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

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Final Stretch of Session

Friday, May 15, 2020

Dear Neighbors,

We are rapidly approaching the end of session and while we have already passed many important bills, we still have a lot of work to do. We have had a lot of bipartisan success, but there is still a very wide gap when it comes to providing the resources Minnesotans need during this crisis. Here is some of what we’ve accomplished in the final stretch of the session. 

COVID-19 Economic Security Act 

Last week, the House voted to pass the COVID-19 Economic Security Act. Here are some of the primary provisions of this critical bill, including: 

  • $100 million in assistance for Minnesota renters, homeowners, and landlords. In addition to support for rent and mortgages, qualified applicants can receive help paying utility bills and property taxes;
  • 15% temporary pay increase for Minnesota’s personal care assistants (PCA), who are serving Minnesotans with disabilities, our seniors, and other vulnerable populations. In addition to the increase, PCAs can now be paid for 310 hours of services per month, up from 275;
  • $15 million in a new Distance Learning Broadband Access Grant Program to provide students with the equipment necessary to access learning materials on the internet and reimburse school districts for costs to provide broadband access;
  • $55 million to the Small Business Emergency Loan Program at the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), including specific funds for our smallest businesses and minority-owned businesses.

House Economic Agenda

Opiate Response Bill

Today, we passed HF 4601 which appropriated money from the Opiate Epidemic Response Account to fund local organizations that are fighting this epidemic on the ground level. These investments allow these organizations to continue to do the hard work they’ve been doing in providing our communities with the resources they need. Our opiate crisis is still as present and prevalent as in years past, this bill helps our state stay vigilant and strong to protect against addiction and tragedies that result. You can read the entire bill here.

Tobacco 21  

Over the weekend, the Minnesota House approved?legislation?that raises the age for Minnesotans to purchase tobacco, tobacco products, electronic delivery devices, and other nicotine products, to 21. The federal government passed Tobacco 21 into law in December of 2019, which meant the minimum age required to legally purchase tobacco products increased from 18 to 21 for the entire country. Some retailers, however, have expressed confusion and insisted they will not comply until they see the change made at the state level. This legislation will help reduce youth tobacco use and keep Minnesota kids healthy.? 

MFIP Payment Boost for Low Income Minnesota Families  

On Saturday, we also passed legislation to boost payments for low-income working Minnesotans in the Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP) or Diversionary Work Program (DWP). The bill would release $13.85 million in federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funds to provide one-time payments of up to $500 per household for families enrolled in MFIP or DWP, programs that help Minnesotans move to financial stability through work. Families that participate in these programs have limited access to COVID-19 assistance. They aren’t eligible for unemployment insurance, and many won’t receive the federal government’s COVID-19 stimulus relief checks.


House DFL Releases Jobs and Local Projects Bill

The Jobs and Local Projects Proposal or “bonding” bill, has been revised from last year and is advancing in the House. Our bill invests in Minnesotans in a time when it’s needed most, and contains $2.524 billion in renovations, repairs, and replacement of public assets like higher education institutions, clean water infrastructure, correctional facilities, roads and bridges, parks and trails, municipal buildings and more. There are several great proposals for our district that will go a long way towards supporting our community, including:

  • $16,282,000 for Anoka-Ramsey Community College;
  • $700,000 to improve the Coon Rapids Recycling Center;
  • $1,500,000 for improvements to East River Road;
  • $2,250,000 for a trail and pedestrian bridge on the Coon Creek Regional Trail
  • $14,100,000 for the rail grade crossing separation at Hanson Boulevard;
  • $2,500,000 and $837,000 to improve and preserve the National Sports Center and complete the 80 acre north campus;
  • $29,545,000 for a new State Emergency Operations Center and Homeland Security and Emergency Management Office in Blaine;
  • and $3,246,000 to improve 105th Avenue.

The language of the proposal to be considered is available here. A spreadsheet of included projects can be found here

Ratifying State Contracts for State Workers 

This week, the House voted to?ratify state employee contracts. Approximately 50,000 state employees are covered under these contracts which are currently in effect. These state employees include nurses on the front lines of COVID-19, corrections officers, cleaning and sanitation workers, public health workers doing the essential job of testing, monitoring, tracing, and mitigating COVID-19 in Minnesota; and staff that create and administer the conduits of federal and state resources to affected Minnesotans, including small businesses, hospitals, schools, and families.? 

Furthermore, the costs for the labor agreements were included in last year’s state budget. Failing to ratify these contracts will mean pay cuts for essential workers, putting their wages below employees in similar jobs in the private sector.


Governor Makes New Announcement Tonight 

Governor Walz will address Minnesotans live today at 6:00 p.m. to discuss the state’s next steps to address COVID-19. Tune in to the live stream on the governor's YouTube Live page here.

Keep in Touch:

You can contact me at or (651) 296-5369. I appreciate the opportunity to serve our district in the legislature and look forward to hearing from you.


Erin Koegel

State Representative

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