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

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Legislative Update - May 15, 2019

Wednesday, May 15, 2019
 
 

Neighbors,

Both the Minnesota House and Senate have approved their state budgets (which I recapped here), and now conference committees are holding public hearings to identify similarities and reconcile differences between the House DFL and Senate Republican budgets.  

We call our budget the Minnesota Values Budget, because we believe it's more than just numbers on a spreadsheet – it reflects our values, and works toward building prosperity in our state. 

I heard a lot from folks in our community over the last year that we need to make sustainable, long-tern investments in the people of Minnesota – investments in our schools, health care, roads, transit, elders, and support for our working families. That's what we're doing - and we're closing corporate loopholes and lowering taxes for working Minnesota families. The Senate budget protects corporate tax loopholes and cuts basic health care services for hundreds of thousands of our neighbors and friends.

While budget negotiations continue, we've also been passing bills off the House floor. 

Housing
We passed a Housing Policy bill on the floor last week. There is a growing affordable housing crisis in Minnesota - in our budget we invest in policies to end homelessness, offer rental assistance and protection, housing preservation, new development, and affordable homeownership. Whether you're young or you're old, you should never have to worry about having a safe place to sleep at night.  Read morehere

Health Care
Last week, the House took bold action to reduce soaring prescription drug costs. Legislation I’ve co-sponsored would crack down on Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs), which act as a “middle man” between drug manufacturers and pharmacies. Drug manufacturers give PBMs rebates – or kickbacks – to encourage the PBM to place their product on the formulary, with no guarantee that the rebate will be passed on to consumers. Higher rebates are an incentive for PBMs not to consider less expensive drugs, and they encourage companies to raise list prices. All of this raises the price of prescription drugs for Minnesotans.

Our bill will improve transparency and accountability, and require PBMs to look out for the financial interests of their customers by seeking out deals that provide the lowest price. We absolutely need to increase transparency and accountability in health care to make sure that Minnesotans can afford the medications they need to survive. 


I became a member of the Civil Air Patrol, which has a bipartisan legislative squadron and assists in search and rescue missions


Elder Care 
Last week, we approved a package of strong reforms protecting seniors against abuse, neglect, assault, and other maltreatment in Minnesota assisted living facilities. Read more here

When they move to an assisted living facility, our parents and grandparents deserve the care they need to live with dignity and safety. These protections are long overdue, and will improve security and quality of life for our loved ones. 

Education
I know how important investing in education is for student and families. The House budget was inspired by the teachers, students, parents, and administrators who have spoken out about our need for more school funding to make sure that all students have access to a great education and opportunity. Fully funding education not only helps our students, teachers and schools, but it reduces reliance on local property taxes. Our schools have been forced to go back to voters year after year to seek more funding just to make ends meet. Here's how the House and Senate education budgets would impact the school districts in our community.





Taxes
While income inequality continues to grow in Minnesota, the DFL tax bill closes corporate tax loopholes, like offshore tax havens, in order to invest in education. It targets tax cuts toward working families, seniors, farmers, and small businesses. The proposal would also allow us to lower property taxes, and ensure that we have a fair tax structure while supporting the needs of our state. 

Thanks for following along, and please reach out if there is anything I can do to better serve you - less than a week to go in this year's legislative session!

Sincerely,

Hunter Cantrell
Your neighbor and State Representative
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