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

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2019 Legislative Recap and Survey

Monday, July 22, 2019
Dear Neighbors,
 
I hope you are all enjoying your summer. Minnesotans care about each other and we want to see one another succeed. This year, House Democrats brought Minnesotans’ values to the Capitol and established a vision to build a state that works better for everyone, no matter where you live or what you look like. Working in one of the nation’s only divided Legislatures, we increased investments in our students, protected health care for more than one million Minnesotans, and strengthened economic security for families. The Legislature also approved key priorities for the city of Duluth.
 
Here are a few key highlights of what we did to make Minnesota work better for everyone this session:
 
Delivering for Duluth 
Alongside Duluth leaders, I made sure our community’s voices were heard at the Capitol. The Legislature approved Duluth’s sales tax for overdue street improvements. Our new budget also includes $96 million toward public infrastructure for the Duluth Medical District, working with Essentia and St. Luke’s on this vision. We also boosted Local Government Aid and County Program Aid, helping communities like ours deliver critical services without relying too heavily on property taxes.
 

Tackling the Opioid Crisis 
Opioid addiction has devastated families and communities throughout our state. Minnesotans have been asking lawmakers to hold Big Pharma accountable for a public health crisis they helped create and continue to profit from. I successfully authored legislation to establish new fees on manufacturers and distributors to provide new funding for treatment, prevention, and soaring public safety costs.
 

Strengthening Economic Security 
Workers deserve to be paid every penny they earn, and this year the Legislature enacted the toughest wage theft prevention and enforcement law in the nation. To help pull Minnesotans out of poverty, lawmakers came together to increase Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP) benefits by $100 a month, representing the first increase in 33 years. The budget also increased the Working Family Tax Credit, benefiting more than 380,000 working parents and other Minnesotans.
 
Protecting Our Seniors 
In response to horrific reports of abuse and neglect, the Legislature approved sweeping reforms to protect elderly and vulnerable adults in assisted living facilities. Previously, Minnesota was the only state without licensure of assisted living facilities, and this session, we changed that. We also enacted enforceable safeguards for residents, established a residents’ bill of rights to improve consumer protections, and gave residents the ability to install a safety camera in their living space.
 
There is much more to do though. Families across the state are demanding action to address senseless gun violence. As the impacts of climate change take effect, Minnesotans — especially youth — have been vocal about the need to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. Benefits like paid family and medical leave and earned sick and safe time aren’t available to all families, and this poses a persistent challenge as they work toward prosperity.
 
Looking ahead, I remain committed to ensuring all Minnesotans have the opportunity to succeed and thrive. I’m interested in hearing about your priorities, ideas, and stories. I invite you to take a short, five-question survey at this address: www.surveymonkey.com/r/LizOlsonSurvey.
 
Additionally, please feel free to contact me at the Capitol with your feedback or if I can ever be of assistance. I can be reached by phone at 651-296-4246 or email at rep.liz.olson@house.mn.
 
Thank you for the honor of representing Duluth at the State Capitol.
 
Sincerely,
 
Liz Olson
State Representative