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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Mary Kunesh-Podein (DFL)

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Legislative Update - February 7, 2020

Friday, February 07, 2020

Rep. Kunesh-Podein

Dear neighbor,

On Tuesday, February 11th, 132 returning legislators and two new ones will gather at the Capitol for the first day of the 2020 legislative session. I am honored to represent you in my fourth session in the House of Representatives in St. Paul. With the support of our communities I am ready to once again listen, learn, and get to work to ensure that our families, communities and all of Minnesota thrive.

I am thrilled to continue as Vice Chair of the Education Policy Committee as well as the Education Finance and Health and Human Services/HHS Finance Committees. I also sit on the Permanent School Trust Fund and am Chair of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women’s Task Force.  I will once again act as an Assistant Majority Leader and Whip for our DFL caucus.

I would like to continue to use these electronic updates to periodically send news and items of interest that may pertain to our communities from the Capitol. Please feel free to share my web page, , with your neighbors who may also like to be in the know and invite them to sign up there for this newsletter.

Interested in tracking a bill?

Many of you have contacted me with your views on many of the bills that are starting to be heard. I appreciate your input on different issues and encourage you to continue sharing your thoughts with me. There are a number of ways to get background information and track bills as they move through the system. Here are several ways to stay informed and keep track with some much legislation being considered and debated everyday:  

  1. Bookmark the Minnesota State Legislature page where you will find up-to-date activity for both the House and Senate.
  2. Sign up to track specific bills using the MyBills link. MyBills allows you to track House and Senate bills by bill number and topic. When you log in, you can select which bills are of interest to you. You can track them by logging in to the webpage or just receive their email notifications when the bills you have selected receive official action.
  3. Sign up to receive the electronic House meeting schedule update or House Public Information Listserv alerts when news from the House warrants.
  4. To listen to House Audio and watch video, click here.

What is the Permanent School Trust Fund? How much do our local districts receive?

In Minnesota’s broad landscape of public lands, School Trust Lands are set aside for a specific purpose – to provide a continual source of funding for public education. While School Trust Lands may look the same as other types of public lands, these lands are managed in a way that generates revenue for the Permanent School Fund (PSF). The interest and dividends from the PSF supports K-12 public education and provide funds that are distributed to every public school district within the state.  To learn more click here.



Help for Families

The Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP) is a program that serves low-income pregnant women, and families with children. It helps thousands of Minnesotans meet their basic needs and find a keep a job ever month, and I relied on it myself in 1986. The program's funding had not increased in over three decades, but finally, because of my legislation in 2019, families will get up to a $100 monthly increase. Minnesota provided the safety net I needed back in 1986 when for a number of reasons I relied on public assistance. Minnesota was there for me until I could get back on my feet so that I could feed my family, pay the mortgage and bills, and provided healthcare for all of us - I'm so proud to have been able to help families today! You can read more about the program from MPR here, and the Star Tribune here

Be Heard on Cannabis

Thank you to all of you who came to our "Be Heard on Cannabis" town hall in New Brighton at the end of January! We had a thorough discussion of both the benefits and concerns about legalizing adult-use cannabis. It has been clear that people feel our cannabis laws are not working, and on Tuesday I participated in a press conference to announce the principles that will guide the cannabis legislation we put forward this year - you can read about the principles here



Minnesota Values Podcast: Season 2!

Season 2 of the Minnesota Values Podcast kicks off Tuesday, Feb. 11 (the first day of the new legislative session). You can listen anywhere podcasts are available, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and Stitcher.

Every week, my colleagues Rep. Liz Olson and Rep. Jamie Long bring our work at the Capitol to life by talking to Minnesotans about the values that inspire action at the State Capitol and in our communities. Episodes are less than 30 minutes each, so you can catch up during your commute, at the gym, or as you get ready for the day.


Emergency Insulin

Speaker Melissa Hortman, Governor Tim Walz, and Rep. Michael Howard joined insulin advocates in announcing a new Emergency Insulin bill last week. They put forward a bipartisan plan that takes the best ideas from previous proposals from Democrats and Republicans. Their plan meets the goals of ensuring Minnesotans have emergency access to insulin and access to affordable insulin over the long-term, requiring the pharmaceutical industry to participate in funding the program, and that it can be set up quickly. You can read more about the plan here.

That's all for now - as always, please reach out with comments and questions at or 651-296-4331.


Mary KP

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