I hope this finds you well and looking forward to a brighter and warmer month. It’s hard to believe May is already upon us. There are less than three weeks until the legislature is constitutionally required to adjourn. I’m optimistic about an orderly end to session with the progress we’ve made. Important priorities are taking shape in the Legislature, and we’re working hard in the House to get these across the finish line. Here’s an update from the Capitol:
Supporting Businesses and Workers
The House, Senate, and Governor Walz reached a bipartisan agreement last week to both replenish the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund deliver bonus checks to frontline workers. Last year’s bipartisan budget agreement set aside a portion of the projected surplus to thank our frontline heroes –first responders, child care providers, food service and retail workers, and more – for their sacrifice while helping businesses avoid a tax increase when many of them faced hardship due to no fault of their own. $500 million will be available for bonus checks – about $750 each. If you worked in health care, food service, or education for at least 120 hours from March 15, 2020 to June 30, 2021, you may be eligible for a hero check. Visit www.frontlinepay.mn.gov to see if you’re eligible.
Because some employers already paid their UI taxes for the first quarter of 2022, the bill calls for the Minnesota Department of Employment & Economic Development (DEED) to issue credits or refunds to employers. In addition, the new law wipes out penalties and interest accrued on first quarter taxes due on April 30 but not paid before May 31, 2022. If you’re an employer or know someone who is, there is more information available about what to expect next here.
Supporting our Students
Last week, the House passed our E-12 Education budget delivering over $3 billion in investments of the $9.25 billion surplus to support students, families, public schools, and school staff. The budget invests $475 million to allow schools to hire about 1,100 more counselors, social workers, psychologists, and nurses, who all play a critical role in student success and development, and addresses school districts’ unfunded special education and English learner costs, known as “cross-subsidies.” Closing these funding shortfalls will allow our schools to hire more teachers, reduce class sizes, and provide more opportunities to meet the individualized needs of our students.
Plymouth’s excellent public schools have long been a crown jewel for our state, but we know the challenges our districts have faced, especially as a result of the pandemic. With a historic budget surplus, students, families, and educators are counting on lawmakers to respond with investments to meet this moment.
If passed into law, here’s how our local school districts would benefit:
Kudos to Minnesota’s 2022 National Merit Scholars! Special shout out to recipients Saanjhi Shahdadpuri, and David Peng Xu of Wayzata High School.
On Friday, the House advanced our Higher Education supplemental budget bill, which makes $100 million in investments to improve college affordability, accessibility and well-being, and safety. Legislation I’ve authored was included, which would increase access to higher education for students with intellectual disabilities. I spoke to the need on the House Floor and I’m glad we were able to pass this critical legislation.
Construction on County Road 47
Phase 1 of County Road 47 construction from Brockton Lane to Troy Lane got underway late this week, removing roadway pavement and salvaging topsoil. This week, roadway grading and removals will begin. County Road 47 is closed to traffic in the project area and residents are encouraged to follow traffic control signage and detours. I continue to advocate for state bond aid to get this roadway fixed quickly and efficiently so everyone- students, families, commuters, and all Minnesotans passing through- can make it to their destination safely. I recently spoke to CCX news about the project, and you can check out the segment here.
Keep in Touch
Please continue to reach out anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-296-5511 with feedback, questions, or ideas. Your input drives our work at the Capitol, and I’m grateful for your collaboration. You’re also welcome to follow me on my Facebook page for more updates.
Thank you for the honor of elevating our Plymouth voices in St. Paul.