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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Hunter Cantrell (DFL)

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Legislative Update - March 18, 2019

Monday, March 18, 2019

Neighbors,
 
I want to thank everyone who came out to our transportation committee hearing in Savage last week! I presented my bill authorizing a feasibility study for a railway from St. Louis Park to Savage, as part of the larger “Dan Patch” commuter rail line between Minneapolis and Northfield. This line would help connect our community with the rest of the state, increasing job opportunities and access to affordable transportation.
 
No one testified against our bill, but many people testified to how unfair the Dan Patch gag rule is. This gag rule, prohibiting study of the line, was slipped into a bill under the cover of darkness in 2002. I stand with all members of our community in making sure that we have all options on the table to ease the headaches of commuting. It was great to get feedback from so many of you on the work we’re doing at the State Capitol!

Equal Rights Amendment
Last week, the Minnesota house voted to approve the Equal Rights Amendment bill. If approved by the Senate, there will be a question on the November 2020 ballot asking Minnesotans to vote on whether our state constitution should be amended to read "equality under the law shall not be abridged or denied on account of gender." We shouldn’t take for granted the equality that Minnesota women and men have fought for in life, in work, in schools, in healthcare, and in government. As I voted in favor of this bill, I wore the scarf of a dear friend of mine who recently passed away after fighting for her entire life to pass the Equal Rights Amendment. It’s now up to the Senate to pass this bill, so we can declare in a unified voice that everyone should have equality of opportunity in our state.

Click here to watch my floor speech in favor of the Equal Rights Amendment 

Public Committee Hearings
This past week I had bill hearings for several bills that will reduce the cost of prescription drugs (H.F. 1523), and make sure that health plans are no longer able to pull the rug out from under patients with conditions like epilepsy, depression, or MS by taking away coverage for their drugs mid-contract year (H.F. 1257).
 
I am committed to working with you to balance the scales for working families and retired folks in our community by making sure we get a fair deal on health care.
 
Great Start for All Minnesota Children Act 
All children should have a fair start in life. The House DFL is committed to putting those values into action with the first bill we introduced this session. The Great Start for All Minnesota Children Act received its first public hearing last week in the Early Childhood Finance and Policy committee. The bill makes new investments in early learning, child care, prenatal care, and home visiting. I’m proud to co-sponsor this bill, which more than 30 leading community organizations support. This bill, in addition to our efforts to make sure we fully fund education for all our students, will help give every child the best opportunities to succeed.
 
KSTP covered the March 7 hearing here.
 
Funding for our Schools
I am fighting hard to make sure that our schools and the students they serve have all the resources they need. I believe an investment in education is an investment in the future, which is why I'm thrilled to be a co-author on HF 882, a bill that will increase the general education funding formula for the next two years, and adjust the formula for inflation. Representative Alice Mann, Representative Sandy Masin, and I also introduced a resolution calling on the congress to fund its obligated 40% of special education costs (H.F.1279). A high quality education is essential to making sure that every student in our school district, and in all school districts across our state, have the best possible opportunities to succeed.
 
Thank you to everyone who took the time to write me a letter – I read every one!

Hunger and Homelessness
The issue of hunger and homelessness continues to affect more and more of our community members, which is why I introduced H.F. 1043 and H.F. 1049, both of which will help to reduce hunger and homelessness for our youth and our seniors in Minnesota.
 
This hits close to home for all of us, as families have been forced to sleep in cars in our community during some of our most severe weather over the past few years because there was no safe shelter for them. It is our responsibility to make sure no one goes without food and a safe place to stay, especially our neighbors who need us most.
 
Feel free to reach out to touch base, ask a question or bring an issue forward! You can reach me at rep.hunter.cantrell@house.mn and at 651-296-4212. It’s an honor to serve you and our community at the Capitol!
 
Sincerely,
Hunter Cantrell
State Representative
District 56A

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