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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Fue Lee (DFL)

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Legislative Update - February 9, 2018

Friday, February 9, 2018


Please join Senator Bobby Joe Champion, Representative Raymond Dehn, and me for a Town Hall meeting on Monday, February 19 to discuss issues facing the 2018 legislative session. Town hall meetings are informal public forums that give members of the community an opportunity to meet with us to talk about emerging issues. We will be informing community members of our roles and how we can help area residents.

Special Guests: City Council Member Jeremiah Ellison and County Commissioner Linda Higgins.

Where: Urban Research and Outreach Engagement Center (UROC), Room 105

2001 Plymouth Ave N, Minneapolis MN 55412

When: Monday, February 19, 5:30 PM – 8:30 PM


Here is some info about the upcoming legislative session from House Public Information Services:

The 2018 Legislature is scheduled to begin at noon, Feb. 20, 2018. Legislators must adjourn by May 21, 2018.

The release of the February forecast, which, in part, is used by the Legislature and governor to ensure enacted budgets remain on track and in balance, is scheduled for Feb. 28. The forecast released in December projects a $188 million budget deficit for the current biennium and a $586 million deficit for the 2020-21 biennium.

Follow us on social media: Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

You can follow bills throughout the legislative process by signing up MyBills, a personalized way to track House and Senate bills by number. Find more information on how to follow House and Senate bills here.         

Minnesota State Arts Board

  • Application for funding through the “Arts Learning” grant program is now open through Friday, February 16, 2018. Applications must be submitted and accepted before 4:30 p.m. on the day of the deadline. The program funds projects that help lifelong learners acquire knowledge, understanding, and skills in the arts with a teaching artist. More info.
  • The FY 2019 “Minnesota Festival Support” grant program is now open for application through March 23, 2018. More info. This is a grant program designed to provide meaningful arts experiences to Minnesotans through festivals that celebrate the arts, build community, and expose communities to diverse art forms including
    folk and traditional arts. Proposed projects must take place between September 1, 2018, and August 31, 2019.

Minnesota Historical Society

The pre-application deadline (required) for the next round of funding through the “Heritage Partnership” program closed Jan. 26, 2018 with a final application deadline of March 9, 2018. The program’s goal is to build the capacity of eligible applicants to preserve and enhance access to Minnesota’s history and cultural resources by supporting the creation and development of sustainable, history-based partnerships throughout the state. More info.


On January 30 the City of Minneapolis and Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) representatives provided the following informational update about the status of the Upper Harbor (UHT) planning process at the meeting of the Above the Falls Community Advisory Committee (AFCAC).

Update provided by MPRB and City representatives to AFCAC on January 30, 2018:

Since late November of 2017:

  • The November 30 meeting about housing development on the site was well-attended and included three hours of presentations and then discussions. The discussion included the topic of what housing mix the development should include, with the general conclusion that a mix of affordable and market would be appropriate. (A presenter noted that the proposed tax reform bill initially proposed to eliminate “private activity bonds” as an affordable housing tool, but it now can be reported that tool was saved in the tax reform bill that later was approved at the end of the year.)
  • A date is still being explored for a meeting and tour to introduce the newly-reactivated McKinley neighborhood group (and other interested members of the public) to the site and the project.
  • Staff has started the process of briefing the newly-elected City and Park Board officials about the project.
  • The City, staff and development team have held a series of meetings focused on several of the specific topics that impact project feasibility. These include: amphitheater financing, park and public space concepts, streets, utilities, financial feasibility analysis, the existing structures and the powerlines. The entire team will be meeting to explore plan options informed by these detailed meetings with the goal of identifying a range of viable options that then can be presented for community input, perhaps in late winter/early spring.
  • The development team continues to refine its concepts, and an initial traffic study is under way to inform the planning.
  • The City has hired a consultant to provide input on some of the infrastructure design questions and also to help refine the cost estimates.
  • An appraiser is updating information about land values in order to inform the feasibility analysis. The appraiser will be selecting the land sales that are considered comparable and will make adjustments as needed.
  • The City and Park Board continue to pursue their request for $15 million of State bond grant funding for Phase 1 infrastructure and park improvements. With matching funds, this could fund up to $30 million. As part of that process, the House and Senate capital investment committees, as well as staff from the Governor’s Office and the Office of Management and Budget, have now toured the site. The Park Board also discussed the request at its annual legislative breakfast. The UHT request was not included in the Governor’s proposed bonding bill (which focused on State and University assets and only included one local request). The UHT request is the City of Minneapolis’ top bonding priority this session. The actual language has not yet been drafted.
  • The City also will be seeking special State legislation that would allow tax increment financing to work as effectively as possible as a funding source.
  • DEED informed the City that its application for funding to assist the reconstruction of Dowling Avenue was not successful.

If you haven’t already done so, please sign up for GovDelivery email updates on the UHT web site or watch for social media notices on Facebook, Twitter and NextDoor, as meetings may need to be adjusted. Information on the webpage and meeting notices also will provide more details about specific meetings and topics.

EMERGEWORKS JOB FAIR – WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 21                                                     

EmergeWORKS is hosting a Hiring Fair for 50 job openings on Wednesday, February 21. Please bring your resume and two forms of ID.

Open Positions:

  • Fabricator
  • TIG Welder
  • Custodial
  • Light Industrial
  • More

Where: Spruce Tree Centre (1st floor Conference Room)

1600 University Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55104

When: Wednesday, February 21, Noon – 4:00 PM

If you have any questions, you can contact EmergeWORKS at (612) 787-3763.

I encourage you to contact me with any questions, comments, concerns, or ideas on any legislative topic. Also, I am available during select hours on Monday and Friday mornings most weeks for in-district meetings, if Northside residents aren’t able to make it to the Capitol. If you would like to send me a message or set up an in-district meeting, you can reach me by phone at 651-296-4262 or by email at I look forward to hearing from you!