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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Kelly Morrison (DFL)

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Legislative Update- Session Recap

Wednesday, June 05, 2019
Dear Neighbors,
 
I hope you’ve been able to enjoy our transition from spring to summer!
Great community gathering at the 68th Annual Fish Fry at the Mound Fire Station! Thank you to Chief Pederson and everyone at the Mound Fire Department for keeping our communities safe.
Stopped by Excelsior’s new Red Bench Bakery this week. Check it out-great spot with delicious treats!
Many thanks to WeCAN Executive Director Christie Larson and team for a wonderful community breakfast in Mound. Jennifer Bertram of the Children’s Defense Fund of Minnesota spoke about “Building Community in a Time of Changing Needs” and the necessity to address the disparities that impact many of Minnesota’s children.
The Minnesota Legislature adjourned on May 25. Working in one of the only divided legislatures in the country, we passed a bipartisan budget agreement that protects health care for 1.2 million Minnesotans, makes substantial new investments in our schools and children of all ages, keeps Minnesotans safe on the road, delivers targeted tax cuts to middle class families, and addresses the rising costs of prescription medication.

I’d like to take this opportunity to provide some detail on key components of the state budget, in addition to what I’ll be focusing on when we return in February.
 

Health Care

Too many Minnesotans are struggling with the soaring costs of the prescription medication they rely on. A cornerstone of my work on health care included my bipartisan Drug Price Transparency Act, which was unfortunately not included in the final health care budget bill. I’ll continue to champion it next year. I also worked with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to address the rising costs of prescription drugs. There’s more work to do in this area of health care but it’s a good first step. I also chief sponsored successful legislation to ensure that women at high risk for breast cancer get the appropriate screening.

Education

Every child deserves a world-class education. I supported the education budget to increase funding by 2 percent per student for all of Minnesota’s public K-12 schools, so they can prevent teacher layoffs, programming cuts, larger class sizes, and address special education needs. There were also various proposals that focused on public health in schools, including testing lead in the water. My bill to allow student sun screen application without a doctor’s note or prescription was incorporated. I was also successful in getting legislation incorporated into the education budget that allows ISD #276 to allocate existing funding to the design and construction of additional classroom space. This will help meet the growing demand for preschool and adult education. 
 

Taxes

Our compromise tax bill will deliver targeted tax cuts and credits for families, seniors, farmers, and small businesses. I voted to cut taxes for middle class families; the first income tax cut in almost 2 decades. The standard deduction has been doubled under this proposal and cuts taxes for seniors on Social Security. My bill to allow the Excelsior sales tax to restore and maintain the Excelsior Commons was included in the tax bill.  
 

Environment

This year, the Legislature took action to keep our water, air, and parks clean and strong. I am pleased my legislation to address invasive species was included in the Environment budget, as was my “Lawn to Legumes” bill establishing a program to assist homeowners who want to convert their lawns to pollinator-friendly habitat. You can learn more about the program below. Stronger conservation efforts were also put into place to address Emerald Ash Borer.

Priorities for the Future

Our final state budget is the first step on a much longer road toward a more prosperous state. I’ll continue working with my colleagues to prioritize important measures such as emergency insulin affordability and accessibility, gun violence prevention, sustainable and long-term funding for our transportation infrastructure, and clean energy initiatives so that all Minnesotans have the opportunity to thrive and stay safe and healthy.
 

June Listening Sessions- Save the Dates!

I’ll be hosting two listening sessions to listen to ideas, answer questions, and share end-of-session updates from the Capitol. I hope to see you at one of these events! The listening sessions are scheduled for:
 
  • Thursday, June 13 at 6:30-7:30 p.m. at the Chanhassen Public Library, 7711 Kerber Blvd., Chanhassen MN 55137
 
  • Wednesday, June 26 at 6:30-7:30 p.m. at the Shorewood Community Center, 5735 Country Club Road, Shorewood MN 55331
 

Keep in Touch

It’s a tremendous privilege to represent you and our communities in St. Paul. Although the session has wrapped up for the year, I hope you’ll stay in touch and share your ideas going forward! 
 
Please don’t hesitate to reach out to let me know if I can be of assistance.
 
Sincerely,
Kelly