Legislative Update - April 13, 2019
Saturday, April 13, 2019
I think the only good news about this weather is that I’ve hardly had time to notice it – we’ve been busy at the legislature putting together our committees’ final budgets. We’re putting in long hours and days for you, and I’m proud of the work we’ve done! Here’s an update.
ACLU Day on the Hill
Wednesday was the American Civil Liberties Union Day on the Hill. I was proud to stand with them as they advocated for the freedom of all Minnesotans to earn their driver’s licenses. The house passed this measure last week, and I urge our Senate counterparts to do the same. This bill is about dignity, safety, and compassion.
We also talked about restoring the right to vote for people who have paid for their mistakes. It is time Minnesota joined the 14 states (and District of Columbia) that allow felons to vote upon their release from prison
Our ultimate goal as a state should be to enact strong election measures that encourage voter turnout and broaden the base of participation, while scrupulously protecting voters’ rights and ensuring honest and fair elections.
Howling for Wolves
I want to thank everyone who came to the capitol from Howling for Wolves to advocate for an end to wolf hunting! I support House File 1327, which would eliminate wolf hunting season in Minnesota. Minnesota’s gray wolves are currently federally protected under the federal Endangered Species.
As a proud member of the House Judiciary Finance and Civil Law Committee, I’m proud of our new two-year budget. The budget helps ensure all Minnesotans can access justice, fully enjoy their civil rights, and can be treated with dignity and respect in their communities.
To address Minnesota’s significant disparities regarding education, employment, and economic opportunity, the budget funds increased resources for the Department of Human Rights, including three new offices throughout the state.
I also sit on the Legacy Committee and on Thursday we passed our budget through committee unanimously. Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund expenditures support the arts, arts education, and arts access and preserve Minnesota’s history and cultural heritage. I’m proud that this bill supports Hmong cultural events and programming grants; Somali community and museum cultural grants; and grants to preserve Dakota & Ojibwe languages and increase Native educational and immersion efforts. The legacy bill takes important steps to uplifting and preserving Minnesota’s diverse communities.
Last weekend I got to meet with the Owens, Eastsiders who do animation work and shared with me about the need to create more opportunities in the entertainment industry in our state. I am proud to share the House Jobs & Economic Division made appropriations for the TV & Films Board.
Education and Taxes
On Monday, we announced our tax bill, which closes corporate tax loopholes and allows us to lower taxes for families and individuals.
3/4 of the revenue raised from corporations will go into E-12 education. The remaining fourth will go into higher education and allow for a two-year tuition freeze. Minnesotans have been telling the Legislature for years that the state’s commitment to our schools has not kept pace with inflation, leading to layoffs and local referendums for property taxpayers to fund just the basics. By targeting corporate tax havens and making sure big corporations pay their fair share, the investments in our schools that Minnesotans want are possible.
That’s it from me! We’re on Easter/Passover break next week before we head into the final few weeks of session. Have a great rest of your weekend.