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Minnesota Legislature

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

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Legislative Update - May 5, 2017

Friday, May 05, 2017

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Stephanie Gasca and Alejandro Anderson visiting on Day Without Immigrants

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Honoring Minneapolis North High School Basketball Team for their 2016 State Championship

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Reimagine Minnesota Community Conversation about equity in Minneapolis Public Schools

Legislative Updates

We are approaching the session deadline of May 22 and several budget bills remain unresolved.

Education Underfunding

Despite a budget surplus, the Republicans are choosing to underfund our schools. Educators, administrators and school districts have testified that a modest 2% funding increase is needed just to stay afloat with costs of inflation and student growth, yet Republicans are choosing to underfund our schools with less.

Higher Education

The Republicans are proposing a higher education budget that’s nearly $200 million less than what Governor Dayton requested. This will continue to lead to program cuts, staff layoffs, increased tuition and skyrocketing student debt. The University of Minnesota said if the Republican budget becomes law, students would see a tuition increase of up to 5% each of the next two years. As it stands, we currently have the 5th highest student debt in the country.

Preemption

With recent gains for workers, House and Senate Republicans are working to pass statewide "preemption" which would prevent local municipalities from raising wages and improving benefits for workers beyond state standards. This measure would roll back paid sick time for 150,000 workers and prevent other Minnesotans from better benefits and higher wages. Unions, faith groups, and Minnesota workers have rallied in opposition to this legislation that undermines local democracy and endangers the economic security of working families.

Pre-K

The House Republican education proposal completely cut pre-K. In contrast, Governor Dayton’s plan would provide opportunities to more than 17,000 four-year-olds in more than 260 school districts. Thanks to last year’s funding, 3,300 kids are already learning in voluntary pre-K and the program has been applauded by district officials around the state.

Transit

The Republican transit plan cuts funding for bus service and light rail which will harm Minnesotans who rely on transit for school, work, and daily life. Their plan includes a 10% cut to bus service, halts Southwest Light Rail, and prevents future investments and planning for transit improvements around the state. The transit cuts in the Republican budget will seriously affect our ability to move forward.

Transportation

Republicans, Democrats, and transportation leaders agree we need an additional $600 million a year to preserve and maintain our roads and bridges, but the Republican transportation plan continues to underfund and neglect our transportation system. They are forcing transportation to compete against funding for schools, nursing homes, and support for our most vulnerable people. We need a transportation system that works in every corner of Minnesota and supports a 21st century economy.

Vouchers

Despite the threat of veto by Governor Dayton, the Republicans in the House and Senate majorities are choosing to prioritize private schools over public schools. The Republican Tax bill includes $60 million in private school vouchers. These are the wrong priorities for us, with 95% of Minnesota students attending public schools.

Public schools see each of our students equally - whether they have a learning disability, a physical disability, or any other uniqueness they bring to the classroom. Meanwhile, private schools have the ability to pick and choose which students to teach. It's our responsibility to ensure ALL children have access to a quality education, which is why strong public schools should be a top priority.

2017 Legislative Survey

I encourage residents of our district to take a few minutes to share their thoughts by taking my legislative survey. You can find the survey online here. I appreciate hearing directly from you and reading your thoughts on issues at the legislature. Thank you for your participation!

Celebrating Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month

This week I rose on the House floor to give remarks honoring Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month. Asians are the fastest-growing ethnic group in the United States and Minnesota. However, Asian Americans are not a monolith. They are made up of immigrants and their descendants from dozens of countries.

Here in Minnesota, the Asian American community is made up of groups from 40 different countries and our Asian Pacific population is vastly different from the national make-up. 50 percent of our Asian American population identifies as Southeast Asian compared to 21 percent of the national average. With the Hmong community accounting for 27 percent of all Asian Pacific Minnesotans.

You can view my remarks here:

Upcoming Events

Cinco De Mayo - Saturday

This weekend people from all over the Twin Cities will be gathering to celebrate Cinco de Mayo on St. Paul’s Westside. If you are looking for more information about the official festivities, you can see the website here. Happy Cinco de Mayo!

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!

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