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

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Legislative Update- May 15, 2021

Saturday, May 15, 2021
Rep. Stephenson

Dear Neighbors,

Budget negotiations in the Legislature are ongoing. With less than three days until adjournment, we’re working hard in the House to wrap up major bills and find compromise with the Senate on various provisions in each major area of the state budget. Direction for the use of the federal COVID relief funds are also coming into play as the House, Senate, and Governor work on final budget ‘targets’ or framework. While we are constitutionally required to adjourn on May 17, conference committees will continue to work on reconciling their differences so that we can get a state budget set before July 1.


Energy Conservation and Optimization Act of 2021

The Minnesota House of Representatives approved the bipartisan legislation I authored on a vote of 88-46 to improve energy efficiency and cost savings opportunities across the state. The Energy Conservation and Optimization Act of 2021 updates the conservation and improvement program (CIP) statutes providing utilities with flexibility to meet energy savings goals instead of conservation spending goals. The new focus on outcomes, instead of spending, will allow utilities to pursue more effective energy savings opportunities.

Consumers benefit from conservation by using less energy and having lower utility bills. Utilities benefit from conservation by avoiding the cost of building new infrastructure, such as new power plants, transmission lines, natural gas lines and distribution systems as energy demands increase. Minnesotans deserve more choice and an opportunity to protect our planet from environmental damages that result from burning fossil fuels. This is a win-win for clean air and the utilities.


New Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Guidance on Face Coverings

The CDC announced Thursday that masks are no longer required for fully-vaccinated individuals, either indoors or outside. Minnesotans should follow CDC guidance and wear masks in medical settings and on public transportation, whether or not they are fully vaccinated. Private businesses and local municipalities may still put in place face covering requirements. Minnesota’s Safe Learning Plan, along with the existing face covering guidance for schools and child care settings, remains in effect.

Mask Mandate


How Minnesotans Can Get their Shot at No Cost:

Employers may also reach out with information about vaccination opportunities.


Adult-Use Cannabis Legalization Earns Bipartisan Support in the House

The Minnesota House of Representatives approved a bill Thursday night to legalize cannabis for adult use and expunge records for people convicted of non-violent offenses involving cannabis. Legislators voted 72-61 to approve the bill. The House Majority has engaged with Minnesotans and thoroughly vetted this proposal. We also know Minnesota’s current cannabis laws are doing more harm than good. Thursday’s vote is a positive step forward in continuing the conversation on legalizing adult-use cannabis in Minnesota, even though the bill has no path forward in the Senate this year.


Keep in Touch

Thank you for emailing and calling with your input and questions. I appreciate hearing from you! Contact me anytime at or 651-296-5513 to let me know how I can be of assistance. It’s an honor to represent our Coon Rapids and Champlin residents and families in the Minnesota House of Representatives. Thank you.


Zack Stephenson

State Representative