After several months in session and a few weeks in overtime to finalize our budget, we adjourned early Thursday morning. Our budget invests in Minnesota and Minnesotans, looks to the future, and helps those harmed the most by the pandemic. Earlier today, Gov. Walz signed the remaining budget bills into law. You can read my statement here.
The bipartisan Transportation budget invests in all modes across the state by funding improvements for pedestrian and bike infrastructure, transit development and services, road safety improvements, freight and passenger rail projects. A provision I authored for local roads and bridges is also included in the bill. As a member of the House Transportation Committee, I learned so much about all our modes of travel and was honored to serve on the panel negotiating the final agreement.
The Health and Human Services budget is another significant measure, containing many provisions I authored, including:
Reduce Paperwork for SUD Treatment Providers (HF 2116)
The Department of Human Services (DHS) will work with stakeholders to seek ways to minimize regulatory paperwork. The DHS will also contract with a vendor having system improvements experience.
CFSS Driving (HF 1431)
This allows Child and Family Support Services (CFFS) workers to drive those they serve under the guidelines of instrumental activities of daily living (IADL).
Self-Directed Workforce Union Contract (SEIU Contract) (HF 1434)
Earlier this year, the state finished negotiations for the next contract, which: increases the wage floor, increases the paid time off; and increases the number of paid holidays from five to seven by adding two floating holidays. The budget ratifies the contract and includes related funding.
The bipartisan Housing agreement invests in affordable housing and establishes an orderly off-ramp to Minnesota’s COVID-19 eviction moratorium, resulting in more stability for both renters and landlords.
Passage of the Environment budget means Minnesotans can be assured that state parks, the zoo, and museums will remain open. The bill also contains Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR) recommendations for allocation of lottery money to fund research and habitat preservation. Stronger protection against harmful PFAS chemicals is also part of the budget.
The Jobs and Labor budget provides $8 million in childcare grants to increase the number of providers throughout Minnesota. The budget also includes the Helmets to Hardhats provision I authored, which connects transitioning active-duty military service members, veterans, National Guard and Reservists with skilled training opportunities in the construction industry.
The E-12 Education Budget provides funding for all Minnesota school districts, making the strongest level of investment in public schools in 15 years. It preserves 4,000 pre-K slots set to expire without action, makes historic investments in increasing the number of teachers of color and Indigenous teachers in Minnesota, and holds down special education and English Language Learner budget shortfalls. I’m pleased to announce the bill also includes grants funding for the Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota.
New Laws Take Effect July 1
Three new laws passed during the regular legislative session took effect on July 1, 2021. They relate to tax-forfeited land sales, pensions and claims against the state.
This information can be accessed at https://www.house.mn/hinfo/leginfo/0721nlrelease.pdf.
Summaries of laws passed by the 2021 Legislature in regular session are available online from nonpartisan House Public Information Services at http://www.house.mn/newlaws/#/search/2021.
COVID-19 Vaccination Update
The best way to protect everyone from COVID-19 is to get a vaccine. The Minnesota Department of Health reports more than 3 million Minnesotans have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Check out Minnesota’s COVID-19 mn.gov/vaccineconnector, or ask your health care provider to help you find a vaccine.
Stay connected with the Legislature
The Minnesota House of Representatives Public Information Services offers nonpartisan recaps of legislative action with their Session Daily publication. Subscribe here. To track bills of interest through the legislative process, I encourage you to utilize the MyBills feature on the Minnesota House of Representatives’ website.
I welcome your questions and comments anytime. You can send an email to email@example.com or can also call my legislative assistant, Joe Lenczewski at 651-296-5486.
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Thank you for the privilege of representing you in the legislature.