For the last two weeks, the House has been passing components of our budget on the House floor to improve the lives of Minnesotans, and make honest, long-term investments in our state by providing better investments in education, building our transportation infrastructure for the future, and reducing the cost of health care. From here, members of the House and Senate will meet to sort out differences between our bills. With your feedback, my colleagues and I have put together a budget that reflects our bipartisan values.
Let me know what you think about the work we've done so far this session! I want to hear from you. Share your thoughts here.
Here's a quick overview:
As a member of the Health and Human Services Committee, I'm proud of the budget bill (HF2414) that Chair Tina Liebling, committee members, and I put together. It strengthens health care for all Minnesotans by lowering the cost of care, making drug prices more affordable by holding Big Pharma accountable, addressing health disparities, and improving the quality of health care for retired Minnesotans. Importantly, it maintains funding for the Health Care Access Fund, which enables innovation in care, and provides access to care for more than one million low-income Minnesotans.
We also passed my amendment that will ban the harmful, unscientific, and discredited practice of conversion therapy for minors in Minnesota. Almost every major medical organization supports my bill-turned-amendment, and now, we are one step closer to banning conversion therapy. No therapy should harm children, and no therapy should be deceptive - all Minnesotans deserve the highest standard of care.
Under our budget in the House, Minnesotans who purchase their health insurance through a private plan in the individual market will receive a 20 percent direct premium discount, instead of our state government giving hand-outs to the insurance industry.
The House DFL education budget is inspired by parents, students, teachers, staff, and administrators who I've had the opportunity to hear from about how budget cuts and growing class sizes have impacted the quality of instruction, support, and education in our schools.
Our budget will increase funding by approximately $701 per student in the Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District, and $462 per student in the Prior Lake-Savage School District. Our students, teachers and neighbors deserve better than what we're getting now. In Savage, we've had to rely on raising property taxes and asking our neighbors to chip in more because the state hasn't fulfilled its commitment to funding our schools. ISD 191 announced a $7 million budget shortfall in February, and we are on the verge of major teacher layoffs.
Thank you to everyone who attended our town hall at Eagle Ridge Middle School! We had a great conversation about fully funding education, stabilizing the underfunding of special education resources, lowering the cost of healthcare and prescription drugs, and investing in infrastructure.
Minnesotans deserve a tax system that's fair and provides the resources our state needs to succeed. The House DFL tax bill gets us there by leveling the playing field for working families, farmers, senior citizens, and small businesses. It holds corporations accountable for using tax loopholes and offshore tax havens to get out of paying their share.
Our transportation budget makes responsible investments to fix our state's roads, bridges, and transit. The American Society of Civil Engineers rated Minnesota’s roads as “D+” on their most recent infrastructure report card. Bridges received a “C” and transit was awarded a “C-.”
The House DFL Majority’s transportation budget prioritizes better access to transit for Minnesotans who need to get to work, school, and to just live their lives. Part of that includes my provision to finally repeal the gag rule on study of the Dan Patch Rail line, which was built about 100 years ago. The gag rule repeal has had bipartisan support. Every city in Scott County has signed on to a resolution calling for its repeal, which would be the first step toward providing better transportation alternatives for folks in our community who travel north of the river.
We passed a public safety and judiciary budget that includes two significant measures to prevent gun-related deaths in Minnesota. One would require criminal background checks on all gun sales; the other would allow law enforcement to restrict access to firearms if a court determines a person is a threat to themselves or others. This is an issue that has been contentious in Minnesota, but both of these bills are common-sense measures that have had bipartisan support across the country. They will allow all people in our community, lawful gun owners included, to rest easier, knowing that there are safeguards to make sure weapons don't fall into the wrong hands.
The safety of all Minnesotans, especially our students, is a nonpartisan issue and I greatly appreciate all the perspectives members of our community have shared with me over the mast many months.
Thanks for following along, and please reach out if there is anything I can do to better serve you!
Your neighbor and State Representative