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

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Regular Session Comes to a Close

Friday, May 21, 2021

Dear Neighbors,

Our regular session came to an end Monday, however, our work for the year is far from over and we are headed towards a special session. Before the regular session ended leadership reached a major agreement on budget targets for this year. This will set the guardrails for the rest of our negotiations for the year. With these targets we have the opportunity to make significant investments throughout the state that will benefit families, students, workers, and our local businesses. We will continue to meet and negotiate in conference committees to iron out the more difficult policy details. Details on the overall budget agreement and what the special session will look like can be found here.

Cannabis  Legalization

Last week we passed HF 600, a bill which legalizes and regulates adult-use cannabis in Minnesota, while expunging records of people convicted for nonviolent offenses involving cannabis.

I am proud of the bill we passed. It has come to fruition after years of hard work and careful planning. I know that by ending the prohibition on adult-use cannabis Minnesota will be able to heal the harm caused by prohibition. This bill takes into consideration the injustice caused by prohibition while ensuring that legalization will protect the health and safety of all Minnesotans.

While the Senate GOP is behind the times on full legalization, both chambers passed a bill to allow cannabis flowers in medical cannabis programs. This will decrease the cost of medicinal cannabis in Minnesota while increasing accessibility. I’m happy that we can provide a safe alternative medicine to more Minnesotans. You can learn more about this bill here.

njj

Direct Scheduling for Vaccinations Now Available

Minnesotans can now use the Vaccine Connector to directly schedule COVID-19 vaccine appointments at the state’s Community Vaccination Program locations. You can visit VaccineConnector.mn.gov to directly schedule appointments at Community Vaccination locations around the state. Here is how you can get your shot:

Summer Learning Funding

Thanks to the federal funds provided by the Democrats’ American Rescue Plan, Minnesota can revitalize our summer learning programs to help our students recover from this difficult past year. Governor Walz will allocate $75 million in education funds this summer as follows:

  • Academic and Mental Health Supports ($34.614 million). This will expand mental health and well-being services, mentor programs, social/emotional skill building, and hands-on learning experiences.
  • Preschool for 4- and 5-Year-Olds ($20 million). This will provide funds to three or four star rated programs using a formula that emphasizes underserved communities and children facing certain risk factors.
  • School-linked Mental Health Grants ($6.011 million). This will provide much needed community mental health services through grants offered by the Minnesota Department of Human Services
  • Expanded Access to Tutoring ($3.25 million). These funds will expand access to tutoring services including academic enrichment, mental health supports and other wrap-around services for K-12 children.
  • Increased Adult Basic Education Program Funding ($10 million). This will expand the access and quality of our Adult Basic Education programs to ensure that those who desire an education will be able to get one this summer.
  • Learning Acceleration and College Readiness Initiatives ($1.125 million). This will fund programs to address educational challenges due to the pandemic which have impacted underserved students disproportionately. 

I am proud that our state values education to such a great extent. We need to continue to fully fund our education programs so we can overcome any learning loss due to COVID-19, while building up our students for a brighter future.

Keep in Touch:

You can contact me at rep.erin.koegel@house.mn or (651) 296-5369. You can now follow me on Facebook as well! I appreciate the opportunity to serve our district in the legislature and look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Erin Koegel
State Representative

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