It was a busy week here in St. Paul as a number of supplemental omnibus bills were debated and passed by the House. Here is a recap of these bills.
K-12 and Higher Education
We fully funded our schools last year with historic investments that ensure Minnesota’s schools remains among the best in the country. This year, we were able to reprioritize cost savings to invest $56 million aimed to reduce our teacher shortage, improve mental health and school counselor services, and fund innovative ways to deliver broadband internet access to rural schools.
Included in the bill is a provision I authored that brings metro and non-metro schools to a more fair funding method.
Jobs, Agriculture, and Environment
There are a number of good things in this year’s Jobs, Agriculture, and Environment bill that promote job growth in Greater Minnesota, agricultural safety, and make serious investments in broadband expansion in unserved and underserved areas of Minnesota.
In total, this bill invests $40 million in broadband expansion. Combined with federal funds, Minnesota will see over $100 million in broadband expansion investments next year!
If you haven’t heard, Centurylink recently announced that they will be connecting 400+ homes with high-speed internet in the Willmar area!
Health and Human Services, State Government Finance, and Public Safety
The final bill that was approved by the House this week focuses on increasing access and affordability of child care and health care in Minnesota, makes investments in mental health and chemical dependency programs, and improves rural dental health.
Staying in Touch
With these bills now heading to conference committee, I expect a comprehensive transportation bill to soon take center stage at the Capitol. Transportation is one of my top priorities and I look forward to meeting with Governor Dayton, Lieutenant Governor Smith, and local commissioners today to discuss our needs.
I hope you are able to attend Safe Avenues’ 10th Annual "Hope for Tomorrow" Gala, tonight supporting their life saving mission. Also, if you are interested in attending the mayor’s prayer breakfast next week, I encourage you to get tickets soon! My good friend Sue Graves will be on hand to give a speech.
Call or email anytime. Thanks again for the privilege of serving as your Rep!