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

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Legislative Update - March 29, 2019

Friday, March 29, 2019

Minnesota Association of Professional Employees (MAPE) Day on the Hill 

American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Day on the Hill

University of Minnesota Extensions Programs

Education Minnesota Day on the Hill

Today is the second committee deadline of session. Deadlines help state lawmakers narrow the large list of bills that will advance in the law-making process. The second deadline is for committees to act favorably on bills, or companions of bills, that met the first deadline in the other house. Click here for more information about committee deadlines. Next week House DFLers will be presenting major budget bills for priorities like K-12 education, transportation, health care, and more.
On Wednesday I presented HF 2325 in the Education Finance Division. My bill provides an increase to Adult Basic Education (ABE) funding. The bill creates a process to allow ABE funding to grow when the education K12 formula aid grows OR when ABE contact hours grow – but never by more than 3%. The effect of this on ABE system will be to provide some compensation for cost increases due to inflation.
ABE services are cost-effective because improving literacy and educational skills helps families in poverty increase their earnings and achieve economic self-sufficiency. Moreover, parents – and especially mothers – who gain literacy skills are more likely to have a positive influence on their children’s academic achievement, helping to break the cycles of poverty. The bill was laid over for possible inclusion in a future education finance bill.
Today I presented HF 547 in the Health and Human Services Finance Division. My bill will appropriate $200,000 each year for 2020 and 2021 to the Department of Health to develop a competitive bidding process to award grants to nonprofit organizations with expertise in gun violence prevention to use the money for gun violence prevention or public awareness and education campaigns.
Addressing gun violence as a public health concern is important because we know that when a community suffers from gun violence the children do worse in school, people live less healthy lives, and a deeply destructive cycle of violence ensues that harms all in the community. The bill was laid over for possible inclusion in a future health and human services finance bill.
Minnesota is home to the largest Liberian community in America. These are our friends and neighbors, coworkers and community leaders, and they deserve to be treated with respect and live dignified lives.
On Thursday, March 28, the White House announced a 1-year extension of the Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) program -- which was set to expire this Sunday, putting our Liberian friends and neighbors at risk of immediate deportation. A comprehensive plan is still needed to protect this important part of our population from deportation beyond a single year.
Governor Tim Walz, Attorney General Keith Ellison, Speaker Melissa Hortman, and community members gathered for a news conference to express relief while making clear in no uncertain terms that a longer-lasting solution is needed immediately.
The Star Tribune has a story about this important development here.
The Minnesota House approved two news bills and one conference committee report this week.
HF 85, authored by Rep. Jeff Brand of St. Peter, received unanimous approval Monday. It directs the Emergency Medical Services Regulatory Board to propose guidelines for personnel to assist patients with administering certain prescription medications in emergency situations.
Conference Committee Report SF 1743/HF 1982, authored by Rep. Shelly Christensen of Stillwater and Sen. Carla Nelson of Rochester, received approval by a vote of 105-21 yesterday. Better known as the Snow Day Relief Act, it gives school districts flexibility for missing days due to extreme winter weather that put public safety in danger. Most importantly, it requires school districts to cover all wages that hourly school employees missed due to those unforeseen cancellations. The Star Tribune has a story with more information here.
SF 307, authored by Rep. Gene Pelowski of Winona, also received unanimous approval yesterday. It transfers $10 million from the general fund to state’s disaster contingency account.
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!