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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Mary Franson (R)

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Capitol Update

Friday, April 21, 2017

Greetings from the Capitol!

I hope you had a wonderful Easter holiday weekend. The Legislature has resumed session and is back to work.

Yesterday, the House passed a bill (House File 1397) that would prevent life insurance claims from being paid out to beneficiaries if the policy holder’s death occurs from the furtherance of terrorism. Simply put, if this bill is signed into law, a terrorist’s life insurance beneficiaries would not be able to collect any payment from the policy. This bill is commonsense and straightforward; I hope it will be signed into law this session.


You might have seen an article in the newspaper stating that the House Republican Health and Human Services budget proposal cuts funding to mental health facilities in Alexandria. This is simply not true. The House does not propose making any direct cuts to the Department of Human Services’ central office budget, or direct care and treatment budget. I find it fascinating that only in government is not getting the dollar amount requested for your budget considered a cut.

Budget Bills:

Two weeks ago, the House finished passing the remainder of its budget proposal. Below I will detail the bills I have yet to share with you.


The Agriculture Omnibus Bill focuses on supporting this important industry by investing in the following priorities:

  • Responding to Ag emergencies, such as tractor rollovers, Avian Flu, and noxious weeds
  • Growing and diversifying our agro-economy, in areas like industrial hemp and biofuel
  • Continuing support for production agriculture research, farm safety, Ag Education, and youth development
  • Creating a dedicated Pollinator Habitat and Research account

Higher Education:

The Higher Education Omnibus Bill prioritizes college affordability through public school tuition freezes and reductions, accountability through student loan debt counseling, and accessibility to students previously unable to attend an institution of higher education.

Public Safety:

The Public Safety Omnibus Bill funds the state’s law enforcement sector and provides Minnesotans with a core function of state government: keeping its citizens safe.

Reforms in the bill include:

  • Allowing the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension to replace an outdated predatory offender registry
  • Increasing penalties against those who choose to participate in illegal protests that put people’s lives at risk
  • Providing new revenue to address domestic violence prevention and terrorism recruitment
  • Creating stronger penalties and longer supervision for convicted sexual predators
  • Dedicating funds for additional sex trafficking prevention grants
  • Increasing penalties against those who possess and disseminate child pornography
  • Allocating new money to local law enforcement agencies to help them pay for officers’ training costs

Job Growth and Energy:

The Job Growth and Energy Affordability Policy and Finance Omnibus provides appropriations for economic development, energy and housing.

Highlights include:

  • Reducing energy costs to consumers by reducing and streamlining the regulation process for energy providers
  • Reinvesting funding from ineffective programs into clean energy programs that benefits communities around our state, instead of a selected privileged few
  • Encouraging more infrastructure in our state by cutting fees on construction-related permits and inspections

Health and Human Services:

The Health and Human Services Omnibus Bill focuses on protecting Minnesota's most vulnerable citizens.

Some key provisions include:

  • Funding a 25% reduction in the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility (TEFRA) parental fees to help relieve the financial burden on families with disabled and very sick children
  • Preserving a 7% funding increase for home and community based caregivers
  • Increasing emergency shelter and transitional housing for sexually exploited youth
  • Implementing Safe Harbor for All, a statewide strategic plan for all victims of sex trafficking
  • Funding children's school-linked mental health grants
  • Increasing the statewide bed capacity for inpatient psychiatric services for mentally ill children and adolescents

This bill, as well as the other omnibus bills, will be finalized in conference committee over the next few weeks. Conference Committees are made up of 5 Representatives and 5 Senators. Each committee’s job is to come to a compromise on the differing aspects of the House and Senate budget bills. After the conference committee finalizes the bill, it is then sent to the House and the Senate for a vote of each body before heading to the Governor’s desk for his consideration.


If you ever have any questions, comments, or concerns regarding any issue related to state government, please feel free to contact me at either 651-296-3201 or I would love to hear from you.

I truly represent the best!


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