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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Michelle (Shelly) Christensen (DFL)

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Legislative Update - March 27, 2019

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Dear Friends and Neighbors,
We’re a little over halfway through my first legislative session, and with budget targets announced, we’re starting to craft the major elements of Minnesota’s budget. We’ve also been voting on important pieces of legislation on the House floor, and we’re meeting with our colleagues in the Senate to find common ground on our bills. Here’s an update on what’s been happening in St. Paul this last week.
Snow Day Relief
I had the amazing experience of passing a bill I authored off the House floor that will help schools all over the state. With record snowfall and dangerously low temperatures, schools across the state made the responsible decision to close for multiple days this winter. My bill would grant clarity to school districts and families, while also supporting hourly employees, by allowing select snow days to be marked as instructional days. Similar but not identical language was passed in the Senate, but last evening we came to a compromise in our conference committee of House and Senate members. The next step will be a final vote in both bodies before sending the bill to Governor Walz. You can watch my comments from the House floor debate below. 

Rep. Christensen's remarks on snow day relief. 
Highway 36 Interchange

Another important piece of legislation I've been working on for our community is HF 1342, which would provide funding for a much-needed interchange at Highway 36 and Manning Avenue. Thank you to Washington County Commissioner Gary Kriesel, who joined me in the House Capital Investment Committee to testify in favor of this bill. This area has been a traffic burden for too long, and our growing community deserves sustaining roadways. I'll be sure to update you as this bill continues through the legislative process. 

Holding Opioid Manufacturers Accountable
Minnesota, and much of the country, is in an opioid crisis. In 2017, over 2,000 Minnesotans were brought to the emergency room for opioid-involved overdoses, and that same year over 400 died from those overdoses. We’re taking this crisis head-on, and we’re making sure opioid manufacturers are being held accountable. While Minnesotans are dying, pharmaceutical companies are seeing billions in profits, and it’s time they became part of the solution.
Legislation that does just that recently passed the Minnesota House, and it’s a bill I was proud to vote for and co-author. You can read more about the impact of the opioid crisis and what we’re doing to solve it here.

Improve Sexual Harassment Laws
All Minnesotans deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, and the path to that goal includes updating and strengthening Minnesota’s sexual harassment laws. The definition of sexual harassment hasn’t changed in state statute for almost 40 years. In the meantime, over 80 percent of women report being sexually harassed in the workplace. HF 10, another bill I wholeheartedly support and co-authored, passed off the House floor last week with bipartisan support, and it’s a great step toward a more equal Minnesota.
You can read more about our efforts to address and update sexual harassment statute here.


Oak Park Heights – 60th Street Realignment
Special thanks to Mayor Mary McComber for joining me in the House Capital Investment Committee as we testified on my bill to realign and improve the 60thStreet and Norell Avenue intersection. This area is a hotspot for traffic delays and safety concerns, and I’ll be working with the legislature to ensure that our community’s issues with this intersection are addressed.

Thank You!
Thank you to everyone who attended my first community listening session on March 16. Schedules didn’t permit Majority Leader Winkler to attend, but I’m happy with the robust and spirited discussion we were able to have. Our work here at the State Capitol is at its best when the public in involved, and I hope you continue to reach out to me with your questions and comments on the legislative process.
As always, you can reach me at (651) 296-4244,, or like my Facebook page. I look forward to hearing from you.
Representative Shelly Christensen
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