After many months of hard work, my colleagues and I have finished passing a new two-year state budget! Our bipartisan budget makes strong investments in education, protects health care access, delivers targeted tax cuts, and supports working families. Here are some of the highlights:
- Secured annual two percent increases to per-student funding that will prevent teacher and staff layoffs, larger class sizes, and higher property taxes
- Helped schools meet the needs of all students with new funding for special education services
- Extended pre-K opportunities for 4,000 of our youngest learners
- Preserved access to affordable health care for 1.2 million Minnesotans
- Approved a comprehensive plan to protect seniors and vulnerable adults that requires assisted living facilities to get licenses and strengthens protections for residents by creating enforceable safeguards
- Addressed the opioid epidemic with new funding for treatment, prevention, and public safety provided by fees on the drug manufacturers and distributors who helped create this crisis and continue to profit from it
- Increased accountability and transparency in drug pricing by getting tough on pharmaceutical middle men who drive up the cost of medication
- Passed the first income tax cut in almost two decades
- Made the filing process easier by doubling the standard deduction
- Put more money in the pockets of Minnesotans by cutting taxes on seniors, working families, and small businesses
- Ensured that workers receive an hour’s pay for an hour’s work by enacting the toughest wage theft prevention and enforcement laws in the country
- Expanded job training opportunities that help Minnesotans develop their skills and start businesses
Two of my bills passed as part of the state budget and have since been signed into law by the governor! One establishes May as Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month to raise public awareness of common symptoms of depression or similar disorders that many mothers experience during or after pregnancy (HF 1300). The other improves safety on Minnesota roads by requiring drivers to follow instructions from flaggers when in construction zones (HF 1408).
It was an honor to attend a signing ceremony for my work zone safety bill this morning!
While I’m proud of our bipartisan accomplishments, there’s more work to be done. I’m looking forward to continuing that work next session!
I always appreciate hearing from community members, so please share your ideas for how we can keep Minnesota moving forward together.