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

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Update from the State Legislature

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Rep. Bierman

 

Dear Neighbors,

Our work continues in the Minnesota House. We have reached agreement with the Senate on bipartisan ‘targets,’ or the framework in each major area of the budget, that prioritize students, families, workers, and small businesses. These targets are a roadmap to finish the legislative session. After a year of unprecedented challenges, and with federal COVID relief funding having arrived, we have the resources to help the Minnesotans who have sacrificed and suffered the most while investing in a state that works better for everyone.

 

Budget Agreement

 

Conference committees will continue to meet and work to finalize major policy and fiscal components that stay within the budget parameters the House and Senate have set. House and Senate majorities will negotiate details of the budget agreement in the coming weeks with the opportunity for the public to weigh in. The House and Senate will also continue to work until we are called in for a special session by Governor Walz, which could be as soon as early June. I’ll keep you posted on the timing of the special session as we learn more information.

Yesterday the House passed compromise policy language in the areas of Agriculture, State Government Finance, Veterans and Military Affairs Finance, and Elections, and Health and Human Services. We also passed important legislation that improves mental health access and increases clean energy opportunities in Minnesota.


Minnesota will join a PYSPACT

The House approved legislation on a vote of 133-0 that would allow Minnesota to join PSYPACT, an interstate compact under which licensed psychologists may practice telepsychology and conduct temporary in-person psychology across state boundaries. The compact became operational in 2019 when a seventh state enacted it. Right now, 20 states have enacted the compact, additional states are joining soon, and there is pending legislation to do so in others. At a time when mental health support is needed now more than ever, passage of this measure will help address psychologist shortages and get Minnesotans the care they need.


ECO Act

The Minnesota House of Representatives approved the House/Senate Conference Committee Report with my support to improve energy efficiency and cost savings opportunities across the state.

The Energy Conservation and Optimization Act of 2021 updates the conservation and improvement program (CIP) statutes, providing utilities with flexibility to meet energy savings goals instead of conservation spending goals. The new focus on outcomes, instead of spending, will allow utilities to pursue more effective energy savings opportunities.

Some of the changes to CIP under the bill include allowing utilities to improve service by implementing efficient fuel switching and load management within CIP, establishing separate sections in statutes for investor-owned utilities (Xcel, Minnesota Power, Great River Energy, CenterPoint, and others) and customer-owned utilities (municipal and cooperative-owned) that better reflect their needs. The bill also expands opportunities for low-income households to benefit from energy-efficient improvements.


Keep in Touch

Please continue to reach out anytime at rep.robert.bierman@house.mn or 651-296-5506 with input or questions. The session has adjourned, but the work continues. I’m always happy to help if you need assistance.

Thank you for the honor of representing our Apple Valley and Lakeville neighbors at the State Capitol.

Sincerely,

Robert Bierman

State Representative

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