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

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Legislative Update - April 5, 2019

Friday, April 05, 2019

 

Asian Minnesotans Day on the Hill 
 

Teamsters Local 320 Lobby Day 
 

Building Trades Day at the Capitol 

THIS WEEK IN THE LEGISLATURE
 
ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES FINANCE DIVISION BILL
Yesterday the House Environment and Natural Resources Finance Division approved our omnibus budget bill (HF 2209), which includes $32.5 million to protect, restore, and enhance Minnesota’s environment and natural resources. It includes measures to strengthen protections for fish and wildlife and improve public waters, forests, parks, and trails. It also reduces the use of toxic chemicals and other pollutants that contaminate air, water, and soil and cause increased health risks.
 
Several provisions of the bill included legislation I worked on this session. One is the finance appropriation to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA). It includes a transfer of $250,000 in 2020 to the Commissioner of Health for enhanced blood lead testing, lead poisoning prevention efforts, and asthma, as recommended by the Northern Metals Consent Decree Advisory Committee. Another finance appropriation will go to the Department of Natural Resources to conduct outreach and education to communities concerned about cultural artifacts from the enforcement of my bill to prohibit the trade of prohibited animal parts.
 
The omnibus finance bill also includes a provision to address the public health concerns of communities impacted by pollution violations. My provision requires that if the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency recovers $250,000 or more in litigation or in settlement of a matter that could have resulted in litigation for a civil penalty from violations of a permit, then 40 percent of the money recovered must be distributed to the community health board where the permitted facility is located. This provision also requires the community health board to meet directly with the population potentially affected by the pollution that was the subject of the litigation or settlement to understand their concerns and to incorporate those concerns into a project implemented by the community health board.
 
HOUSE PASSES DRIVER’S LICENSES FOR ALL
This afternoon, the Minnesota House passed Driver’s Licenses for All legislation (HF 1500) by a vote of 74-52. Ensuring everyone has access to driver’s licenses will improve public safety for everyone, grow the state economy, and treat our immigrant communities with dignity and respect.

NEW TRANSPORTATION BUDGET MAKES HONEST INVESTMENTS TO FIX OUR ROADS, BRIDGES AND TRANSIT
The House DFL Majority on April 2nd announced a new transportation budget that makes honest investments to fix our roads, bridges, and transit. The American Society of Civil Engineers rated Minnesota’s roads as “D+” on their most recent infrastructure report card. Bridges received a “C” and transit was awarded a “C-.”

A fact sheet with more information about the budget is available for download here.
 
NEW HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES BUDGET REDUCES COSTS, EXPANDS ACCESS, AND HOLDS BIG PHARMA ACCOUNTABLE
The House DFL Majority on Wednesday, April 3rd announced a new Health and Human Services Budget. It strengthens health care for all Minnesotans by lowering the cost of care, making drug prices more affordable by holding Big Pharma accountable, addressing health disparities, improving health care for women, and expanding coverage options for Minnesotans.

A fact sheet with more information about the budget is available for download here.
 
NEW HIGHER EDUCATION BUDGET FREEZES TUITION FOR MINNESOTA STUDENTS
The House Higher Education Finance and Policy Committee on Thursday, April 4 announced a new budget that puts students first by making college more affordable, reducing debt, and improving health and safety on campus. According to the U.S. Department of Education, there are 775,000 Minnesotans with student debt totaling $27.1 billion.

MinnPost covered the announcement here.
 
GOVERNOR WALZ DELIVERS FIRST STATE OF THE STATE ADDRESS
On Wednesday, April 3rd Governor Tim Walz delivered his first-ever State of the State Address. Speaking on the floor of the Minnesota House Chamber, Gov. Walz played the role of storyteller and shared the hopes, dreams, and challenges of our neighbors and communities across Minnesota. He told specific personal stories of Minnesotans that he knows and has recently met, including small business owners, working families, veterans, and more.
 
The Star Tribune’s coverage of the address is here.
 
SENATE DISTRICT 59 TOWN HALL – MONDAY, APRIL 22
Please join Senator Bobby Joe Champion, Representative Raymond Dehn, and me for our Senate District 59 Town Hall on Monday, April 22, 2019 from 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. at Jenny Lind Elementary School - Cafeteria, 5025 Bryant Ave N, Minneapolis, MN 55430.
 
We have special guests including Attorney General Keith Ellison, Commissioner Margaret Anderson Kelliher, Senator Scott Dibble, Senator Chuck Wiger, Senator John Marty, City Council Member Phillipe Cunningham, County Commissioner Angela Conley, County Commissioner Irene Fernando, Park Board Commissioner Kale Severson, School Board Member Kerry Jo Felder, and Eric Nauman from the Minnesota Senate.
 
Topics include session overview, health care, education, budget, and transportation.

Somali language e-update sign up page: http://eepurl.com/gjxKHH
 
Hmong language e-update sign up page: http://eepurl.com/gjxCHH
 
Spanish language e-update sign up page: http://eepurl.com/gjxIaf
 
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!