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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Erin Koegel (DFL)

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Legislative Update - May 17, 2019

Friday, May 17, 2019

Dear neighbors,

I hope you’re enjoying the beautiful spring weather we’ve had lately! It’s the final week of the 2019 legislative session, and I’m working hard to deliver a state budget that benefits our community and strengthens the entire state.

Now that the House and Senate have passed their entire budget, members of each chamber are meeting in conference committees to resolve differences between the two proposals. There’s a conference committee for every section of the budget, and five members from the House and five from the Senate serve on each one. It’s their responsibility to compare the two versions of the budget and compromise on a bill that will be sent back to both bodies for a vote.

Transportation Conference Committee

Minnesotans should be able to travel quickly and safely to work, school, the grocery store, and other locations. However, our roads, bridges, and transit are currently in need of significant repairs and improvements. I’m proud to be one of the members of the Transportation Conference Committee that’s finding solutions!

Fixing our transportation system requires honest investments, not shifts and gimmicks. The House budget raises the gas tax by one nickel for four years. That revenue would go directly to improving Minnesota roads. Our budget also increases aid for local governments to help them keep up with maintenance costs. Blaine’s transportation funding would increase by $1,530,248 over the next four years. Aid for Coon Rapids would increase by $1,622,994, while Spring Lake Park’s would be $155,092 higher.

I’m hopeful that my colleagues and I can reach a consensus that will make our roads, bridges, and transit safe and reliable for years to come.

E-12 Education Conference Committee

While I don’t serve on the this conference committee, I’ve been following it closely because I know how important our local schools are to the community. E-12 education is one of the highlights of our budget! It invests in every student in every public school by increasing per-pupil funding by three percent in 2020 and another two percent in 2021.

This funding would help schools support students inside and outside the classroom. The House budget would also help taxpayers since many districts facing budget deficits rely on operating levies and bond referendums to close gaps. It provides more support for special education services, student health and safety, and post-secondary opportunities as well.

Under the House budget, funding for the Anoka – Hennepin School District would increase by approximately $543 per student over the next two years. Schools in Spring Lake Park would receive about $556 more for each student. Here’s how much total funding schools in our area would receive under the House and Senate budget:

School District

House Budget 2020

Senate Budget 2020

House Budget 2021

Senate Budget 2021

Anoka – Hennepin

$11,378,251

$2,981,417

$21,155,269

$4,500,605

Spring Lake Park

$1,902,560

$455,847

$3,287,728

$681,108

Maternal Mental Health Month

While the budget is our chief responsibility, my colleagues and I are still considering other legislation. Last week, the House unanimously approved my bill (HF 1300) to establish May as Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month! One-third of mothers experience symptoms of depression or similar disorders during or after pregnancy, but many cases go unreported due to misunderstanding. This legislation would help raise public awareness of the issue.

Improving Safety for Flaggers

My bill (HF 1408) to improve safety in construction zones also passed the House with overwhelming support! It requires drivers to follow the instructions of flaggers in work zones, protecting drivers and vulnerable construction workers.

Your input is an important part of creating the state budget! Please share your thoughts with me, your state senator, and other legislators.

Sincerely,

Erin Koegel
State Representative

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