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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Jamie Becker-Finn (DFL)

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Legislative Update

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Dear Neighbors,

Below are some recent updates on what I’ve been working on.

Background Check Consistency

Currently, there are over 30 places where current state laws are inconsistent regarding what information is included in background checks. This makes it difficult for the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and other agencies to conduct effective and efficient background checks related to employment and licensing, including daycare licensing and other jobs where the person would be working with children or other vulnerable populations.

The Department of Public Safety asked me to chief author HF 1847, a bill that will clear up those inconsistent areas in current law. Last week HF 1847 received hearings in both the Public Safety and Civil Law Committees. The bill successfully passed both committees and is now on the General Register (the last stop before a bill is scheduled for a vote on the House floor).

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Katherine Engler (Dept. of Public Safety), Ben Johnson (House Research), Rep. Becker-Finn

Honoring Veterans, Wrap Up of Veterans Affairs Committee

Last week, the House Veterans Affairs Committee held its last regular meeting of this legislative session. Here is an article that gives us a nice summary of the work our Committee completed, including hearing 42 bills.

We also honored two veterans who have devoted countless hours of their time advocating for issues that affect all veterans. Jerry Kyser, a constituent of mine, and Ralph Donais were both presented with proclamations signed by the Veterans Affairs Chair and the Speaker of the House. It was really great getting to know Jerry and Ralph throughout the session, and to hear from the many veterans groups and organizations that we have in Minnesota.

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Ralph and Jerry with their proclamations.

Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund

Last Thursday the House Environment Committee heard HF 1265, the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund bill (ENRTF). Created by constitutional amendment in 1988, the ENRTF is the portion of lottery dollars that are intented to protect, conserve, preserve, and enhance Minnesota's air, water, land, fish, wildlife, and other natural resources. A commission (LCCMR) made up of citizen experts and legislators reviews projects and recommends what to fund to the legislature.

The Republican author of the bill, Rep. Josh Heintzeman (Nisswa) and the rest of the Republicans on the committee moved to remove more than 20 of the 69 projects recommended by the bipartisan citizen commission, many of which were related to climate change and renewable energy. Citizen experts who served on the commission spent months reviewing projects and to see them stripped out on a party-line vote was disheartening. You can read more about the bill here in the Session Daily.

I also want to let you know that tomorrow, Thursday, March 23rd, we will be hearing the Environment & Natural Resources omnibus bill (HF 888) at 8:15a in Room 5 of the State Office Building. Less than 24 hours public notice was given of this hearing but hopefully those who are interested can still attend. If you would like to testify, please email the committee administrator at amy.zipko@house.mn

Here is a link to the bill as it will be presented tomorrow (the delete-all amendment) and a link to the corresponding spreadsheet.

It is an honor to be your voice on the issues that matter to you. Please don’t hesitate to contact me about any issues or concerns you may have.

Sincerely,

Jamie

P.S: Don’t forget to forward this update to your friends and family. They can sign up to receive these updates here.

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