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

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Legislative Update - March 1, 2019

Friday, March 01, 2019


Governor’s Legislative Reception
 

IBEW Day on the Hill 2019
 

Minnesota Association of College Admissions Counseling Day on the Hill
 

Minnesota Association of Community Health Centers Day on the Hill
 

House Transportation Division field hearing in North Minneapolis
 

Students from Paladin Career & Technical High School
 

Students from Hmong International Academy advocating for a Smoke-Free Generation

 

THIS WEEK IN THE LEGISLATURE
 
CLEAN BUS BILL HEARD AT NORTH MINNEAPOLIS FIELD HEARING
On Tuesday I presented HF195 at the House Transportation Finance and Policy Division’s field hearing at North High School. The bill would direct the Metropolitan Council to work with the Commissioner of the Pollution Control Agency to identify areas with poor air quality, categorize its bus fleet, and deploy its lowest emissions buses on routes that serve these poor air quality locations.
 
I spoke about the importance of addressing the health concern of communities who have been impacted by air pollution and how it relates to transportation. The bill was laid over for possible inclusion in a future transportation appropriation bill.
 
GUN VIOLENCE PREVENTION
On Wednesday and Thursday evening, testimony in the Public Safety Committee surrounding HF 8 & HF 9 went late into the evening. The committee moved the background check bill (HF 8) along party lines in a 9-7 vote on Wednesday. This bill is sponsored by Rep. Dave Pinto (DFL-St. Paul) and would expand the requirement of background checks to private sales. Testimony on this bill was emotional, which included victims as well as law enforcement leaders speaking in support of the bill.
 
The following day, the committee approved the “red flag” bill (HF 9) in a 10-7 vote. This bill, sponsored by Rep. Ruth Richardson (DFL-Mendota Heights) would allow people to petition a court to temporarily take away guns from someone if they showed signs of being a danger to themselves or others.
 
Both hearings received significant media coverage, including WCCO and StarTribunestories.
 
FEBRUARY ECONOMIC FORECAST
As discussions begin surrounding Minnesota’s two-year budget, two important updates came out this week. First, Gov. Walz released the One Minnesota Bonding Bill proposal. This proposal consists of $1.27 billion package of public construction projects and various state investments. A fact sheet with details of the budget is available here.
 
On Thursday, following the bonding proposal, Minnesota’s economic forecast was released. The state's revised economic forecast released Thursday shows about a $1 billion surplus on the bottom line — one-third less than the nearly $1.5 billion budget surplus projected in November.
 
The state doesn't factor inflationary costs into its budget projections, and when that additional spending is taken into consideration the numbers look particularly bleak. Inflation over the next two years is expected to total almost $1.1 billion, exceeding the surplus. (source: Star Tribune)
 
That’s why we need to continue to invest in economic growth, by prioritizing education, health care, workforce development, and community prosperity.
 
DRIVER’S LICENSES FOR ALL
Yesterday the Transportation Committee approved HF1500, a bill that would allow a person to obtain a driver’s license or Minnesota ID card without demonstrating proof of legal immigration status. It was re-referred it to the House Ways and Means Committee. The room was packed with supporters, including advocates and law enforcement. If enacted into law, the bill would make Minnesota roads safer for everyone.
 
ENTIRE MINNESOTA HOUSE VOTES ON NEW LEGISLATION
The entire Minnesota House met yesterday and approved two bills (HF 476 & HF 861), one of which is highlighted below.
 
Funding for MNLARS - HF 861
 
Approved by a 89-33 vote, the bill that would appropriate $15.7 million in deficiency funding for further fixes to the MNLARS this fiscal year will be moved on to the Senate. Sen. Scott Newman (R-Hutchinson) is the sponsor for the Senate bill.

Chief-authored in the House by Rep. Rick Hansen (DFL-South St. Paul), the legislation would provide $10 million in aid for deputy registrars. This includes roughly 170 local DMV offices across the state that took a financial hit dealing with the malfunctioning system.
 
Session Daily covered the story here.
 
NORTH HIGH ATHLETIC FIELD COMMUNITY MEETING
North High School invites you to their community meeting to discuss the changes to their athletic field. Architects will be on hand to present design proposals and answer questions.
 
When: Thursday, March 14, 2019
Time: 6:00pm - 7:00pm
Where: John B. Davis Education Service Center
Assembly Room
1250 W. Broadway Ave, Minneapolis 55411
 
For more information, visit: http://facilities.mpls.k12.mn.us/north_high_athletic_field
 
THE MINNESOTA VALUES PROJECT PODCAST
Co-hosts Jamie Long and Liz Olson interview Reps. Dave Pinto and Ruth Richardson about this week’s historic votes on gun violence prevention legislation (HFs 8 and 9). Subscribe and listen on iTunes, Stitcher, or soundcloud.com/mnValuesPod.
 
Want to go the extra mile? Give the Minnesota Values Podcast a 5-star rating on iTunes!
 
TOWN HALL
Please join me on Monday, March 4 from 5:30 – 8:00 p.m. at the Urban Research and Outreach Engagement Center in Minneapolis. I’ll be joined by Rep. Raymond Dehn and Sen. Bobby Joe Champion for our rescheduled town hall meeting. Hope to see you there!

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!