Greetings from the House, where the best news of the week might be the House and Senate passed $7.8 million to provide funding for public safety assistance costs.
The bill provides $1.5 million in funding to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety for the Emergency Management Assistance Compact to reimburse out-of-state law enforcement who traveled to the Twin Cities to provide assistance for the Chauvin Trial. An additional $6.3 million is provided for State Patrol Trooper and DNR Conservation Officer expenses related to civil unrest.
The bill passed 107-25 and I am pleased House Republicans were unanimous in voting “yes” for this funding because we support law enforcement.
It's been concerning to see the actions of activists and even city leaders toward law enforcement officers who are simply trying to do their jobs. For instance, National Guard members were chased out of a labor hall in St. Paul and the Minneapolis Park Board voted to kick the State Patrol out of a shared workspace they used for meals, rest and bathroom breaks (credit to Mayor Frey for vetoing that move).
With the Legislature set to adjourn May 17, budget work remains the focus in St. Paul. The House and the Senate each have finished bringing up omnibus finance bills for votes on preliminary approval. The last of which to come before the House is a package related to health, human services, and early childhood (H.F. 2128) and it was approved Monday.
While there are some good provisions in that House bill, there are major reasons for concern because it continues to expand government-run healthcare and imposes burdensome new mandates that drive up the cost of health care for Minnesota families. As with the case with each and every other finance bill, I remain hopeful provisions lacking bipartisan agreement are stripped out during the conference committee process so the versions that come back for final approval warrant broad support.
On a final note, it appears the governor will be loosening some of the capacity restrictions he placed on Minnesota businesses and venues. I hope the movement is substantial so we can take real steps toward fully reopening our state so workers and families can recover from the setbacks incurred during the last year.
I will be back with more news from the House soon. Until then, the lakes are thawed, things are greening up outside and it is a beautiful time of year up here in God’s country. The fishing opener is just a couple of weeks away and many of us are looking forward to that.