While things have been quiet around St. Paul since the end of the Legislative Session, there are some new laws going into effect this week. Here are some of the highlights:
- Funded MNLARS Replacement: This year, we appropriated money to replace the failed MNLARS program, as well as $13 million to reimburse deputy registrars who were hit especially hard by the disastrous rollout of MNLARS
- Repealed Marital Rape Exception: We worked hard this year to remove the “voluntary relationship defense” from law, which will allow individuals accused of committing sexual crimes against a spouse or long-standing partner to be prosecuted
- DAIRI Program: We appropriated $3 million to the Department of Agriculture for the Dairy Assistance, Investment, and Relief Initiative (DAIRI), which will provide financial assistance to dairy farmers who meet certain eligibility requirements
- Safe Schools Funding: In the Education Omnibus Bill, we appropriated $30 million for safe schools grants, assuming we have a sufficient budget surplus in the February Budget Forecast
- Voluntary Pre-K Funding: Also in the Education Omnibus Bill, we appropriated almost $47 million to maintain 4,000 voluntary prekindergarten slots that were about to expire (I am not thrilled about maintaining the spots – VPK is decimating the child care industry and children need to be kids)
- Safeguarding Our Elections System: We authorized the Secretary of State to accept nearly $6.6 million in federal Help America Vote Act funds to assist in securing our elections system, as well as providing an additional $2 million for election equipment grants (I voted against this bill as I don't trust Secretary Simon to actually protect our elections. If he was truly interested in election integrity we would have voter ID, eliminate vouching and turn over the public election data requested by the Minnesota Voters Alliance. Instead, he's wasting tax dollars fighting the request in the courts and has lost every step of the way. Now, he's taken it to the Supreme Court.)
- Opioid Addiction Response: The Legislature has established an Opioid Advisory Council, provided funding for county and tribal social service agencies to provide child protection services for families affected by addiction, and increased funding for the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension for personnel and supplies focused on drug interdiction and trafficking, as well as limiting most opiate prescriptions for acute pain (I voted against this as well because this will only drive up the cost to those who need access to pain pills.)
- Rare Disease Council: The Legislature requested that the University of Minnesota establish a Rare Diseases Advisory Council that will provide recommendations on research, diagnosis, treatment, and education on diseases that affect less than 200,000 in the U.S.
I want to wish you all a very happy Independence Day! In the midst of celebrations, fireworks, and spending time with family and friends, I’d encourage everyone to take a moment to remember all those who have sacrificed in pursuit and in defense of our independence throughout our history. There is a concerted effort to break down our American values in order to usher in socialism. The recent attacks on the Pledge of Allegiance and the US Flag are part of that extreme agenda. America IS the last beacon of hope around the world and we need to protect her. Have a safe and fun Independence Day weekend!
And the government for which she stands
Is scandalized throughout the land
And she's getting threadbare and wearing thin
But she's in good shape for the shape she's in
'Cause she's been through the fire before
And I believe she can take a whole lot more
- Johnny Cash, Ragged Old Flag
And just like Johnny Cash, I too am proud of our flag. I am proud to be an American.
If you ever have comments, questions, or concerns regarding any issue related to state government, please feel free to contact me. I can be reached via phone at 651-296-3201 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s an honor to represent the best!