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

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Legislative Update - May 6, 2019

Monday, May 6, 2019

Dear Neighbors,
The Minnesota House finished our initial work on our state’s budget last week. We made historic investments in education, health care, and safe and inclusive communities. Here’s an overview of the highlights of our budget.



E-12 Education
Every child deserves a world-class education, regardless of zip code, and our E-12 education budget seeks to do just that by investing in students, schools, and communities across the state. This bill was a high priority of the House DFL, and the first budget bill we approved this year. Highlights of the bill include:
  • Increase in per-pupil funding, 3% in 2020, 2% in 2021
  • Protected access to Pre-K programs for over 4,000 children
  • Expansion of courses for students to earn college credits and develop technical skills
This budget is inspired by parents, students, teachers, staff, and administrators. We heard loud and clear how growing class sizes and budget cuts have impacted the quality of instruction, support, and education in schools. As a former high school teacher, I've seen this firsthand. That is why we’re investing in our students so that they’re supported inside and outside the classroom, ensuring that communities across the state have access to resources such as mental health, housing, and the community services needed to be successful in school.

Clean Energy
The House DFL’s energy provisions are included in our Jobs & Energy budget, which has already entered into negotiations with the Senate. In addition to numerous proposals that invest in Minnesota’s growing clean energy economy, I’m extremely proud that legislation I originally co-authored to set a goal of 100% clean energy by 2050 was included in the budget. Minnesota is one of the fastest warming states in the country, and with the impacts of climate change already apparent in our state, it’s critical that we do everything in our power to meet this clean energy goal.
Health and Human Services
Our budget for Health and Human Services (HHS) prioritizes patients over the profits of drug companies, protects our most vulnerable Minnesotans, puts Minnesota on the pathway to a public health care option, and takes serious action to address the surge in youth tobacco use.
For too long drug companies have brought in record profits as Minnesotans struggle to afford their medication. We’re fighting to make sure the state of Minnesota is leveraging its purchasing power to lower drug prices, and to ensure that those who can’t afford their life-saving medication have access to those drugs.

Rep. Christensen during the House floor budget debate

Public Safety
It has been a true honor for me to serve on the Public Safety and Criminal Justice Reform Committee this session. The Public Safety budget was crafted through a community-centered lens where Minnesotans are kept safe, justice is better ensured, and a pathway beyond incarceration is clear. This included investments in making sure our correctional facilities are safer for correctional officers, the surrounding communities, and the incarcerated. Importantly, our budget funds 110 new corrections officers by 2022.
Serving on the Public Safety Committee, we heard the stories of too many families impacted by gun violence. We are committeed to taking on the epidemic of senseless gun violence. Minnesotans have been loud and clear that they want their legislators to find common-sense solutions like the criminal background checks on all gun sales and the extreme risk protection orders that are in this bill. This shouldn’t be a partisan issue; in fact, multiple Republican governors and legislators in seven states have helped enact gun violence prevention measures since 2018.
Minnesota Values Budget
The budget the DFL House has crafted is strong and sensible, and in the remaining weeks of session we’ll be putting our proposals up against those of the Senate. Our proposals could look very different when they come back from negotiations. In addition to the provisions I’ve already mentioned, there are numerous investments that we will fight especially hard for:
  • A tuition freeze for Minnesota’s public colleges and universities
  • Tax reform that provides actual reform for Minnesotans, including tax cuts for seniors and working families, and tax credits for farmers, small businesses, and veterans
  • Paid Family Leave & Medical Leave and Earned Sick & Safe Time, allowing Minnesotans to take time off to care for their children, family members, and themselves
  • Wage Theft Prevention, which would ensure Minnesota’s workers are given an hours pay for an hours work, and holding accountable those who deny workers their wages
  • A goal to plant one million trees in Minnesota over the next four years
Minnesotans deserve a state that lifts us up, invests in our communities, stands by our values, and protects our most vulnerable. It’s not perfect, but the House DFL budget is one that builds a better Minnesota, and I look forward to finalizing our budget this month.
Constituent Visits
Even during the busy weeks of budget work, I strive to make time to meet with constituents at the State Capitol. A group of students from St. Croix Preparatory Academy stopped by recently to talk about state government and what they’ve been studying in their law class. I think there might have been a few future legislators in the group!

Stay In Touch

Please reach out to me with your questions or comments on the legislative process at (651) 296-4244,, or like my Facebook page. I look forward to hearing from you!

Representative Shelly Christensen
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