We finished passing our budget proposals off the House floor on Monday! Together, these bills reflect our vision for the future and the feedback we’ve heard from Minnesotans.
Now that the House and the Senate have passed their budget proposals, legislators will form conference committees and meet to compare both versions of each bill. While there are significant differences between our bill and the Senate’s in many cases, conference committee members will work to reach a compromise and put together a final bill to send back to each chamber for a vote.
I’m excited to share that I’ve been appointed to the Environment and Natural Resources Conference Committee! I look forward to working with my Senate colleagues to craft a bill that protects our water, air, lands, and wildlife for many years to come. While the bill we develop together may look different from what we passed in the House, I’m confident we can come together to preserve and enhance these unique assets.
Expanding Access to Affordable Healthcare
All Minnesotans should have access to high-quality, affordable healthcare, and House DFLers are working to make that vision a reality. The Health and Human Services budget we passed this week aims to expand healthcare coverage and build a better healthcare system for Minnesotans. It would codify important Affordable Care Act provisions – like those that protect people with preexisting conditions – into state law, pave the way for a public option, and make prescription drugs more affordable.
Child care providers stepped up to care for the children of essential workers during the pandemic, but many have struggled to keep their doors open due to declining enrollment and increased costs. Our Health and Human Services budget ensures that providers can keep serving children and families in communities across Minnesota. Several recommendations from the Family Child Care Task Force – which I co-chaired – are in the bill, including provisions that would:
The budget also invests in providing affordable child care to children from low-income families, supporting child care workers who currently receive poverty-level wages, and improving prenatal care and maternal health. I was proud to cast my vote in support of this important legislation!
Rent, Utility, and Energy Assistance Available
Several forms of assistance are available for Minnesotans who may be struggling to make ends meet due to COVID-19. Low- and moderate- income renters with overdue rent or utility bills may be eligible for assistance from the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency. To find out if you’re eligible, you can visit renthelpmn.org and download the renter checklist. Resources are available for landlords as well.
Additional help is available through the Energy Assistance Program. Eligible Minnesotans can get help with utility payments, disconnections or fuel deliveries, and repairing or replacing heating systems. You can find more information on the Minnesota Department of Commerce’s website.
Stay in Touch
If you’d like to stay informed as we work to deliver a budget that works for all Minnesotans, please like my Facebook page for regular updates. You can also take my legislative survey if you’d like to share your thoughts on the issues we’re debating. Feel free to share this email with family, friends, and neighbors who might be interested. If they’d like to receive these updates, they can sign up at http://bit.ly/WazlawikUpdates.
Please continue sharing your questions, ideas, and feedback and let me know if I can be of assistance. You can reach me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 651-296-3018.