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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Kelly Moller (DFL)

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Legislative Update - May 15, 2019

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Dear Neighbors,
 
We’re in the final week of the legislative session, with a constitutional deadline to adjourn by Monday night at midnight. Leaders of the House and Senate along with Governor Walz are working to come to an overall agreement on the state budget. Once this agreement is set, House/Senate conference committees for each area of the budget can start working through various investments.

 

Public Safety/Judiciary Conference Committee

I’m honored to have been appointed one of the five House members to serve on the conference committee developing a compromise Public Safety/Judiciary budget. We’re working to include strong investments in our corrections institutions to improve safety, fair funding for the courts, and other initiatives I’ve worked on this session, including protections against sexual harassment and gender-based violence.
 
Yesterday, our conference committee discussed two gun violence prevention measures. One would expand criminal background checks prior to gun sales, and another would provide for “red flag” laws which would allow law enforcement officials to temporarily restrict access to firearms if a court of law determines an individual may be a threat to themselves or others.
 
As recent polling has indicated, there is broad support in Minnesota for these gun violence prevention bills. I appreciate the advocacy of Reps. Pinto and Richardson, along with those who testified about the bills, including the law enforcement community speaking in favor. In spite of the strong support for these common-sense measures, the Republicans on the conference committee voted with the NRA lobbyist, who testified in opposition. Here are my comments from the meeting.

 

Education Funding

All Minnesota students deserve access to excellent schools. The level of investments in education remains one of the budget disagreements between the House and Senate. Years of underfunding have meant larger class sizes, teacher layoffs, and less access to critical support staff like school counselors, social workers, and psychologists. For Mounds View Public Schools, this graph illustrates the funding difference between each of the education funding proposals under consideration.

The Senate’s plan doesn’t even cover inflation. I remain committed to an E-12 Education budget which will allow all of our students the opportunity to succeed.
 

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women

 
As work on the budget proceeds, we’re still advancing bipartisan legislation on the House Floor. Last week, we approved HF 70, a bill to create a task force to investigate the epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous women in Minnesota. In the House Public Safety Committee we heard heartbreaking stories from those in our Native communities about the violence and trauma they’ve experienced.
 
Currently, there is no state or national system in place to collect data on missing and murdered Native women in Minnesota. 5,712 cases of missing and murdered indigenous women were reported in 2016 but only 116 were logged in a Department of Justice database. The task force would be charged with gaining a better understanding of the causes of violence against Indigenous women and to reduce and prevent violence where it is happening.
 

Protecting Seniors and Vulnerable Adults

In 2017, the Star Tribune published a multi-part story on rampant assault, abuse, neglect and other crimes in Minnesota’s senior care facilities and a lack of adequate response from state investigators to complaints about them. Shortly thereafter, AARP Minnesota convened an Elder Abuse Consumer Workgroup to develop solutions addressing these problems.
 
Last week, the House approved HF 90, a package of strong reforms protecting seniors and vulnerable adults against abuse, neglect, assault, and other maltreatment in Minnesota assisted living facilities and nursing homes. Currently, Minnesota is the only state in the nation without licensure of assisted living facilities, and this legislation would provide for that. Additionally, the ability of a resident to have a camera in their living space, a prohibition on deceptive marketing practices, and clarification of the rights of residents and their families are all included in the bill.
 
While receiving the care they need, all Minnesota seniors deserve to live with dignity in safe environments, and this bill will help ensure they can.
 

Let’s Stay Connected

 
I am working on many important issues at the Capitol. Often I tweet about them or post them on Facebook. To see the bills I've authored and co-authored, please click here. To follow bills through the legislative process, you can use the MyBills service on the Legislature’s website. Additionally, Session Daily provides regular nonpartisan recaps of legislative activity.
 
If you have any questions for me or concerns about issues, please feel free to email me or call to schedule a meeting. Don’t forget about the Town Hall Meeting coming up on June 8 with Sen. Isaacson and Rep. Becker-Finn at the Shoreview Library.

It’s an honor to represent you at the Capitol.
 
Sincerely,
 
Kelly Moller
State Representative