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

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Legislative Update - May 31, 2019

Friday, May 31, 2019
Dear Neighbors,
 
The Minnesota Legislature wrapped up work for the year on Saturday morning. I’m proud that we were able to come together to bolster investments in education, protect access to health care for Minnesotans, and improve safety in our communities. A compromise was certainly necessary to reach agreement on the budget, and this meant some important work remains unfinished. With one of the only divided legislatures in the entire country, I’m happy about what we were able to achieve. Here’s an update on some of our bipartisan accomplishments.
 

Investments in Education

All students across the state deserve access to an excellent education. Our budget increases funding for Minnesota public schools by two percent each of the next two years. It also addresses special education costs – for which the federal government has never kept its promise – with a $90 million investment. I’m also pleased we extended opportunities for voluntary pre-kindergarten and expanded early learning scholarships, helping the youngest learners start their educational journeys from a solid foundation. A bill I authored to reduce paperwork for special education teachers was included in the final agreement.

I thank the many educators, parents, students, and community leaders who visited with me over the course of the session to share how important these investments and ideas are to our state’s future.
 

Protecting Health Care

This year, the funding source for Minnesota’s Health Care Access Fund was set to expire. This fund – created with bipartisan support over a generation ago – ensures more than one million Minnesotans have the opportunity to access the care they need through programs like MinnesotaCare and Medical Assistance. Our compromise budget maintains this funding into the future, and protects other forms of coverage like basic dental and vision care for low-income Minnesotans.
 
A bill I authored, in response to a concern brought to me by a Shoreview resident, was included in the final health care agreement. This bill improves the consumer-directed community supports (CDCS) system by expanding the program to allow for shared care and other flexible, non-traditional supports. Through the CDCS option, individuals accessing one of our Medical Assistance waivers are able to take ownership of the important decisions about their supports by managing their own funding and staff. It helps ensure that people with disabilities and their families have access to the services that are important to and for them. I’m grateful for these constituents who, by sharing valuable insights about how critical these supports are with other legislators, helped change this law.

 

Stopping Gender-Based Violence

 In Minnesota, survivors of sexual assault and other forms of gender-based violence have faced many roadblocks as they seek justice. These Minnesotans deserve to be listened to and believed, and those who commit these crimes need to be held accountable. This session we made it a priority to strengthen our laws to ensure they can be, and I’m pleased some initiatives I chief-authored were included in our bipartisan Public Safety budget.
 
One creates a working group to examine the state’s current criminal sexual conduct statutes. There are currently many loopholes and inconsistencies, creating situations in which an assault has occurred but prosecution is extremely difficult.
 
Another measure would direct the state’s Peace Officer Standards and Training Board to create a model sexual assault investigation policy for law enforcement agencies and require them to adopt a clear policy for these cases. Too often, the level of trauma experienced by survivors isn’t fully recognized over the course of investigations, which can present difficulties in bringing charges. The public safety bill also includes my provision to clarify the definition of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, enabling prosecutors to hold offenders who abuse children accountable.
 
Other measures we got across the finish line included: getting rid of the exemption for unwanted touching of the buttocks from the criminal sexual conduct statute; creation of a task force to investigate the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women endemic; allowing domestic abuse no contact order violations to be admitted into evidence; establishing criminal penalties for peace officers who have sexual relations with people in custody; and broadening the definition of “position of authority” in the criminal sexual conduct statutes. This progress was only possible because of the victims, survivors, and advocates who shared their voices and highlighted the numerous ways in which our state must improve the way we handle these heinous, unimaginable actions.
 

Mitchell’s Law 

The compromise transportation budget included “Mitchell’s Law,” my bill to give Minnesotans the option to list emergency contacts on a driver’s license application. Mitchell, an Arden Hills resident who was in an auto accident resulting in a traumatic brain injury, brought me the idea for the legislation. After his crash, it took over eight hours for first responders to find out who from his family to notify. This bill permits those who apply for a driver’s license or identification card to provide up to three emergency contacts who first responders can notify in the event of an emergency.

 

Town Hall Meeting

Here’s a reminder about the Town Hall Meeting coming up on Saturday, June 8 with Rep. Jamie Becker Finn and Sen. Jason Isaacson. We will meet at the Shoreview Library from 10:30 a.m. to noon. Everyone in the community is welcome and the event is nonpartisan. I hope you can join us.
 

Let’s Stay Connected

While the House is adjourned until February 11, 2020, I’ll still be working on many important issues. House committees may hold public hearings during this interim period, too. I plan to continue tweeting about things I’m working on and posting about them on Facebook. To see the bills I've authored and co-authored, please click here. 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. I also hope to see you Saturday, June 8 for the Town Hall at the Shoreview Library.
 
It’s an honor to represent you at the Capitol.
 
Sincerely,
 
Kelly Moller
State Representative