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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Zack Stephenson (DFL)

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Legislative Update- May 3, 2019

Friday, May 03, 2019
 
Dear Neighbors,
 
With less than three weeks until adjournment, the House has held up its end of the bargain with the Senate and Governor to complete the components of our state budget.
 
Here’s an update from St. Paul:
 

Marital Rape Exemption

On Thursday Governor Tim Walz signed into law my bill to repeal Minnesota’s ‘Martial Rape Exception.’  It was a good day for justice, as we repealed an antiquated and abominable law. The law goes into effect July 1 of this year.
 
Just as with every single hearing along the way, Jenny Teeson was present at the bill signing ceremony. Jenny has been absolutely committed to ensuring that no one else is denied justice as she was. You can read more about her story here.

Taxes

Last week, the Minnesota House approved a new tax bill. Half of the revenue raised in the bill comes from bringing back to Minnesota multinational corporations’ sheltered tax haven dollars from places like the Cayman Islands and Bermuda. Our seniors and small businesses shouldn’t have to pay more to make up for the lost dollars that belong in Minnesota. Tax filing is also simplified for families through tax conformity and by raising the standard deduction. The bill also cuts the tax on social security benefits such that over half of Minnesota seniors won’t pay any taxes on their social security. 96% of the bill framework originated from House Republicans’ tax plan last year, so I’m glad there’s a fair balance struck that puts families, seniors, and small businesses first. You can learn more here.
 

Jobs & Energy Conference Committee Appointment

In my last update, I shared that the Jobs & Energy budget was recently approved in the House, and since then a different version has also passed in the Senate. This means the bill will need to go to a conference committee of appointed House and Senate members, where all of the differences between the two versions of the bill will be reconciled.
 
I am pleased to announce that I was appointed as one of the House members! This is especially exciting since one of my bills, “Clean Energy First,” was included in the House version.
 

Higher Education

Earlier this week, the House passed its Higher Education budget bill.  I was very pleased that it included a two year tuition freeze at both the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota State System.  So many families in Champlin and Coon Rapids have told me about how they are struggling with the rising cost of higher education.  I am very pleased we were able to take a meaningful step to address this problem.
 

Keep in Touch

Please always feel free to reach out with questions, comments, or input. I appreciate your feedback.
 
It’s an honor to represent you at the Capitol.
 
Sincerely,
Zack Stephenson