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

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Legislative Update- January 22, 2019

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Dear Neighbors,

I hope that you were able to take some time on Monday to remember and reflect on the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I am always appreciative of this holiday and the opportunity to recommit myself to working towards justice and equality for everyone in our communities.

Things have been very busy at the Capitol! I introduced my first two bills of the biennium last week (summaries below). I also attended a public forum hosted by the League of Women Voters, started attending lots of committee hearings, and have been meeting with lots of constituents at my St. Paul office.

House File 113: Ramsey County Suburb Fine Revenue

This important legislation would direct money directly back to our cities! Tickets that are issued by cities generate court fines. The revenue from these fines is divided between the state and the city that issued the ticket. In every other part of Minnesota, cities get to keep at least 2/3 of that revenue, but suburban cities in Ramsey County only get to keep ½ of the revenue. This quirk in the law is unfair and was brought to my attention by a local city manager. My bill would make our Ramsey County suburban cities equal to the rest of the state, bringing more funds directly to our local communities.

Learn more about this bill—House File 113—here.

House Image

My daughter enjoying the colder winter weather at one of our local outdoor ice rinks.

House File 133: No Child Left Inside

We know that spending more time outdoors and being physically active is good for children’s development in multiple ways, but kids now spend more time each day staring at screens and less time being active. Trends also show that fewer young people are participating in outdoor activities like hunting and fishing. The No Child Left Inside bill would create a grant program through the Department of Natural Resources to fund outdoor environmental, ecological, and other natural resource-based programs for youth. As a parent and someone who loves being out in nature, I am excited about the opportunities that this bill could create for Minnesota kids, especially in areas where natural spaces and parks are harder to access.

Learn more about this bill—House File 133—here.

Federal Government Shutdown

The current federal government shutdown is the longest in our nation’s history, and many Minnesotans are feeling the impact. 6,000 federal employees in Minnesota are furloughed or working without pay. Thousands more are worried about accessing the services and support they rely on. My House DFL colleagues and I sent a letter to President Trump respectfully requesting he re-open the government and end the shutdown.

Here are some important things to know:

  • The United States Department of Agriculture has issued a one-month extension of SNAP payments. However, the benefits for February will be loaded onto recipients’ cards around January 20. If you receive SNAP benefits, please know that these food benefits will need to last until the end of February.
  • Federal funds help fund critical services including support for Medicaid, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, and Veterans Healthcare. Minnesota Management and Government is exploring methods to cover the funding gaps created by the shutdown.
  • Tribal communities have been disproportionately impacted by the shutdown, as many tribal members receive their healthcare and other important services through the federal government. The Walz Administration has begun consulting with tribes to best determine what assistance the state can provide.

These are just a few of the topics I’ve been working on over the past week. As always, feel free to contact me with any issues or concerns you may have.

Sincerely,

Jamie

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