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Minnesota Legislature

Legislative News and Views - Rep. Fue Lee (DFL)

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Legislative Update - March 31, 2017

Friday, March 31, 2017

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Local labor members visiting for AFSCME Council 5 Day on the Hill

Legislative Updates

House Omnibus Tax Bill

Yesterday, the House passed the Omnibus Tax bill 80-52. Unfortunately, House Republicans prioritized tax cuts for corporations and the rich in their bill instead of most Minnesotans. They provided a $161.7 million estate tax cut to wealthy Minnesota heirs. The bill also includes property tax cuts for corporations and businesses instead of homeowners and renters.

Instead of providing tax cut to the rich, we can use this to reinvest in Minnesota. We can use this estate tax cut to fully fund Governor Dayton’s proposal to expand voluntary Pre-K from 3,300 students to 16,200 students; provide a raise for the home care workers who take care of our seniors and disabled Minnesotans that are only paid around $13/hour for their hard work; expand the Working Family Tax Credit to give a higher tax refund to working families trying to raise children; and fully fund our schools and invest in education for all Minnesota kids.

You may find the House Public Information Services’ coverage here.

House Omnibus Environment Bill

Yesterday, the House also passed the Omnibus Environment bill 80-53. Despite our budget surplus, the bill cuts from funding that protects Minnesota’s air, water, and outdoor spaces. It cuts the environment budget by $90 million from current spending. It also shifts over $14 million from dedicated funds that protect our air, water, and land. Overall, the bill included several policy items that undermine clean air and water.

You may find the House Public Information Services’ coverage here.

House Omnibus Transportation Bill

This afternoon the House passed the Omnibus Transportation bill 76-54. The bill provides no long-term solution to addressing the investment needed for our roads and bridges, and creates road blocks to fully funding light rail and bus lines. This bill combined with the Tax bill passed yesterday will result in a 40% bus service cut and an increase in bus fare. Overall, the bill pits the Metro against Greater Minnesota, failing to take a “One Minnesota” approach to invest in transportation statewide. As we go forward, I will be advocating for a long-term, sustainable solution that improves Minnesota’s roads, bridges, and transit.

House Omnibus Education Bill

The House is currently taking up the Omnibus Education bill on the floor. This bill underfunds our schools and will likely amount to cuts that could result in teacher layoffs, larger class sizes, and less resources for our kids. The bill also eliminates the voluntary pre-K program and underfunds our most needy students, those who receive free or reduced-price meals. We should prioritize a quality education for all Minnesota kids, but unfortunately, this bill will make it harder for them to succeed.

Upcoming Events and Opportunities

New American Forum – April 5

Join me and several of my colleagues for an informational session on Wednesday, April 5, from 4:00pm to 6:00pm, at the Minnesota Senate Building, Room 1200 (95 University Ave W, St. Paul, MN 55155) to hear from the newest members of our State. This forum is an opportunity for emerging communities to have their voices heard at the Capitol, and for legislators to learn more about these communities.

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Advocacy Fair – April 8

In the last few months, I've heard from many constituents asking how they can get involved to work for policy change. In response, several of my colleagues have put together an Advocacy Fair, to connect community members with advocacy organizations that could use their help. The Fair, which will be held on Saturday, April 8, 1:00pm to 5:00pm, at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church (700 Snelling Ave S) in St. Paul, will feature nearly 20 advocacy organizations. Click here to see a flyer, and click here to see the Facebook event page.

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Job Openings with Delaware North and Target Field

Delaware North is currently hiring staff for the upcoming Minnesota Twins’ season and Target Field. You can view open positions and apply at: careers.delawarenorth.com. For more information, you can contact Mike Dykema at (612)659-3974 or mdykema@delawarenorth.com.

I encourage you to contact me with any questions, comments, concerns, or ideas on any legislative topic. Also, I am available during select hours on Monday and Friday mornings most weeks for in-district meetings, if Northside residents aren’t able to make it to the Capitol. If you would like to send me a message or set up an in-district meeting, you can reach me by phone at 651-296-4262 or by email at rep.fue.lee@house.mn. I look forward to hearing from you!