Last night, after a series of extremely long days, the House passed its final budget bill, finishing ahead of deadline. The Senate is currently completing its own budget bills. Differences will be negotiated in conference committees over the next two-plus weeks, before the session ends by the constitutionally-mandated deadline of May 20.
In my latest e-update (available here), I provided profiles of the E-12, Higher Education, and Tax bills. Below are profiles of several of the others, starting with a personal highlight.
Budget Details: Public Safety & Judiciary
For years, Minnesotans have demanded that we do more to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people. I’m delighted to let you know that the two gun-safety measures that I’ve championed for years passed the House for the first time, as part of the Public Safety & Judiciary budget bill. Criminal background checks and extreme risk protection orders are in widespread use in other states and will help make our communities safer. It’s frustrating that Senate Republicans have declared these common-sense measures “dead on arrival” and refused to even give them a hearing despite broad public support. Governor Walz, my House DFL colleagues, and I will continue to push for them.
Among the other highlights of the bill are a series of steps to improve our state’s response to sexual and domestic violence. As a prosecutor outside of the Legislature, I’ve focused on these crimes, and I’m grateful that the voices of survivors are increasingly being heard in policymaking about them.
Budget Details: Health & Human Services
The budget bill for Health & Human Services (HHS) would reduce the cost of prescription drugs, put Minnesota on the pathway to a public health-care option, protect elders from abuse and neglect, and address surging rates of youth tobacco use. A fact sheet with more information on the bill is available here. For even more details in a different format, check out the latest episode of the Minnesota Values Podcast here.
The highlight of the bill for me is the portion that focuses on early childhood. These provisions parallel the Great Start for All Minnesota Children Act, the signature legislation of the committee that I chair. They include support for prenatal care, including the use of doulas, and home visiting, a voluntary service that helps to stabilize families at risk. In connection with the E-12 budget, they would expand access to early care and learning, helping to address the state’s opportunity gap and child care shortage. A press release on the full Great Start budget is available here.
Budget Details: Jobs & Energy
The Jobs & Energy budget contains a number of exciting provisions. On the jobs side, it would establish a program for paid family & medical leave and earned sick & safe time, policies
that would give workers the time to take care of themselves and their families. It would also strengthen protections against wage theft. On the energy side, it would help to conserve energy, save money, and combat climate change. It would provide utility consumers with new opportunities to switch to cleaner electricity sources and would commit our state to 100% clean energy by 2050.
At a rally on Monday for gun-safety legislation.
As we head into conference committees, events will move quickly. Please continue to keep in touch.
State Representative, District 64B
439 State Office Building