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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Liz Olson (DFL)

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RELEASE: Minnesota House Expected to Approve Jobs and Energy Budget

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

SAINT PAUL, Minn. – Today, the Minnesota House is expected to approve a new Jobs and Energy budget (HF 2208). It includes major House DFL priorities such as giving every Minnesotan access to Paid Family and Medical Leave and Earned Sick and Safe Time. Both priorities are inspired by Minnesotans who have told the Legislature that they are being forced to choose between earning a paycheck or caring for a family member, or themselves.

“All Minnesotans deserve to have a sense of economic security, and they’re working hard to succeed, but many of them face significant barriers toward this,” said Rep. Liz Olson (DFL – Duluth). “Earned sick and safe time, paid family leave, and strong protections against wage theft in this bill remove some of these. We also know that Minnesotans not only care about one another, but care deeply about the future of our planet and its current condition caused by climate change. Our new renewable energy standard in this budget will keep our momentum headed in the right direction to protect our precious natural resources.”

“It’s unconscionable that we have workers in this state who don’t have access to any type of paid family leave or earned sick time, meaning they are potentially just one illness or injury away from financial disaster. This bill corrects this economic injustice,” said Rep. Jen Schultz (DFL – Duluth). “Regarding the energy goals in this bill, they may be ambitious, but we can’t afford inaction. Minnesotans – especially motivated youth across the state – have been vocal about the need to protect our planet and this bill takes bold steps to do that.”

The House DFL Jobs and Energy budget includes tougher protections against wage theft. With 39,000 Minnesotans experiencing wage theft in some form every year, the budget would protect wages and hold employers who take advantage of workers accountable.

Republicans in the Minnesota House and Senate have chosen to stand with big corporations over working families time and time again. As a result of destructive Republican budgeting, economic security for Minnesota families is increasingly out of reach.

Throughout Minnesota, many areas are either underserved or completely unserved by high-speed broadband. A lack of fast and reliable broadband remains a significant barrier toward taking full advantage of education opportunities, building strong regional economies, and helping advance crucial state industries like agriculture and health care. This budget expands high-speed internet access with a $70 million investment over two years in the state’s Border-to-Border Broadband Program, the amount recommended by the Minnesota Broadband Taskforce to meet the state’s speed goals. The program provides matching grants which leverage private investments from internet providers to expand access across the state.

A cornerstone of the House DFL Jobs and Energy budget is establishing a pathway to adopt 100 percent carbon-free energy by 2050. This transition would reduce the state’s dependence on fossil fuels and encourage the use of clean energy alternatives. The budget ensures that electricity is reliable and affordable during and after the transition. New opportunities for utility consumers to conserve energy and save money by switching to cleaner electricity sources are also included.

Other major components in the Jobs and Energy budget include:

  • Minnesota Innovation Collaborative
  • Vocational rehabilitation services
  • Dairy Assistance, Investment, and Relief Initiative (DAIRI)
  • Net Neutrality
  • Protections against predatory payday lenders
  • Solar on Schools program
  • Electric bus grants

After the Minnesota House and Senate approve their respective jobs and energy budgets, lawmakers from each chamber will form a conference committee to reach agreement on a final version.