On Sunday, Governor Walz and leaders from the House and Senate agreed on an outline for a two-year state budget. Conference committee chairs and members have worked feverishly the past few days to reach compromises on all of the final budget bills. Beginning Wednesday, public hearings were held to walk through what was included in each of the bills. The Governor has now called a special session to begin today, and I am hopeful our state budget will be passed very soon.
If you would like to read what is included in the budget bills, texts and spreadsheets for each of them are available here.
In addition to negotiating agreements for each area of the budget, my colleagues and I also passed several important pieces of legislation:
Protecting Firefighters and Children
I’m incredibly proud to report that my bill to protect firefighters and children from unnecessary toxic chemicals (HF 359) was signed into law by Governor Walz on Wednesday! It bans furniture, fabric, and children’s products that contain flame retardants, which do little to stop fires and release cancer-causing chemicals into the air when they burn. Last week, the bill received broad, bipartisan support in the House and Senate.
The Vadnais Heights Press and Shoreview Press recently published my column about what the legislature is doing to support firefighters and their important work. You can read it here.
Stronger Protections for Elders and Vulnerable Adults
We also passed a comprehensive plan to ensure that Minnesotans who live in assisted living facilities receive proper care and respectful treatment. The bill requires licensure for assisted living facilities, clarifies the rights of residents, prohibits deceptive marketing practices, and protects residents from retaliation for reporting mistreatment (HF 90). I voted in favor of these reforms because I believe they’ll provide greater safety, dignity, and peace of mind for Minnesota’s elders and vulnerable adults and their loved ones. I was proud to be a co-author of this important legislation that was signed in to law by Governor Walz this week.
Addressing the Opioid Epidemic
In 2017, the opioid epidemic took the lives of 442 Minnesotans. The number of deaths continues to grow, as do the costs to Minnesotans. After years of intense debate, the House and Senate have agreed on a plan to address this crisis by investing in prevention, treatment, and recovery with funding from opioid manufacturers (HF 400). This bill will provide communities with the resources they need and hold drug manufacturers accountable for their role in starting this public health crisis. This bill also has Governor Walz’s signature.
Environment and Natural Resources Budget
Over the past few weeks, I have served on the Environment and Natural Resources Conference Committee to work on a final omnibus bill. After intense debate and negotiation, we reached a compromise on Tuesday and held a public hearing Thursday to walk through what was included in the end product. Here is a link to the video of that hearing.
I was heartened that we were able to take the first steps towards addressing the outbreak of chronic wasting disease (CWD) impacting our state’s wild deer herd. The budget provides more funding for disease management and developing a better diagnostic test that can be used on live animals. It also increases oversight and regulations for captive deer facilities, including several proposals I have worked on. It also includes my proposal to establish an adopt-a-dumpster program that would help hunters dispose of carcasses safely.
Several of my other bills were also adopted, including No Child Left Inside. This legislation funds outdoor environmental, ecological, and natural resource-based programs for Minnesota youth, particularly kids who wouldn’t otherwise have access to these opportunities. Please stay tuned for more details about this budget and other areas.
District 42 Town Hall
Please join Rep. Kelly Moller, Sen. Jason Isaacson, and me for a town hall meeting on Saturday, June 8th. We’ll talk about what got done during the 2019 legislative session and what we hope to accomplish in the future!
When: Saturday, June 8th from 10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Where: Shoreview Library, 4560 Victoria Street N., Shoreview, MN 551126
Please stay in touch during the remaining days of the legislative session!