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

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Legislative Update - May 1, 2019

Wednesday, May 01, 2019

Dear neighbors,

Yesterday, my House colleagues and I finished approving our entire budget! I’ve said many times that the state budget should invest in the things that Minnesotans care about, and our Minnesota Values Budget does just that. 

I’ve talked about the budgets for E-12 education, jobs & energy, and agriculture & housing in previous emails (see my updates from April 5 and April 24). Here’s more information on each of the other areas:

Health & Human Services

When I ask community members about their concerns, many of them talk about health care. Our new health and human services budget would strengthen health care for all Minnesotans by:

  • Reducing the cost of prescription drugs
  • Protecting elders in assisted living facilities and nursing homes from abuse and neglect
  • Lowering premiums for people who purchase their insurance on the individual market
  • Protecting access to family planning services and birth control for women

A fact sheet with more information is available here. You can also learn more by listening to the latest episode of the Minnesota Values Podcast here.

Taxes

In my last legislative update, I talked about our plan to increase funding for every student in every public school. A few constituents have asked how we’d fund these historic investments. The answer? Closing corporate loopholes, and investing three-fourths of the revenue in Minnesota schools.

We’re making our tax system fairer by bringing big corporations’ foreign profits back to Minnesota and putting families, seniors, and small businesses first. Our plan would cut taxes for more than two-thirds of Minnesotans and simplify the filing process for everyone!

A fact sheet – including a breakdown of the numbers – is available here.

Transportation

As Minnesotans, we know that the arrival of spring brings potholes as well. On their most recent infrastructure report card, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave Minnesota’s roads a D+. Bridges received a C, and transit was awarded a C-. That’s why our transportation budget makes honest investments to fix our roads, bridges, and transit. Minnesotans deserve to be able to travel to work or school and go to the grocery store, doctor’s appointments, and other places quickly and safely.

A fact sheet with additional details is available here.

Public Safety & Judiciary

I’m very excited that this budget includes so many provisions that will make Minnesota’s systems and policies work better for victims and survivors of sexual violence! These include:

  • A 120-day look back period to prevent criminal sexual conduct committed by someone in a position of authority (my bill!)
  • Creating a work group to recommend improvements for criminal sexual conduct statutes
  • A requirement that law enforcement agencies adopt policies for investigating sexual assault
  • Eliminating the statute of limitations for sexual assault cases
  • Establishing a Task Force for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women

Higher Education

According to the U.S. Department of Education, there are 775,000 Minnesotans with student debt that totals $27.1 billion. Too many Minnesotans struggle to afford a college education. That’s why we’re investing the other one-fourth of the revenue generated by closing corporate loopholes in a tuition freeze for two- and four-year public colleges and universities – tens of thousands of Minnesota students will not pay one penny more in tuition for the next two years!

A fact sheet with more details is available here.

Environment & Natural Resources

I’m proud of the environment & natural resources budget because it protects the health and well-being of Minnesotans. It protects communities from industrial toxins like TCE, bans toxic flame retardant chemicals that increase health risks for children and firefighters, and funds lead and asthma screenings.

Our budget also provides better support for communities like ours that are facing increased health risks due to pollution. It requires that 40 percent of settlements of $250,000 or more go towards initiatives that directly benefit the community that was harmed. It also reinstates the MPCA Citizens Board, giving Minnesotans the opportunity to provide input to the MPCA.

State Government

Some of the measures included in the last budget approved by the House are:

  • Approval for federal funding that would improve cybersecurity and secure elections
  • Free public transportation on Election Day
  • Establishing a bipartisan Redistricting Advisory Commission to draw new boundaries after each census
  • Funding to ensure that our 2020 Census count is accurate and complete
  • Addressing veteran homelessness

Please Share Your Input

The House completed our budget before the Senate had even considered most of their major bills. Once the Senate completes their work, members from both bodies will meet in conference committees to resolve our differences. Your input is more important than ever during these negotiations!

One way to share your thoughts is by taking my legislative survey. It’s a short series of questions that will help me better represent our community. Keep an eye out for a flyer in your mailbox. You can also complete the survey online at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/2019mn38b. I hope to hear from you soon!

Sincerely,

Ami Wazlawik
State Representative

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