code, and our E-12 education budget invests in students, schools, and communities across the state. This bill was a high priority of the House DFL, and the first budget bill we approved this year. Highlights on the bill include:
- Increase in per-pupil funding, 3% in 2020, 2% in 2021
- Protected access to Pre-K programs for over 4,000 children
- Expansion of courses for students to earn college credits and develop technical skills
We’re investing in our students so that they’re supported inside and outside the classroom, ensuring that communities across the state have access to resources such as mental health, housing, and the community services needed to be successful in school.
Patients over Profits
For too long drug companies have brought in record profits as Minnesotans struggle to afford their medication. We’re fighting to make sure the state of Minnesota is leveraging its purchasing power to lower drug prices, and to ensure that those who can’t afford their life-saving medication have access to those drugs. Our Health and Human Services budget puts patients ahead of profits, expanding access to quality affordable health care and prescription drugs.
Preserving our Environment
The House Environment and Natural Resources budget is another that I was able to help craft in committee. This budget takes on long-term environmental issues such as combatting the emerald ash borer, managing aquatic invasive species, and controlling the outbreak of chronic wasting disease. We’re also planting one million trees over the next four years and investing in the management of our parks and trails, as well as our fish and wildlife.
The great outdoors is one of the greatest resources Minnesota has to offer, and it’s incredibly important that we preserve and protect it for future generations.
The Minnesota Values Budget
Minnesotans deserve a state that lifts us up, invests in our communities, stands by our values, and protects our most vulnerable. Our budget isn’t perfect, but it would do its job of building a better, stronger Minnesota that moves us forward. In addition to what I’ve mentioned, other highlights of our budget include:
- A tuition freeze for Minnesota’s public colleges and universities
- Tax reform that provides actual reform for Minnesotans, including tax cuts for seniors and working families, and tax credits for farmers, small businesses, and veterans
- Access to mental health counseling and services for our farmers and rural communities
- Establishes a transportation funding stream for Minnesota’s smallest cities
- Protects and improves our elections process
Keep In Touch!
Feel free to reach out to me with any questions or comments on the legislative process. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or at (651) 296-4308. I look forward to hearing from you.