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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Robert Bierman (DFL)

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Legislative Update- Session Wrap Up

Friday, May 31, 2019
Dear Neighbors,
 
My colleagues and I finished approving a two-year state budget on Saturday morning. As one of the only divided legislatures in the country, I’m proud that we were able to find compromise to pass a budget that protects health care for 1.2 million Minnesotans, invests in our students, increases funding for special education, and includes the strongest wage theft protections in the country. The Governor signed the education budget bill into law yesterday, and is expected to approve the Health and Human Services budget bill later this week.
 

Addressing the Opioid Epidemic

Governor Walz also signed into law legislation that will help address the opioid epidemic, a crisis that continues to take more lives every year. This legislation invests in prevention, treatment, and recovery by holding opioid manufacturers and distributors accountable for their role in creating the crisis. These resources will help communities deal with the financial costs of the opioid epidemic and support those who are struggling with addiction.
 
Below in the review I’ve highlighted key accomplishments in education and health care, and legislative goals for the future. You can read a more comprehensive overview here.  
  

Wins for Minnesota

 

Education

The final compromise E-12 education budget will increase the per-pupil funding formula by 2% in 2020 and by another 2% in 2021. There is also funding to freeze the special education shortfalls or ‘cross subsidy’. The House proposal would have directed more investments toward special education to address the financial hardships our public schools are facing, but this is a good first step. The final education budget also extends voluntary pre-k programs for 4,000 Minnesota children.
 

Health Care

The House DFL focused on several health care priorities this session. We worked hard to protect health care access for over a million Minnesotans, including successfully addressing the rising costs of prescription drugs.
 
I was also pleased that the health budget includes numerous items to address disparities in mental and chemical health. One of these is a bill I chief authored this session. Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs) make navigating mental health and substance use disorder systems easier by creating a model of community clinics that provide comprehensive, coordinated, and integrated care to individuals with complex mental and chemical health conditions. My included legislation will move CCBHCs beyond a demonstration project.
 

Priorities for the Future

Our final state budget is the first step on a much longer road toward a more prosperous, more equal state. I’ll continue working with my colleagues to prioritize important measures such as emergency insulin affordability and accessibility, sustainable and long-term funding for our transportation infrastructure, paid family and medical leave, gun violence prevention, and clean energy initiatives so that all Minnesotans have the opportunity to stay safe and healthy.
 

Community Coffee

I’ll be hosting a community coffee hour next Saturday, June 8 at the Dunn Bros in Apple Valley. This will be a great opportunity to share your feedback and ask questions about the legislative session. I’d love to hear what’s on your mind! I have the details listed below:
  •  Saturday, June 8 at 9:00-10:00 a.m. at the Dunn Brothers Coffee in Apple Valley, 15265 Galaxie Ave, Apple Valley, MN 55124

Keep in Touch

Although we’ve adjourned until February, I’m working for our community year-round. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to share your thoughts on the session, and what we can work on together next year. If I can ever be of assistance to you and your family, please give me a call at 651-296-5506.
 
It’s an honor to represent you at the Capitol.
 
Sincerely,
Robert Bierman
State Representative
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