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

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Legislative Update - May 7, 2019

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Dear neighbors,

There’s been a lot of progress since my last legislative update! After many long days and late nights, my House colleagues and I have approved our entire budget. In my last e-update, I talked about our budget proposals for taxes, environment and natural resources, and veterans (which is included in the state government budget). I am pleased that our deadlines continue to be met so that the conference committee process can move forward and session can adjourn on time. Here are some of the highlights of the other legislation that we’ve passed recently:

E-12 Education

Our E-12 education budget would invest in every student in every public school. It increases per-pupil funding by three percent in the first year and another two percent in the second. Funding would increase by approximately $563 per student in Mounds View schools. Roseville Area Schools would see around $644 more for each student, and White Bear Lake’s funding would increase by about $797 per student.

Increased funding would help support students inside and outside the classroom. Minnesota schools would be able to improve student health and safety, avoid teacher layoffs and larger class sizes, and expand opportunities for students to earn college credit and develop skills through career and technical programs. Here’s a comparison of how the House and Senate education budgets would affect the districts in our area next year:

School District

House Budget

Senate Budget

Mounds View

$4,231,020

$915,816

Roseville

$2,972,193

$617,088

White Bear Lake

$4,883,593

$674,044

A fact sheet with more information is available here.

Health & Human Services

Too many Minnesotans struggle to get the care that they need when they need it. Our health and human services budget would help. This legislation would strengthen health care for all Minnesotans by:

  • Lowering premiums and the cost of prescription drugs
  • Strengthening protections for elders in assisted living facilities and nursing homes
  • Offering Minnesotans an option to buy into a plan similar to MinnesotaCare
  • Raising the reimbursement rate for staff at group homes
  • Establishing a Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Prevention Program (my bill!)

A fact sheet with further details is available here. If you’d like to learn more, you can listen to the latest episode of the Minnesota Values Podcast here.

Agriculture & Housing

The agriculture and housing budget would help all Minnesotans access healthy food and safe, affordable housing. I’m particularly excited that this budget contains several provisions to address the outbreak of chronic wasting disease (CWD). It includes my bill to improve fencing around captive deer facilities, strengthen inspection requirements, and provide more surveillance and management for this disease.

Transportation

Minnesota didn’t fare well on our most recent infrastructure report card from the American Society of Civil Engineers. They gave our roads a D+ grade, bridges a C, and transit a C-. It’s clear that this is a problem that needs to be addressed. Our transportation budget would raise the gas tax over four years to generate the funds we need to fix our roads, bridges, and transit.

Local governments would receive much-needed aid that would go directly towards transportation in the area. Roseville’s transportation funding would increase by $880,283 over four years, while Shoreview’s would be $621,972 higher. Aid for Little Canada and Vadnais Heights would increase by $285,551 and $292,453 respectively.

A fact sheet about the transportation budget is available here.

Higher Education

775,000 Minnesotans are currently facing student loan debt that totals $27.1 billion. The cost of college is too high for too many. That’s why the centerpiece of our higher education budget is a tuition freeze for all two- and four-year public colleges and universities. For the next two years, tens of thousands of Minnesota students wouldn’t pay a penny more in tuition.

A fact sheet for this budget is available here.

Almanac at the Capitol

I was invited to discuss Bde Maka Ska and the importance of place names live on public television last Friday! On Thursday, the House approved an amendment I introduced that would restore the name of Bde Maka Ska. The legislation will continue on as part of the environment omnibus bill.

You can read more about history of the lake in this article from MPR. Here’s a clip of the segment on Almanac.

Appointed to Environment & Natural Resources Conference Committee

Now that the House and Senate have both passed their budgets, members from each will meet in conference committees to settle their differences. I’m honored to be one of the five House members chosen for the Environment and Natural Resources Conference Committee and eager to start our work. Please stay in touch as we enter negotiations and come closer to the end of the session.

Sincerely,

Jamie

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