It’s hard to believe May is almost here. With less than three weeks until adjournment, the House is continuing its work on the approving major components of the state budget.
Here’s an update from St. Paul:
Health and Human Services
Last week, the House approved the Health and Human Services budget. I supported it because of various measures in the bill to lower the cost of care and make prescription drug prices more affordable. The bill also addresses elder abuse, assault, neglect and other maltreatment in Minnesota’s assisted living facilities and nursing homes. You can read about the other major provisions in the budget here.
My bill to dedicate training funding for Emergency Medical Technicians was also included in the HHS budget.
The House Taxes was also approved last week. Half of the revenue raised in the bill comes from bringing back to Minnesota multinational corporations’ sheltered tax haven dollars from places like Bermuda and the Caymen Islands. Our seniors, farmers and small businesses shouldn’t have to pay more to make up for dollars that belong in Minnesota. Tax filing is also simplified for families through tax conformity and by raising the standard deduction. 96% of the bill framework originated from House Republicans’ tax plan last year, so I’m pleased with the fair balance struck that puts working families first. You can learn more here.
Last Tuesday, the House approved the Jobs and Energy budget bill. A cornerstone of the budget would deliver access to paid family and medical leave, and earned sick and safe time for Minnesotans. I’ve heard from too many in our community forced to choose between earning a paycheck, and taking care of a new baby, a sick loved one, or themselves. Wage theft protections for workers are also included in the bill. You can read more here.
The Transportation budget passed late yesterday in the House. This measure will dedicate sustainable funding through a nickel per year tax (over the next four years) to our roads and bridges for families and people traveling throughout the state. Older vehicles would see reduced tab fees through this proposal. I never want our first responders to be called in to a disaster like the 35W Bridge collapse again. Our transportation bill is bold, responsible, and a true investment in the people of Minnesota. You can read more here.
The two-year Public Safety and Judiciary budget was approved late last night. The bill includes funding for corrections, criminal apprehension, and other investments in a safer Minnesota. Following the tragic loss of two corrections officers within the last year in Minnesota prisons, the budget strengthens safety by funding 44 new correctional officer positions in 2020, 36 more in 2021, and 30 more in 2022. The bill also includes two significant measures to prevent gun violence in Minnesota. One would require criminal background checks to be performed prior to all gun sales and another would provide for Extreme Risk Protection Orders, allowing law enforcement to restrict access to firearms if a court determines a person may be a threat to themselves. A fact sheet about steps other states have taken to address gun violence is available here.
Keep in Touch
After the Minnesota House and Senate approve their respective budget bills, lawmakers from each chamber form a conference committee to reach agreement on a final, budget that will require compromise. Please keep the letters, emails, and calls coming. I appreciate your input on the state budget and other issues important to you.