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

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Legislative Update - April 19, 2018

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Dear Neighbors,

We now have less than five weeks left in the legislative session. Hopefully, it will actually feel like spring by the time we adjourn on May 21st! It’s been a busy time at the Capitol as we’re approaching the third and final committee deadline, where most finance bills need to be passed out of their respective committees. We’ve had some really long days this week going through omnibus bills and amending them.

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Fighting for Clean Water Protections

On Monday, the Minnesota House passed a Republican-authored bill 69 to 57 to prohibit the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) from implementing proposed rules for nitrogen fertilizer use. These rules, authorized under 1989’s Groundwater Protection Act, would protect Minnesota’s water resources by minimizing nitrate pollution. Far too many Minnesotans are facing unsafe drinking water, so it’s of vital importance that in areas highly susceptible to pollution there are rules for how and when to apply fertilizers.

Thankfully, Governor Mark Dayton delivered a letter indicating he’d veto the bill.  

Coming up next Monday, we will be debating House File 3280 regarding the amount of sulfate allowed in wild rice waters. The bill completely stops the Pollution Control Agency from enforcing any kind of standard. Similar to the nitrogen fertilizer bill, it ignores long term effects and allows unlimited water pollution.

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DNR Holding Public Meetings Regarding Statewide Deer Plan

After Reps. Hansen, Lee and I questioned the decision to schedule zero of 35 statewide meetings in Ramsey or Hennepin Counties, the DNR has now scheduled a meeting for this coming Monday in St. Paul! If you deer hunt or just care about the wild deer herd as a natural resource, please attend to ask questions and share your feedback. More info here.

What: DNR Deer Plan Meeting

When: Monday, April 23 from 6 to 8 p.m.

Where: DNR Headquarters, 500 Lafayette Road. St Paul

It’s an open house style meeting, so stop by when convenient!

Delay in Securing Minnesota’s Pension System

We are finally on the verge of shoring up Minnesota’s long term pension obligations. One bipartisan fix would require workers and employers to put in a bit more, and then pay out slightly less to retired workers over time. This fix would go a long way as it cuts Minnesota’s long-term liability in half.

The Senate unanimously passed that bill three weeks ago and we’ve been awaiting action in the House. Republican majority leadership has not given any reason for the delay in moving this bipartisan bill forward. The people who work in service to our communities - teachers, police officers, plow drivers, and many more – need us to address this issue this year.

I’ll keep you up to date as the pension fix and budget negotiations move forward. You can read more about the bill in this MPR story.

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Moms Demand Action Day

People who support Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America visited legislators this week to share their support for common sense legislation like universal background checks and gun violence prevention orders. A recent poll shows that 89% of gun owners favor background checks for all gun purchases.

I’m committed to continuing to work on these issues. Working on complicated issues is part of my job and I will continue to pressure House leadership to allow public testimony and real legislative action regarding gun violence.

Clean Up Days

As spring finally arrives, local municipalities hold annual clean up days. These are organized to help residents get rid of items that can’t go in the trash and require special handling, such as appliances, tires, electronics, mattresses and furniture.

Roseville’s Clean Up Day will be on Saturday, April 28th

Vadnais Heights’ Clean Up Day will be on Saturday, April 28th

Shoreview and Arden Hills’ Clean Up Days will be on Saturday, May 19th

Rally for Public Lands

On Wednesday, April 25th I’ll be speaking at the Rally for Public Lands in the Capitol Rotunda. Minnesotans cherish our public lands as they’re the backbone of our opportunities to hunt, fish and pursue outdoor recreation. These places provide clean water, spaces to roam, and contribute to healthy communities.

If you’re interested in attending, please see more info from Backcountry Hunters and Anglers.

Water Action Day

I hope you can attend the second annual day of public action and advocacy for clean water protection on May 2. The all-day event will include complimentary breakfast and lunch, trainings on the issues, and a rally in the Capitol Rotunda. Learn about the most important water issues facing Minnesotans today, meet with legislators, or join the rally! Come for all or part of the day — whatever works for you and your schedule.

Learn more on the event page or sign up now.

Town Hall Meeting

You’re invited to join me for a Town Hall Meeting on Saturday, April 28. We’ll meet at Little Canada City Hall (515 Little Canada Rd E) from 9:30-11:00 a.m. It will be a good opportunity to share your priorities and get an update on the major issues left to address this legislative session. All constituents are welcome, and I hope to see you there!

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I’ve had the privilege of serving with Rep. Laurie Pryor on the Veterans Affairs Committee and am proud to be a co-author on a new bill to recognize Air Medal Veterans.

As always, it’s an honor to be your voice at the Capitol as we fight to make sure the things our community values are a priority.

Sincerely,

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