Yesterday was National Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Awareness Day. I joined many of my colleagues for a walk around the State Capitol complex to recognize this occasion. Too many Indigenous people have had to mourn missing or murdered loved ones, too often without answers or closure, and they deserve justice and healing.
Last week, the House and Senate reached a bipartisan agreement on a bill to deliver $500 million worth of bonus payments to frontline workers. Governor Walz quickly signed this compromise, and frontline workers can now visit frontlinepay.mn.gov to subscribe to important updates. Once the application process opens – a few weeks from now – workers will have 45 days to apply. A full FAQ document, including eligibility information, is available here.
Earlier this week, the House approved our Health and Human Services bill with several solutions to help reduce health care costs including more affordable health insurance options, lower prescription drug prices, reduced barriers to care for low- and middle-income Minnesotans and more.
The bill makes historic investments in services to help older adults, people with disabilities, and other vulnerable Minnesotans thrive in their communities. I’m proud the bill included several initiatives I originally offered, including my bills to expand shared services, life sharing, supported decision making, and community supports. The budget also funds a variety of other investments to address low pay and other problems that have created a workforce shortage in our caring professions. A fact sheet with more details about what’s in the bill is available here.
We know rising costs are top of mind for Minnesotans, and right now, it’s the single biggest challenge many people are facing. Wednesday, the House approved our Tax bill with a package of new tax credits and rebates to help Minnesotans have some extra money in their pockets. The majority of the benefits in the legislation will directly help families with young children, senior citizens living on fixed incomes, and people with student loan debt.
The plan expands eligibility and benefits under the Homestead Credit Refund and Renter’s Credit while making it easier for filers to apply. As a result, more than 150,000 additional renters will qualify, with an average benefit of $700. Statewide, 30% of Renter’s Credit recipients are seniors or people with disabilities. In addition, more than 1.3 million homes that currently qualify for the Homestead Credit will see a property tax cut. In all, the bill represents the biggest property tax cut for Minnesotans in the past two decades.
The legislation will help seniors by expanding the social security property tax exemption. As a result of this measure, no senior who has an adjusted gross income under $75,000 (married joint) or $58,600 (other filers) will pay one dime in income tax on their social security payments. To help people with student loan debt who struggle with payments, the bill increases the Student Loan Tax credit from $500 to $1,400.
A fact sheet about the bill is available here.
This week, the House passed a bill – as part of our Commerce budget bill – to address the increasing number of catalytic converter thefts, a problem communities across the state are facing. The legislation prohibits the possession of a detached catalytic converter with a few narrow exceptions, giving law enforcement the ability to hold thieves accountable and regulate those profiting from the theft, especially those found with multiple converters in their possession.
Monday, the Ramsey County Sheriff's Office in partnership with the Minnesota Commerce Fraud Bureau is offering catalytic converter marking kits as part of a pilot program lawmakers approved last year. The self-install kits include a label that is etched onto the metal of the catalytic converter after a brief installation process. The law requires these to be installed at no cost to vehicle owners. Businesses cannot charge for the installation of a program label, but they can require another service be performed to install a label.
Residents of Arden Hills, Falcon Heights, Little Canada, North Oaks, Shoreview, Vadnais Heights, and White Bear Township qualify to participate. Residents can visit the Ramsey County Sheriff's office (1411 Paul Kirkwold Dr., Arden Hills) to pick up their kit from 9 – 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Marking kits are only offered for certain vehicles at the highest risk of experiencing catalytic converter theft, and you can check if your vehicle qualifies by checking the list available here. Supplies are limited. For more information, contact the Ramsey County Sheriff's Office at 651-266-9333.
Please feel free to contact me directly with your viewpoints or if I can be of assistance. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org and my phone number is 651-296-0141. You can learn about bills that have been introduced here and keep track of the bills I’ve authored here.
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