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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Dave Pinto (DFL)

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Legislative Update- February 2, 2024

Friday, February 2, 2024

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Rep. Pinto

Dear Neighbors,

I hope that your year is off to a great start! With the start of the 2024 legislative session on Monday, February 12, this legislative update is intended to catch up on some of the budget and policy summaries that were still left for me to share from the 2023 session. This builds on my previous updates about our work with respect to public safety, taxes, and youth homelessness; as well as K-12 & higher education, the environment, and energy / climate.

But first, please note a chance for constituents to engage in conversation in advance of the session:

Chat with Dave – Saturday, February 10

This year’s first “Chat with Dave” – one of my favorite legislative activities – will be held two days before the start of the legislative session, on Saturday, February 10 from 1:00pm to 2:00pm. We’ll meet in the Community Room at Highland Park Library, 1974 Ford Parkway. This is an informal conversation with constituents about the upcoming session and the issues on your mind. Please join us!

Chat with Dave Graphic


Spotlight: Solitary Confinement for Young People

Before I get to large areas of the state budget, a note about a new law that I’m particularly proud of: Solitary confinement should not be used to discipline young people in custody. Full stop. On January 1, a law that I authored to ban that practice finally took effect! Click on the image here to view the TV coverage from when the bill passed in the spring.



Spotlight: Transportation Budget

After decades of neglect, the Transportation budget included historic levels of investment in every mode of Minnesota’s transportation infrastructure – from roads, bridges, and air transportation to public transit to bike and pedestrian travel. A particular area of focus was limiting and mitigating the impact of climate change, with initiatives including electrification, more funding for nonmotorized transportation options, and emissions impact assessments. Among the many projects funded were trains to Duluth and Chicago, expanded light rail and bus-rapid transit, and improved traffic and transit safety.

One small piece of this budget was my bill to provide for a “reintegration driver’s license.” This limited license will allow people recently released from incarceration to have greater access to transportation and jobs and to better reintegrate into society. #EverybodyIn.


Spotlight: Children & Families Budget

The budget for the committee that I chair, Children & Families, was split into three pieces. The Early Learning budget, which traveled on its own, invested more than $250 million in early learning scholarships and Head Start, expanding eligibility to more than 25,000 young vulnerable children. Funding for public preschool was in the K-12 Education budget; it secured access for 4,000 four-year olds and will expand to support another more than 5,000 kids starting next year.

The biggest piece of our budget was incorporated into a bill containing the Health budget. It made major investments to support families and help all children get off to the #GreatStartMN that they deserve. This included investments in affordable and accessible child care and early learning, shelter and dignity to those experiencing homelessness, food security, economic supports for families, and system reforms including a new Department of Children, Youth, and Families. It was this budget that contained the funding for youth homelessness that I discussed in last summer.


Spotlight: Housing Budget

All Minnesotans deserve a safe, affordable place to call home. The Housing budget contained the largest appropriation in this area in state history to help meet this core value. This included significant investments in statewide rental and down payment assistance, grants and affordable loans to residents of manufactured and modular home parks, housing safety (through high-rise sprinklers and the removal of lead paint), and ongoing funding through a metro-wide sales tax dedicated to housing.


Spotlight: Human Services Budget

The Human Services budget will help vulnerable Minnesotans to lead dignified lives through significant investments in long-term care, substance use and addiction, and long-needed rate increases for personal care assistants. The budget also included funding for nursing homes, workforce retention in the long-term care industry, and a new program to help bring new Americans into the human services field. Finally, the budget established a new state agency, the Department of Direct Care and Treatment, to provide focus for this critical area.


Spotlight: Commerce Budget

The Commerce budget contained a series of consumer protections, from the Digital Fair Repair Act to prohibitions on price-gouging and deceptive trade practices. It established a new Prescription Drug Advisory Board, which now has the authority to review generic drugs if the price increases above a threshold. And it improved access to mental health services – which are sorely lacking around the state – including by increasing compensation to providers.


Spotlight: State Government Budget

Finally, the State and Local Government budget rectified years of funding gaps, allowing state agencies to better meet the needs of Minnesotans. Among the policy provisions are those which will help to strengthen our already best-in-the-nation elections system. And it was this budget which gave us a new flag and seal! Read this summary by the House Session Daily for more information about all of this.

New State Seal and Flag


Free COVID Tests

One final bit of “news you can use,” especially in light of the latest surge: Free COVID tests are available again! This is another way to keep us all healthy and help families afford their lives. Each household can order up to four tests. For more info or to place your order:

Thank you for the honor to serve our community at the State Capitol. 


Dave Pinto
State RepresentativeDistrict 64B
503 State Office Building 

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