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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Heather Edelson (DFL)

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Legislative Update- June 22, 2020

Monday, June 22, 2020

Rep. Edelson


Dear Neighbors,

The special session concluded early Saturday morning after the House negotiated all night with the Senate on the Policing Accountability, CARES Act federal funding, and a jobs and local projects or “bonding” bill.

Unfortunately, an agreement could not be reached which means the legislature will reconvene in mid-July. Hopefully at that point a meaningful bipartisan compromise can be reached.

If I’m honest, I am disappointed. We must do better should we reconvene in July to deliver for Minnesotans.

Here’s an overview of the House proposals we passed without Senate support:

Re-Imagining our Public Safety Systems

We passed legislation that was carefully crafted by the People of Color and Indigenous (POCI) Caucus through their shared lived experiences. The bills establish practical and common-sense reforms like banning choke holds, increasing training around mental health and Autism awareness, and holds bad actors accountable by aiming to improve the checks and balances with the arbitration process in Minnesota.



Federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Funds Approved

The House also passed a bill to deliver $841 million in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding to Minnesota’s cities, counties, and towns, and make new investments in the people of Minnesota. Cities would receive $350 million in aid, counties would receive $467 million, and towns would receive $24 million. Of these funds, Edina would have received approximately $3.9 million.

New investments to help Minnesotans amid COVID were also included. Some of these provisions fund the following:

  • $21 million for a long overdue compensation increase for personal care assistants (PCAs) taking care of the most susceptible to contracting the virus
  • Funding for childcare assistance necessary to help childcare providers struggling during the pandemic
  • $18.5 million for overtime staffing for correctional officers
  • $6 million for the Minnesota Zoo
  • $4.1 million for suicide prevention and housing assistance for veterans

A Priority for the Future - Jobs and Local Projects

In mid-May, Minority Leader Daudt announced to the press he would not compromise on delivering a bonding bill to Minnesotans unless the Governor suspended his constitutional authority to end the peacetime emergency. This was a significant sticking point at the end of the regular legislative session.

Currently, 54 of the 55 states & territories in our country are in a state of emergency. Wisconsin is the only exception. The peacetime state of emergency has allowed Governor Walz to open the state’s toolbox and take quick, decisive action to protect Minnesotans through the COVID-19 pandemic. There is still too much we don’t know about COVID-19, and it’s far too early to declare that the emergency has passed. 

Holding hostage a bill at a time when our communities need local investment the most, which would boost our economy and put thousands back to work, is playing politics and I am very disappointed by this obstruction to progress for Edina and thousands of other communities across the state.


Vaping Awareness Education Legislation Crosses Finish Line

Last Summer my office convened a Summer Policy Working Group of bright youth from Edina, Lakeville, and surrounding areas.

This group of young leaders found that our Minnesota schools did not consistently teach about the harms of vaping in middle school. We drafted a bill and worked with educators, principals, and superintendents to ensure this could be improved and aimed at education as prevention.

The students met with the House Revisor’s office, surveyed health teachers across Minnesota, made compromises on language, and we ensured the bill was bipartisan with Senator Carla Nelson as the chief author in the Senate. Senator Nelson and I have both long been advocates of protecting youth from the harms of nicotine addiction.

I am beyond proud to report our bill passed the House and Senate during our special session and is headed to the Governor’s desk to become law!

Well done to all the students for your tireless work and a huge shout out to Arjun Maheshwari, our Edina student lead for his hard work! 


Next Steps

I am hopeful we will return to St. Paul in July to complete our critical work. Please reach out anytime at with feedback, ideas, or questions.

It’s an honor to represent you and our Edina families at the state legislature.


Heather Edelson

State Representative