Hello Friends and Neighbors,
We concluded another busy week at the legislature as Friday was the third committee deadline. This means that in order for a major finance or appropriation bill to continue going through the legislative process it must have been approved in committee by Friday. Therefore, most committees were finalizing their omnibus finance bills to be moved to the House floor for votes in the coming weeks.
In this update, I wanted to fill you in on a conference I recently attended as well as provide an overview of our budget priorities.
Last weekend, I attended a conference through the National Council on State Legislatures (NCSL). NCSL is a non-partisan organization that provides research and policy training to state legislators. My conference was on issues surrounding health insurance and health care reforms. I was joined by state legislators from across the country to discuss the many challenges regarding our health care system and health insurance markets. During the two and a half day conference I heard presentations on Medicare and Medicaid, opioids, mental health, and pharmaceutical prices. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to attend the conference to hear from policy experts, get updates on federal reforms, and learn more about what other states are doing. These issues are complex, and there aren’t any simple solutions. I can tell you that in many areas, Minnesota’s efforts and programs are leading the country.
Minnesota currently has a $329 million budget surplus. The House recently adopted supplemental budget targets for our proposals on how to use that surplus. House Republicans remain focused on dedicating the majority of this surplus to providing meaningful tax relief to Minnesota’s middle class families in addition to making transportation investments in roads and bridges. In total, we are proposing putting $107 million towards tax relief and federal tax conformity costs, and $101 million towards fixes to our state’s roads and bridges. Furthermore, our plan would reduce state government spending by $7 million by working to advance more efficiencies and cost-saving measures to protect taxpayers.
Investing in improvements to school and student safety is an additional priority. We are proposing an investment of more than $27 million dollars for the hiring of more school resource officers, student counselors and mental health professionals, and critical building security upgrades. This proposal will give school districts the resources and flexibility they need to ensure the safety of our schools and students.
Finally, in our Health and Human Services areas we are prioritizing mental health, addressing the opioid crisis, supporting our direct care workers who work with the disabled, and proposing reforms and funding to address elder abuse and ensure the safety of our loved ones who live in assisted living environments.
At the Capitol
Red Wing Chamber of Commerce members stopped by to discuss local business issues.
Meeting with dairy farmers from Goodhue County to talk agricultural issues and what can be done to ensure producers can continue being competitive in the industry.
Correctional officers from the MN Correctional Facility in Red Wing visited during their Day at the Capitol.
Had the opportunity to meet with a group from Lutheran Social Services.
UMD hockey coach Scott Sandelin with the team’s national championship trophy on the House floor.
Staying in Touch
If you ever have any questions, comments, or concerns regarding anything related to state government, please do not hesitate to contact me at email@example.com or 651-296-8635.
Have a great weekend.