Earlier this year I was honored to be asked to chair the newly formed Select Committee on Affordable Child Care. After a number of meetings across Greater Minnesota, hearing the concerns of families and providers, we assembled a package of initiatives that address the issues facing child care accessibility and affordability. This package of initiatives was approved by the House this week as part of the Health and Human Services, State Government Finance, and Public Safety omnibus bill.
As I’ve always said, kids aren’t partisan—and it’s for kids, parents, providers, and Minnesota communities that we worked together to bring this legislation forward and to see it passed. When child care thrives, our state thrives. It really is the building block of our economy.
Along with this provision, the Health and Human Services bill increases access and affordability of health care in Minnesota, improves quality of life for Minnesota seniors, and puts an end to MNsure—moving Minnesota to the federal exchange.
The State Government Finance portion of this bill bans all non-essential travel for state employees and reins in the cost of government by reducing the salaries for top Dayton administration executives by 5%, and implements a hiring freeze until the end of 2017.
I want to make sure to mention that there is no new spending in any of our omnibus bills. We instead reprioritize existing funds—leaving the $900 million surplus for transportation and tax relief.
K-12 and Higher Education Bill
On Monday, the House passed the K-12 and Higher Education bill. This bill makes reforms aimed to close Minnesota’s achievement gap, reduce our teacher shortage, bring additional accountability to the University of Minnesota’s fetal tissue research program, and lower the cost of higher education for Minnesota students.
We accomplish these things in the following ways:
Jobs, Agriculture, and Environment
Also taking place this week was the passage of the House’s Jobs, Agriculture, and Environment bill. Included in this bill are efforts to increase broadband access for unserved and underserved areas in Greater Minnesota, a repeal of the 2014 law allowing for the unionization of child care workers, and measures to address emerging issues like farm safety and livestock disease.
Here are a few highlights from the bill:
Buffer Bill Clarifications
Finally, the House passed a bill last week that provides much need clarifications to last year’s buffer bill. More specifically, the bill removes the problematic "benefitted area" language that Governor Dayton misinterpreted in an attempt to expand buffer requirements to private ditches, and ensures fair compensation for farmers by requiring that compensation be based on property value prior to buffer installation.
Staying in Touch
As always, please be sure to let me know your thoughts regarding this issue or any other related to state government. It would be great to speak with you! I can be reached by phone at 651-296-3201 or via email at email@example.com.
I truly represent the best!
Have a great weekend,