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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Jay Xiong (DFL)

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Special Session Adjourns; State Budget Approved

Thursday, July 8, 2021
Rep. Xiong

Dear Neighbors,

I hope you were able to enjoy the Fourth over the holiday weekend.

Last week, the House adjourned the special session after completing all areas of the state budget.


Here’s a look what we passed:

Improving Public Safety 

We all deserve to be safe in our homes, schools, workplaces, and communities. The Public Safety and Judiciary budget we approved last week aims to improve police accountability, support community organizations working to improve safety and prevent violence, and build trust between law enforcement professionals and the people they serve. The bill also addresses economic inequalities in our criminal justice system.  

A few highlights include:

  • Increased services and support for survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence
  • Significant reforms to Minnesota’s fines and fees structure, which as it’s set currently, is disproportionally impacting our neighbors of color
  • Updates to the state DWI law by expanding the use of ignition interlock to keep people safe on the road
  • Increased funding for public defenders and court interpreters; the latter of the two is a result of the legislation I’ve been carrying to improve access to the legal system for non- English speakers.

Protecting Our Environment and Natural Resources  

We all ought to have clean air, clean water, and plenty of places and opportunities to spend time outdoors in our great state. The Environment and Natural Resources budget protects humans and wildlife from pollution, harmful chemicals, and other serious threats. It addresses several environmental issues, including chronic wasting disease (CWD) and invasive species like emerald ash borer (EAB), and creates more opportunities for children and teenagers to get outdoors and participate in recreational activities.   


Expanding Access to Affordable Health Care  

Our Health and Human Services budget aims to improve Minnesota’s health care system and expand access to affordable care. It invests in our public health infrastructure, strengthens behavioral and mental health services, addresses inequities in maternal and infant health outcomes, increases pay for personal care assistants (PCAs) who help people live independently, and more.


Investing in Minnesota Schools  

This session, we delivered the largest investment in public schools in 15 years. Our early childhood – 12 grade education budget increases student funding by 2.45 percent this coming year and another 2 percent the following year.

This funding will help our Saint Paul public schools retain teachers, keep class sizes from growing, and provide academic and emotional support for students who experienced learning disruptions and other challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. The budget also preserves voluntary pre-Kindergarten opportunities, addresses special education and English learner needs, and invests in recruiting and retaining teachers of color and Indigenous teachers.   


More Information about the State Budget 

If you’d like to read more about a particular area of the budget, you can click on the following links for a nonpartisan summary from House Public Information Services: LegacyAgriculture and BroadbandHigher EducationCommerce, Climate, and EnergyTransportationHousingEnvironment and Natural ResourcesJobs and LaborE-12 EducationHealth and Human ServicesPublic Safety and JudiciaryState Government, Elections, and Veterans; and Taxes

New Laws Take Effect

New laws passed during the regular legislative session went into effect July 1. These relate to tax-forfeited land sales, pensions and claims against the state.

Summaries of all laws passed by the 2021 Legislature in regular session are available online from nonpartisan House Public Information Services here. New laws that go into effect from the legislation we passed in special session will be added to the list in the next few weeks.

Legislative Report

I’m currently compiling a legislative report, which details some of my work for our Eastside community. It will be mailed via USPS and sent electronically later this summer. If you’d like to sign up to receive a paper copy, please respond to this email with your address and I’ll be sure to mail you one.

Keep in Touch

Please continue to reach out anytime with input, questions, or to let me know how I can help. It’s an honor to serve our Eastside community at the State Capitol.

Take care and have a great weekend.

In solidarity,

Jay Xiong

State Representative