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

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Legislative Update - April 7, 2017

Friday, April 07, 2017

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Constituents visiting for Youth Intervention Programs (YIP) Rally Day

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With Henry’s robotics students competing at the 10,000 Lakes Regional competition

Legislative Updates

We debated numerous budget bills this week. We started the week discussing public safety measures and ended with the health and human services bill.

Public Safety

On Monday, the House passed the Public Safety bill 94-37. The bill had several good provisions, such as police training and expanding mental health services to for mentally ill offenders, but it does not go far enough to protect Minnesotans and reform our criminal justice system. It also included controversial language to increase criminal penalties for certain types of peaceful protest and allow for-profit prisons in Minnesota.

You can find House Public Information Services’ coverage here.

Legacy

On Tuesday, the House unanimously passed the Legacy bill. The bill allocates constitutionally dedicated funds to clean water, parks and trails, and arts and cultural heritage. The package funds all parts of the state and includes many diverse projects and initiatives, including the Outdoor Heritage Fund, Clean Water Fund, Parks and Trails Fund and the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

You can find House Public Information Services’ coverage here.

Higher Education

On Tuesday, the House also passed the Higher Education bill 77-53. Despite a $1.65 billion surplus, the House Republican Higher Education bill comes in $150 million lower than Governor Dayton’s budget proposal for higher education. The Republican choice to underfund higher education will lead to tuition increases for four year students.

You can find House Public Information Services’ coverage here.

Jobs and Energy

Yesterday, the House passed the Jobs and Energy bill 76-55. The House Republican Jobs and Energy bill cuts job creation efforts, consumer protections, racial and economic disparities efforts, and rolls back Minnesota’s renewable energy progress. Last year the legislature passed Governor Dayton’s equity initiative to combat racial economic disparities, but the Republicans are cutting and shifting money away from these efforts. The bill also has provisions that will allow big corporations to come in and build pipelines without justifying a public need. These provisions also allow companies like Enbridge to ignore Native treaty rights, and the impact of proposed pipeline projects on culturally essential wild rice areas.

You can find House Public Information Services’ coverage here.

State Government Finance

The House also passed the State Government Finance bill 75-55. The bill arbitrarily cut vital state government services and lay off thousands of hardworking Minnesotans. It will result in layoffs of more than 2,000 state workers who protect our natural resources, keep our bridges secure, ensure our nursing homes are safe, and serve our veterans. The bill also deregulates our elections by limiting the ability for the nonpartisan campaign finance board to set election rules. Overall, the Republican’s State Government Finance bill prioritizes tax cuts for corporations and the rich and well-connected, leaving Minnesota’s environment, elections, public services and workers behind.

You can find House Public Information Services’ coverage here.

Health and Human Services

This afternoon the House passed the Health and Human Services bill 74-53. This bill cuts $600 million from the Health and Human Services budget. The Republicans are choosing to cut Minnesotans’ health care just weeks after giving the insurance companies millions of dollars in reinsurance, and are ignoring the need for affordable childcare access, raises for home health workers, increase for families on MFIP, and adjustments to the Medical Assistance spenddown for the elderly, blind and disabled.

April is Financial Capability Month

Minnesota Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman announced that April is Financial Capability Month, featuring financial education events statewide that offer an opportunity for Minnesotans of all ages to learn how to focus on their financial goals, manage their money responsibly and protect themselves against scams.

A wide range of organizations are planning events across Minnesota during Financial Capability Month, including Junior Achievement, Minnesota JumpStart Coalition, Minnesota Council on Economic Education, Minnesota Credit Union Network, AARP Minnesota and the Better Business Bureau.

Check the Commerce Department website for events.

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!