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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Jeff Brand (DFL)

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Legislative Update - November 12, 2019

Tuesday, November 12, 2019
Rep. Brand

Dear Neighbors,

As the days get shorter and the temperatures continue to drop, I want to draw attention to Minnesota’s Cold Weather Rule. Currently in effect until April 15, the Cold Weather Rule helps protect Minnesotans who struggle to afford their heating bill during the winter. You can find more information on this and other programs on the Minnesota Department of Commerce website. No family deserves to be left out in the cold.

Here’s an update on our work at the Minnesota House.

House Ag & Food Tour

It’s important as legislators to get out of the committee room from time to time and see the work being done throughout Minnesota. This may be doubly true for the members of the House Agriculture and Food Division, which is why we visited several farm and research sites last month to see firsthand what some Minnesota farmers are doing to improve the industry in innovative new ways.

Ag TourAg Tour 2

We saw the creative land management practices being used at the Hmong American Farmers Association (HAFA) farm where fruits and vegetables are being grown for local schools, learned about cover crops and the needs of bio security at family farms, and received an update from researchers at the Agriculture Utilization Research Institute (AURI) on the emerging hemp industry in Minnesota.

Child Care Shortage

Last month, I joined Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan and colleagues in hosting a roundtable discussion on the child care shortage in our community and throughout our state. With the cost of child care rivaling that of college tuition, part of the event included the announcement of Child Care Economic Development grant recipients. There’s still a lot more to do to address this issue, but we’re taking significant steps, and I look forward to taking the stories from the roundtable discussion back with me to the Legislature.


More Inclusive Communities

Lt. Governor Flanagan also stopped by our community recently to discuss the need for more inclusive communities at the Southern Minnesota Equity Summit in St. Peter. Our community is stronger because of our diversity, and I echo the Lt. Governor’s sentiment that diversity is part of our fabric as Minnesotans. You can read more about the Equity Summit here.


Investing in Safe Schools

Minnesotans deserve safe and secure schools, and protecting our students is of the highest priority in our work at the Legislature. As part of Minnesota’s new education budget passed earlier this year, over $30 million in funds will be available for Minnesota’s schools at the end of the month as part of the 2020 Safe Schools Supplemental Aid. That includes $77,144 for the St. Peter Public School District.

The 2020 State Schools Supplemental Aid is a one-time appropriation included with school districts’ Integrated Department of Education Aid System (IDEAS) payment. This investment will better ensure that our community is able to address the unique safety needs of our schools – such as mental health counseling, facility security enhancements, peace officer liaisons, gang resistance education training, and other safety provisions.


2020 High School Page Program

Modeled after the United States Congress Page Program, the Minnesota House of Representatives High School Page Program was established in 1975. Today, the program remains dedicated to providing students with meaningful opportunities, and has evolved into one of the top page programs in the nation.

The Sergeant’s Office is currently accepting applications for the 2020 Legislative Session, and I highly encourage all interested high school juniors to apply. You can find more information on the program and how to apply on the Minnesota House webpage. The deadline to apply is November 21st


Be Heard on Cannabis - Saint Peter

We’re inviting Minnesotans to join the conversation about how we will safely and responsibly create a comprehensive framework the most thoughtful adult-use cannabis laws in the country. 

Legalizing cannabis for responsible adult use will expand access and affordability for people who rely on it to treat PTSD or chronic pain, allow law enforcement to focus their resources on more dangerous crimes, and expand personal freedom for Minnesotans, including the thousands of minor offenders who have been swept up in our criminal justice system.

St Peter Cannabis

We want to hear what Minnesotans think, which is why we launched statewide Community Conversations on Cannabis to hear from people in every corner of our state, including Saint Peter. You can sign up for updates, take the Speaker’s cannabis survey, and find a community conversation near you at a new website here.


Supporting Our Veterans

I hope you all had a great Veterans Day yesterday. A great way to support our veterans is the 2019 Chilifest put on by South Central Beyond the Yellow Ribbon. You can find more information below!


Community Town Hall

On Monday, December 9, I’ll be holding a Town Hall alongside Sen. Frentz and Rep. Considine. As we gear up for the Legislature to reconvene in February, we want to hear about what’s important to you. The event will be in the Senior Room of the St. Peter Community Center from 7-9pm. Regardless of whether or not you’re able to attend, please feel free to reach out with any of your comments, questions, or concerns. As always, you can reach me at (651) 296-8634, or at I look forward to hearing from you.

Your partner in Saint Paul,

Jeff Brand
State Representative, District 19A