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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Ami Wazlawik (DFL)

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Legislative Update - April 12, 2019

Friday, April 12, 2019

Dear neighbors,

Another busy week at the Capitol is coming to a close. Here’s an update on the work that I’ve been doing and what lies ahead:

Preserving Minnesota’s Resources and Heritage

Legacy funds provide opportunities for Minnesotans to enjoy the outdoors, arts, and cultural heritage of our state. On Wednesday, the other members of the Legacy Finance Division and I voted unanimously to approve our budget (HF 653). It included three of my bills, which would:

  • Preserve significant historic and cultural resources and support the efforts of the Minnesota Historical Society (HF 2498)
  • Expand access to Minnesota Public Radio programs on our state’s rich past (HF 1338)
  • Improve water safety by providing low-income and at-risk children with scholarships for swimming lessons (HF 1341)

 

Other measures in the budget would:

  • Support children’s museums, libraries, public television, zoos and aquariums, and other programs that celebrate Minnesota’s history and diverse cultural traditions
  • Restore and enhance 10,020 acres of wetlands, 108,384 acres of prairies, 14,598 acres of forest, and 8,216 acres of aquatic habitat
  • Expand access to the arts and arts education
  • Protect water quality in lakes, rivers, and streams and prevent contamination of groundwater and drinking water
  • Maintain and improve parks and trails that provide recreation opportunities and connect people to the outdoors

 

There were several public hearings for this bill. A video of the latest one is available here.

As I continue to work on the state budget, the success of the Legacy Amendment is a reminder that the best returns come from investing in Minnesotans and the things they value! Despite being in the middle of a recession, Minnesotans voted overwhelmingly in 2008 to adopt the amendment and increase sales taxes by three-eighths of one percent for 25 years. For the past decade, communities throughout the state have benefited from this revenue, and the funds continue to preserve our abundant natural resources and vibrant heritage for future generations.

As Vice Chair, I had the opportunity to chair a public hearing of the Legacy Finance Division while Chair Leon Lillie introduced the budget bill.

Water Gremlin Updates

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency will be releasing information regarding the results of testing and monitoring around the Water Gremlin site sometime next week. The news will be posted here on their website. Please stay tuned as I’ll continue to provide updates as well. 

Looking Ahead

With six weeks of session remaining, my colleagues and I have released our entire budget! If you’d like more information on the Minnesota Values Budget, Speaker Hortman shared a list with links to all of the bills in a Facebook post. The nonpartisan outlet that covers the legislature, Session Daily, is also a great resource.

For the past several months, I’ve spent most of my time meeting with constituents, advocates, and organizations, or in public hearings for the bills that I’m supporting and the committees that I serve on. Now that all of the House committees have approved their budgets, things will change a little bit. The annual Easter/Passover break begins today, so there won’t be any official legislative action next week. When we return, I’ll be spending most of my days on the House floor approving the budget legislation with my colleagues.

Though each week at the Capitol seems to be busier than the last, I still enjoy “nerding out” about public policy on a daily basis. And I remain honored by the fact that people in our community chose me to represent them. Please stay in touch and continue sharing your questions, comments, and concerns!

Sincerely,

Ami Wazlawik
State Representative

Follow me on Facebook: www.facebook.com/State-Representative-Ami-Wazlawik/
Subscribe to my email updates: www.house.leg.state.mn.us/38b

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