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

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Legislative Update - April 12, 2019

Friday, April 12, 2019

Dear Friends and Neighbors,
We’re about to head out for our Easter and Passover break next week, but I wanted to share with you a quick update on our work at the legislature, and a roadmap of the final weeks ahead.
Hands-Free Cellphone Legislation
In Minnesota, 25 percent of crashes are attributed to distracted driving, causing 59 deaths and 223 serious injuries annually. Minnesotans deserve to be safe on our roads, which is why I have continued to support legislation requiring drivers to only use their phones in a hands-free mode when behind the wheel. The Minnesota House had already approved this bill, but this week we passed the consensus legislation agreed to by a House and Senate conference committee.  
Governor Walz signed the bill today, and the law will go into effect on August 1, 2019. You can read more about this new law here.
State of the State Address
Governor Walz delivered his first State of the State Address last week, speaking to the only legislature in the country not controlled by a single political party. The Governor shared stories of exceptional Minnesotans from all over the state, and called on each of us to come together to build a better Minnesota; this message will be especially needed in our final weeks of session. You can watch the State of the State Address below:

Snow Day Relief
You might look outside and still see snow, but I believe that spring is just around the corner! Snow has definitely been in abundance this winter (and second winter), which is why I was thrilled Governor Walz signed my Snow Day Relief bill last week. We had some differences from the legislation in the Senate, but we were able to come together to craft a bill that will help grant clarity and comfort to our schools and families, while also ensuring that hourly school employees aren’t left behind.

Budget Bills
When we return from the Easter and Passover break, we’ll start spending the majority of our time on the House floor, debating and voting on our budget proposals. The Senate will be doing the same, and it’s likely we’ll be producing different bills. Conference committees will be established, consisting of House and Senate members, to negotiate the state’s budget. The consensus legislation that comes back to the House and Senate could look very different to the proposals we’re working on now, but a final floor vote on these compromise bills is needed before they’re sent to Governor Walz for his signature.
Because we are crafting the state’s budget, there are some bills that are required to be passed in order to fund the work of our state. Past legislatures have had disagreements on budget bills that required special sessions to take place. This is not ideal, which is why additional deadlines have been agreed to by our leadership to better ensure that we’re building a budget that helps Minnesota, and that we’re doing so in a timely, transparent manner. I’ll be sure to update you as we move along in this budget process.
Constituent Visits
I want to take a moment to thank all the members of our community who find the time to come to St. Paul to make their voices heard. In the last few weeks alone I have met with folks from the building trades, social work students, and clean water advocates, just to name a few. Our work here in St. Paul is at its best when the public is engaged, and I love when constituents stop by my office.


Regardless of whether or not you’re able to come by for a visit, I want to hear your thoughts on our work at the Legislature. Please feel free to contact me at (651) 296-4244,, or like my Facebook page. I look forward to hearing from you.  

Representative Shelly Christensen
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