Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Here is an update with the latest news on omnibus bills from St. Paul.
Public Safety Bill
On Tuesday night, the House passed, on a bipartisan vote, this year’s Public Safety omnibus bill. This bill accomplishes our Public Safety Committee’s ultimate goal of ensuring the safety and security of Minnesota families.
One of the most important things this bill does is protect our state’s children. It allocates nearly $3.7 million in funding for the Guardian ad Litem Board to ensure that all child protection cases are assigned the guardians ad litem that they require. The bill also cracks down on sex offenders by strengthening and closing loopholes in Minnesota law surrounding criminal sexual conduct. The bill increases penalties for child pornography offenses; increases conditional release or probation terms for sex offenders from 10 to 25 years; and requires registration for sex offenses when stays of adjudication are granted.
This legislation also takes important steps to protect our law enforcement officers and the communities they serve. The bill increases penalties for physically assaulting law enforcement officers from a gross misdemeanor to a felony, and prevents local governments from disarming officers who are in good standing and not under investigation or subject to disciplinary action.
Finally, this bill aims to improve public safety by keeping Minnesota’s roads safe. The bill increases penalties for protesters who choose to obstruct highways and transit; strengthens Minnesota law surrounding repeat DWI offenses; and enhances penalties for reckless driving while using a cellphone in violation of state law.
I am proud to author this bill and the next step is to work with the Senate to produce a final product to send to the Governor.
On Monday, the House passed bipartisan tax legislation to simplify Minnesota’s tax code to allow filers to fully benefit from federal tax reform and provide additional tax relief to middle-class Minnesotans. This bill delivers significant tax relief for middle-class families by reducing the second tier income tax rate. This historic tax reduction would be Minnesota’s first income tax rate cut in nearly 20 years, and would result in over 2.1 million Minnesota filers seeing a tax reduction. I was proud to vote in favor of this bill which will allow Minnesotans to keep more of their hard-earned money.
The following are highlights of the legislation:
Transportation and Health and Human Services
The House voted to approve a transportation and health and humans services package on Tuesday. The transportation portion builds on the successes of last year’s legislation that saw one of the largest investments in our roads and bridges in history—all without raising the gas tax.
This year’s transportation omnibus bill uses surplus funds leveraged with trunk highway bonds to spend $385 million on transportation needs this year.
Highlights from the bill include:
The health and human services portion focuses on reducing health care costs for Minnesotans; combatting the opioid crisis; protecting vulnerable adults; preventing fraud and abuse of public programs; and preventing a wage cut for those that care for our disabled community.
As always, please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of assistance to you or your family on a matter of state government. I can be reached by phone at 651-296-4346 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a great weekend.