The Legislature convened a special session on June 14 and we have been hard at work in final negotiations crafting bipartisan budget bills that will fund our state for the next two years. Details on the overall budget agreement and where the Legislature currently is in the process can be found here.
Current Status of Budget Bills
We’ve reached bipartisan compromise on most budget areas. Here are a few highlights of the bills we have passed thus far.
- Higher Education: Makes investments to ensure students can recover from the unprecedented challenges they’ve faced over the past year. It will help ensure young people have the ability to thrive as they move forward in the post-pandemic workforce.
- Agriculture: Invests in emerging farmer outreach, urban and youth agriculture, the Farm-to-School initiative, Good Food Access, and funding for environmentally-friendly production practices and conservation techniques.
- Legacy: Invests proceeds from the voter-approved constitutional amendment to protect and enhance Minnesota's outdoor heritage, clean water, arts and cultural heritage, and parks and trails. This year’s bill includes water safety grants, including funding to provide scholarships to low-income and at-risk children. Here are some tips from the Minnesota DNR so everyone can enjoy the water safely on a boat, at the beach, or in a pool.
- Climate & Energy: Wind is currently the cheapest form of electricity. Solar, which is already cheaper than any new fossil fuel plants, is expected to be cheaper than wind within five years. House DFLers are committed to helping Minnesotans save money on their energy bills and take advantage of potential savings. For example, we secured funding to install solar energy panels on schools.
- Commerce: The final Commerce budget tackles the record-high catalytic converter theft problem with a series of reforms to deter theft and keep Minnesotans’ cars intact. This bill gives law enforcement, scrap metal dealers, and consumers ways to deter thefts by adding identification numbers and unique markers to make it harder to sell stolen parts. Minnesotans want action like this, not just bigger penalties.
- Transportation: Minnesota students deserve to be safe traveling to and from school. Our bill prioritizes student safety by investing in safe routes to school to assist cities, counties, and towns statewide with local infrastructure projects to help ensure that students can safely walk or bike to school. The budget also contains grants to install cameras on school bus stop arms to help catch and enforce stop arm violations.
- Housing: Too many Minnesotans are without shelter, trapping families in a cycle of poverty. Our bipartisan agreement maintains funding for Family Homelessness Prevention and Assistance and establishes a new Shelter Provider Task Force to better address ending homelessness and helping at-risk families. If you are behind on rent or utilities, apply for aid here.
- Jobs and Labor: Too many Minnesotans are struggling with the high cost of child care, which poses a significant barrier to getting a job and having economic security. DFLers led the way to secure a historic investment to expand access to affordable child care across the state.
- Environment and Natural resources: We need to create more opportunities for children and young adults to get outdoors and participate in recreational activities. Investments in programs like No Child Left Inside can help inspire the next generation of Minnesotans to appreciate and enjoy the great outdoors.
There are a couple budget bills that have been agreed to but still need to be heard, debated, and discussed on the House Floor. So far, bipartisan agreement has been reached on the following bills:
- Health and Human Services
Public Safety still remains but we expect it will be wrapped up soon to avoid government shutdown.These discussions are critically important as there are reforms needed to ensure all Minnesotans are safe in their communities.
It’s Pollinator Week! This week recognizes the critical role pollinators play in our everyday lives. Our pollinators are in increasing danger and we have to each do our part in helping them recover. Consider planting a native pollinator plant or reducing your use of pesticides this week! You can read more about this week here.
Stay in Touch
I always appreciate hearing from you, so please feel free to share your questions, ideas, and feedback. Feel free to reach out to me by email at email@example.com or by phone at 651-296-9249. If you’d like to schedule a time to chat by phone or zoom, I’m happy to do that as well. If you have a friend, neighbor, or relative who wants to receive updates about the Legislature, let them know they can subscribe to my email list here, you can also follow my Facebook page here.
It’s an honor to represent our community. Please be safe and stay in touch.
With gratitude and hope,
Rep.Liz Boldon, District 25B
533 State Office Building
St. Paul, MN 55155