Happy New Year! I hope you’ve had a chance to enjoy our record snowfall in January over these past few days. It was an honor to be sworn in for my fifth term to the Minnesota House on Tuesday and fun to meet many of our new colleges and see old friends.
This morning, I was honored to attend the Association of Metropolitan School Districts for their legislative preview breakfast. I was part of a panel discussion with Senate Education Finance Chair Mary Kunesh, Senator Kreun, and Rep. Bakeberg. We had an engaging meeting with approximately 100 school board members, superintendents and other school district staff to learn more about their legislative priorities. You can learn more about the AMSD and their work here.
We have definitely hit the ground running at the Capitol. On Wednesday, legislative leaders from the House and Senate told reporters the new DFL majorities are united and working with a great sense of urgency to deliver on Minnesotans’ priorities and address the state’s big challenges. You can check out a preview of some of these priorities from the press conference here.
According to a preliminary economic forecast released in December, Minnesota has a projected budget surplus of $17.6 billion. The forecast does not take inflationary costs into account, and more than $12 billion is projected to be one-time funds and not ongoing. We will use an updated economic forecast – due in February – to write a new two-year state budget.
As the House Education Finance Committee Chair, I’m especially focused on making sure we’re meeting our kids’ needs academically and emotionally. We kicked off our first meeting yesterday and I’m excited to get to work on developing the part of our state budget that fully invests in students, educators, support staff, and schools across the state. To follow our work, you’re invited to sign up for updates via the House education committee website to track legislation and committee hearings.
When the federal government changes tax law, Minnesota can decide to conform to that law or go their own way. Last session, in the tax bill that was left on the table, there were provisions to conform to a variety of federal law changes. I am happy to report we have advanced a tax conformity bill containing many of these provisions out of the House Tax Committee, as well as the Ways and Means Committee. The plan is to pass it early enough in session to allow our individual and businesses to utilize the changes when they file their 2022 taxes this March. This will benefit Minnesota taxpayers immediately without them having to wait until their 2023 tax returns.
Last year, in the Dobbs decision, the conservative U.S. Supreme Court eliminated a half-century of protections for abortion rights. Minnesota is fortunate to have our own state version of Roe v. Wade, called Doe v. Gomez. That court decision recognizes the right of Minnesotans to get an abortion. However, we know that court decisions are only as strong as the judges that uphold them. That is why one of the first bills we’re advocating for at the legislature is the Protect Reproductive Options (PRO) Act, which prevents politicians from interfering with a person’s ability to make their own reproductive health care decisions. Establishing the fundamental right to make these important, individual decisions is important and I’m proud to be a co-author on this bill. I’m pleased to share that I am a co-author and it has already passed its first committee.
Democracy for the People Act
Today, on the second anniversary of the violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, State DFL leadership and legislators introduced the formation of the bicameral Inclusive Democracy Caucus. The Caucus will be co-chaired by Rep. Emma Greenman, Rep. Cedrick Frazier, and Sen. Liz Boldon in the Minnesota Senate. Here's a preview of what the caucus will focus on:
Reminder: Legislator Meet and Greet Next Week!
A friendly to reminder to join us for an Edina Legislator Meet and Greet Wednesday, January 11th from 7:00-9:00 p.m. at the Edina Senior Center! I'm looking forward to seeing and hearing from you.
Keep in Touch
I’m working on developing my usual Community Conversations schedule and will be sure to keep you updated on those dates when I have them set. Your input and questions are important to me and I value the ability to connect with you in person and remotely.
Don’t hesitate to contact me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-296-9889. Email is the quickest way to get in touch. I also have a new legislative assistant this year, Shamat Abraha, and she can be reached at email@example.com.
Have a great weekend!