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

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Legislative Update: Omnibus Week

Saturday, April 23, 2022


Rep. Xiong


Dear neighbors,

It’s been a busy week at the Capitol. We came off of legislative spring break with more energy than ever and are working to pass many omnibus finance bills out of the Ways & Means Committee and on to the House Floor. This is the point of session where, especially in a divided legislature, our committees package all of their priorities into one bill so that they can better negotiate with the Senate. We’ve heard hundreds of bills in our 31 committees in the House since the start of session in February. You could say that this week is the start of the second act in the three-act play of legislative session, with the finale being bills signed into law. I’ll take a second in this e-update to detail to you the pieces I’m most excited about in each of our big bills.




Agriculture - Supporting Small and Emerging Farmers

  • Significant investment into sustainable ag and climate solutions; forever green, soil health, pollinator habitat support, plastic regulation, etc.
  • Making farmers’ lives easier; emergency funding for bird flu, meat processing grants, meat testing support.
  • $2.6 M for culturally appropriate services and technical assistance to immigrants and BIPOC farmers and businesses.
  • Increased investment for Urban Agriculture programs and Good Food Access.
  • $4 M for down payment grants to emerging farmers to purchase land, a piece of the Ag business that is often too far out of reach for our communities.
  • $4 M for hunger relief.

Climate - Include Communities of Color in the Clean Energy Transition

  • Invests $20 million in funding for a new Innovative Finance Authority, for new energy technology start-ups, and for advancements in creating tomorrow’s energy grid.
  • Helps consumers and consumer advocates keep energy costs down through proceedings at the PUC and financial securitization.
  • Appropriates $10 million per year for homeowner solar panel installation credits, $4 million per year for homeowner energy storage credits, and $5 million for income eligible homeowners to upgrade their outdated and unsafe electrical panels which will help thousands of Minnesotans upgrade their electrical panels.
  • Appropriates $500,000 for UNIDOS and New Justice Project to train people of color, low income, and immigrants in energy jobs.

Commerce - Protect Students, Ensure Fair Business Practices

  • Creates student loan advocates in the Department of Commerce that will help borrowers resolve issues they are having with schools, student loan servicers, or anyone connected to the student loan process.
  • Invests in additional funding to the auto-theft prevention program to curate an equipment library for local police departments as well as fund overtime requests.
  • Adds five additional peace officers to the Commerce Fraud Bureau with expanded jurisdiction.

Early Childhood - Ensuring a Great Start for Minnesotans

  • Provides early learning scholarships to more than 20,000 children starting at birth, prioritizing low-income and vulnerable children (homeless or highly mobile, incarcerated or teen parents, in foster care, etc.) and expanding income eligibility to 200% of poverty.
  • Supports caregivers and teachers in many other ways, including grants to family, friend, & neighbor (FFN) providers, bonuses to those who work with infants, and “Grow Your Own” grants to help caregiver and teachers attain a credential or degree.
  • Continues to strengthen state infrastructure around early care and learning, including through research and data collection on the early-childhood workforce, development of a model to fund the true cost (rather than artificially-low market rates) of high-quality care, and investments in IT and data-sharing.




Education - Addresses Constant Disparity

  • Addresses Minnesota’s racial disparities in school discipline by increasing the use of non exclusionary discipline and preventing the suspension and expulsion of students through grade three except in certain situations.
  • Makes significant investments in mental health support. The bill provides dedicated funds to hiring around 1,100 student personne, so that students have greater access to counselors, social workers, psychologists, and nurses.
  • Invests in special education and English learner cross-subsidies. The investment in special education cross-subsidy would reduce the cross-subsidy by about 50% of its current level, and the investment in the EL Cross-subsidy would eliminate that cross-subsidy by 2026.
  • Creates an Ethnic Studies requirement for graduation, and invests in relevant curriculum.

Environment - Historic Investment into Environmental Justice

  • House Democrats are committed to providing stronger protections for residents of environmental justice areas.
  • Protects Minnesotans from harmful “forever chemicals” such as PFAS
  • Requires greater accountability from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to protect people and communities in environmental justice areas.
  • Low income communities are disproportionately affected by environmental injustice, this omnibus bill addresses that.

Health - Promote Health in Underserved Communities

  • Changes MA eligibility for children under 21 so they have 12 months of continuous coverage. This is anticipated to keep an additional 15,888 children per month on MA.
  • Expands health care access with MinnesotaCare buy-in and by eliminating out of pocket costs in public health care programs.
  • The bill focuses on rebuilding a health care and caring workforce by expanding loan forgiveness programs for health professionals and increasing funding for mental health and caring workforce.
  • Prohibits discrimination based on race and ethnicity for organ transplants
  • Addresses Black maternal health by providing pregnant patients a designated support person while receiving care.

Higher Ed - Historic Investment in Students and BIPOC Opportunity

  • Invests $32 million to cover tuition and fees for students attending 2-year colleges from families making under $75k. Awards up to half the cost of tuition and fees for students from families making $125k.
  • Increases the State Grant award for roughly 72,000 students. 44% of Minnesota students receive a state grant award, with 59% of students of color receiving an award.
  • Double the Minnesota Indian Scholarship awards to help cover the full attendance for more students who are both Minnesota residents and either.
  • Makes historic investments in tribal colleges and support for Indigenous students.
  • Reforms the Board of Regents to allow for more BIPOC representation.

Housing - Housing as a Human Right, and Path to Homeownership

  • Provides $50 million for a three-year pilot program establishing a first-generation homebuyer downpayment assistance program.
  • Provides Deeply Affordable Housing using Housing Infrastructure Bonds to increase the amount of affordable housing units to cost burdened households.
  • BIPOC tenants are disproportionately evicted. This bill creates policy changes to reduce the number people evicted and the impact on one’s record.

Human Services - Provide for the Hungry and the Homeless

  • Revitalizes the state’s disability, substance use disorder(SUD), housing, and older adult workforce by incorporating multiple strategies to retain and attract the workforce.
  • Helps Minnesota families by investing in food security funding, investing into community resource hubs, and modifying the SNAP gross income limit.
  • Invests in child welfare, behavioral health, homelessness, and disabilities and older adults.

Judiciary - Fairness for All

  • How much money a person makes should not impact their ability to access liberty and justice. 
  • Provides salary equity between public defenders and prosecutors, ensuring that both sides have fair representation. 
  • Supports Civil Legal Services.

Labor -  Protect Workers

  • Prohibits non compete agreements and no poach clauses which serve only to limit worker mobility and keep wages low. The restrictive compacts are disproportionately harmful to low-wage and low-mobility workers.
  • Provides protection for more of Minnesota's workers.
  • Creates Veterans Employment Liaison position for newly discharged service members.

Legacy - Invests in the Health and Recreation of Our Communities

  • Invests $159 million for 46 programs into the Outdoor Heritage Fund. 81,000 acres of wildlife habitat will be impacted.
  • 6% Increase in the Parks and Trails and 8% increase in the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. 
  • Appropriates $47.4 million for the Clean Water Fund for several things like testing for pesticides and chemicals, lead service line replacement, and the Conservation Corps programs with youth.

Public Safety - Ensuring Safety in Our Communities

  • Provides huge investments in a holistic approach to community public safety that balances funding for community and law enforcement.
  • Includes proposals that mitigate the long term harmful effects of run-ins with the law and to remove barriers to turning your life around and moving beyond past mistakes, particularly for disproportionately impacted BIPOC communities.
  • Establishes an office for Missing and Murdered Black Women and Girls and creates a Missing and Murdered Indigenous Relatives reward find.

State Government - Ensuring that Government Works for the People

  • Improves Minnesota’s technological infrastructure now and into the future through modernization and security upgrades of the state’s software and IT systems.
  • Implements and expands policy changes to further secure our state’s elections and protect our election workers.
  • Establishes a commission to develop, design, and recommend to the legislature a new official state flag and seal and retires the existing one.

Taxes - Targeted Tax Help for those who need it

  • This “tax bill with a cause” uses targeted and significant tax cuts to benefit families, workers, and senior citizens in Minnesota. 
  • $3,000 credit for each child under 5 years old, allowing for more money to go to the significant costs of raising a child.

Transportation - Getting Where We Need to Go

  • Focuses on ensuring Minnesota can maximize the federal funds the state is receiving from the federal infrastructure bill (IIJA). Provides matching funds to leverage federal IIJA funding, including establishing financial and technical assistance for localities to seek federal funding.
  • Invests in further transportation system electrification and improvements to address climate impacts.
  • Reduces transit fares in the Metro to no more than $1 in July and August.

Workforce - Invest in Our Communities

  • Makes big investments in equity and economic opportunity for small business owners and BIPOC Minnesotans.
  • Appropriates $35 million for grants for small businesses that continue to struggle because of COVID, inflation, or other economic challenges. The appropriation would support grants to about 1, 200 bars, restaurants, salons, gyms, and other small businesses in MN.
  • Provides support for Main Street Revitalization to redevelop parts of the state with the greatest development needs, including parts of the Twin Cities damaged by civil unrest.

And that’s it! That’s all of the omnibus bills! If I missed something that you’ve been excited about, let me know, and I can include information on it in the next e-update.


Back to News Items: API Day at the Capitol

It was amazing to see so many members of our Minnesota API community this Thursday at the Capitol! Thank you to the Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans for bringing everyone together today. Our community is active and thriving. You can find video of the event here. 


Ban No-Knock Warrants

The Community came together this Thursday to call for action on the no-knock warrant ban, authored by my Eastside colleague, Rep. Athena Hollins. No-knock warrants are unsafe for both law enforcement and the public, and it’s only common sense to discontinue the use of them in Minnesota. Please help us in this fight, contact your legislators to let them know you support the measure and talk about it with your friends and family. We won’t be able to pass this legislature without public pressure.

Happy Earth Day! 

More than a billion people in 190 countries celebrate Earth Day. Many of them use this opportunity to plant a tree, bike to work, or make lifestyle adjustments. These may seem like small changes, but together, they can make a big impact! At the Capitol, I'm proud to support legislation that addresses the climate crisis and preserves Minnesota’s environment and natural resources.Here is some more information on this important day and 10 ways you can make a difference!

earth day

Free Park Day

This Saturday is free state park day in Minnesota! On four days in 2022, all 75 Minnesota state parks and state recreation areas will offer free admission to everyone. Mark your calendar for these fee-free dates:

  • Saturday, February 19
  • Saturday, April 23
  • Saturday, June 11
  • Friday, November 25

Minnesota state parks are open year-round, and there's a state park within 30 miles of most Minnesotans. With a free day in each season, it's a great opportunity to get out there and explore someplace new - or visit an old favorite at a new time of year! Whether you stay for the whole weekend or just spend a few hours outside, you'll make memories that will last a lifetime.

East Side Business Association 

It was good to see local neighborhood businesses coming together in-person for the first time since the start of the pandemic. East Side Area Business Association does great work. Visit here for more information.

State of the State

Governor Walz will deliver his annual State of the State address in the House of Representatives chamber on Sunday, April 24th at 6 p.m. You can watch the governor’s address live here.

Keep in Touch

As always, thank you for your attention to this rather lengthy e-update. I appreciate having such an active and diverse district. Please continue writing to me to express what you’d like to see happen at the Capitol. You can reach me at, or simply reply to this email.

In solidarity,


Jay Xiong

State Representative