I hope you will be able to get out and enjoy some upcoming beautiful weather, after the huge storms that have passed through here. Things have been quite busy in the legislature and I’m happy to share some updates with you.
House DFLers, Senate Republicans, and Governor Walz reached a bipartisan agreement to fully replenish the state’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund while also supporting frontline workers including health care workers, first responders, child care providers, food service and retail workers, and more with bonus checks.
With this compromise in law, the state of Minnesota is currently developing an online application system. Workers can sign up to receive updates at frontlinepay.mn.gov. We expect the system to be up and running in just a few weeks, and workers will have 45 days to apply once the application process opens. A full FAQ document, including eligibility information, is available here.
We passed our compromise veterans and military affairs supplemental budget bill with strong bipartisan support. This bill will take action to end veteran homelessness and provide assistance to veterans who need it. Our veterans provide us a priceless service and it is our duty as legislators to support them. This bill will now go to the Governor’s desk where he will sign it so we can continue supporting our veterans.
We passed legislation to regulate structured settlements, providing more protections and ensuring Minnesotans are less likely to be taken advantage of. Often Minnesotans will only receive a fraction of the settlement they are entitled to, a problem the Star Tribune highlighted late last fall and this bill will change that. We also passed a bill to create an ombudsman for foster care to begin the process to improve our foster care programs. Children in our foster system are very vulnerable, and it’s critical that we provide them with the protection and care they need for healthy and fulfilling lives.
In my last update I went over some of the omnibus bills we passed on various subjects. We are now meeting with the Senate in conference committees to hash out the differences and meet somewhere in the middle. Before that though, here are the remainder of the House DFL bills which reflect our vision for the budget that serves all Minnesotans.
Our Health and Human Services bill is focused on delivering clear results for all, including lower healthcare/drug costs, expanding access, improving workforce conditions, and so much more.
This is also where our early childhood funds are housed. Our plan to invest in child care and early learning will put thousands of the youngest Minnesotans on the path to success. It will also help parents to work, employers to grow, and communities to thrive - now and long into the future. I’m very proud of my work on this bill and happy to see it move forward.
Our tax bill will increase affordability for Minnesotans across the state. It’s getting harder for Minnesotans to pay their rent and mortgage. Our bill will reduce Minnesotans’ housing costs by making the biggest investment in property tax refunds and renter’s credits in decades. Overall, families with young children, senior citizens living on fixed incomes, and people with student loan debt will benefit the most from the tax bill passed by the house. We need to help those regular Minnesotans who need it most, not the most wealthy who are doing just fine.
We need to take the climate crisis seriously, as one of the fastest warming states in the country, Minnesota is already experiencing impacts of climate change. Our climate and energy bill prioritizes clean energy, funds for weatherization, electrifications of our transportation sector, and investments in energy storage. The more we invest in climate action now, the more we will save in the future by reducing the negative impacts of climate change.
Much of this session has been focused on making sure that the workers who helped make our economic recovery happen receive the aid they need, our labor bill lifts up workers and small businesses, particularly those in disadvantaged communities, and businesses owned by women, veterans, and people of color. This bill delivers Paid Family & Medical Leave and Earned Sick & Safe Time as well as resources like a Redevelopment Program to help local units of government improve blighted properties for development, and Small Business Recovery Grants for businesses that continue to be impacted by COVID, inflation, supply chain issues, and the workforce shortage.
In the Commerce bill we take measures to help Minnesotans through the creation of a Student Loan Advocate who will improve borrower outcomes, new steps to prevent catalytic converter and automobile theft, and increasing funding to fight fraud which targets seniors. Kids deserve to have a childhood without being targeted by harmful big tech algorithms. This bill would also prohibit social media platforms from delivering harmful user-created content to people under the age of 18.
Please feel free to reach out to me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 651-296-5387. 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, and follow my Facebook here. It’s an honor to represent our community. Please stay in touch.
Kaela Berg, District 56B
423 State Office Building
St. Paul, MN 55155