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

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Legislative Update - May 10, 2017

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Dear Neighbors,

There are less than two weeks left before the legislature must adjourn on May 22nd. While Governor Dayton and legislative leaders have been negotiating an overall budget compromise, we experienced a troubling setback yesterday. Here is an update from the Capitol:

Status of Budget Negotiations

The House and Senate Republican majorities are still far apart from Governor Dayton in setting an overall budget target. In addition to the numbers, Governor Dayton outlined more than 609 policy provisions, such as getting rid of all-day pre-K and clean water protections that are unacceptable to him. Not all of the policy provisions are bad but adding that many items makes it that much harder for the House Republicans, Senate Republicans and Governor Dayton to reach agreement.

Unfortunately, late Monday night the House and Senate Republicans abandoned negotiations and started sending bills to the House and Senate floors for votes without further public hearings. Governor Dayton has said he will veto these bills in their current forms. The bills do not reflect any compromises that are currently in progress.

In particular, I am disheartened by the Republican majorities pushing through an Education Finance bill that fails to properly fund public education. It is our Constitutional duty to support our public schools and this bill would not even keep pace with inflation. This would result in real cuts for Minnesota schools, including our area school districts of Roseville, White Bear Lake and Mounds View. At a time when our state has a budget surplus, fully funding our public schools should be our top priority.

I will continue to be engaged with our legislative leaders and Governor Dayton as we work for compromises that prioritize the things Minnesotans value in order to build a better future for our state.

Environment and Natural Resources bill

One of the bills passed last night was the Environment and Natural Resources conference committee report. Like the previous House omnibus bill, this conference committee report would roll back environmental protections for our air and water, and underfund the Department of Natural Resources and Pollution Control Agency. The bill also fails to address the downward trends in our game and fish funds that provide funding for enforcement, habitat and wildlife management, as well as monitoring of things like invasive species, the spread of emerald ash borer, and chronic wasting disease in deer.

Here is a link to my speech on the House floor yesterday:

I wore a blaze orange hat to draw attention to the ridiculous provision in the bill that would allow for “blaze pink” hunting gear instead of the standard, safer blaze orange.

Measles Outbreak – Including Ramsey County

As of today, 50 people have been identified as having measles in our state. I recently learned that two of those cases are in Ramsey County, one in Roseville and one in Little Canada. The Minnesota Department of Health estimates that approximately 7000 people may have been exposed to this devastating virus during this outbreak. After learning this information, my family decided to have my two-year-old vaccinated early with the second dose of the MMR vaccine. The Department of Health encouraged me to share the following information:

How is measles spread? The most common way that measles is spread is through the air when someone breathes coughs or sneezes. To be exposed to measles, you have to be in the same location as an infectious person. Measles virus can stay in the air for up to two hours after an infected person leaves an area.

Who is at risk?

Most people in Minnesota cannot get sick from measles because they have been vaccinated or because they have had measles before. However, in recent years measles vaccination rates have declined in some communities and groups – often due to fears related to misinformation about vaccine risks. This decline in vaccination rates increases the risk – not only for those who choose not to be vaccinated, but also for those who cannot be vaccinated due to their health status (for example, a weakened immune system) or because they are too young.

How can I protect myself?

Measles can spread very easily among unvaccinated people, so the best way to protect yourself and your community is to make sure everyone who is able to do so receives the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine. Contact your health care provider to confirm that you and your children have received the MMR vaccine. You can also request vaccination records by calling 651-201-3980 or visiting MIIC Immunization Records Requests (www.health.state.mn.us/divs/idepc/immunize/registry/immrecords.html).

Link to daily measles outbreak website: http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/idepc/diseases/measles/

Join the Minnesota Youth Council

There’s a great opportunity for young people in 8th-12th grades who are passionate about issues facing youth in Minnesota today. The Minnesota Youth Council is now accepting applications for 2017-18 in all 8 Congressional Districts!

Students who join the MYC will hear testimony and vote on real bills as a member of the only legislatively mandated voice of youth to a state legislature in the country. This is a great opportunity to get involved, practice organizing around issues that matter to you and honing your policy analysis skills. You can get more information and find the application here.

Again, it is an honor to be your voice at the Capitol. Please do not 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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