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

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Minnesota House to vote on Jobs and Local Projects Bill

Saturday, May 16, 2020

St. Paul, Minnesota — Today, the Minnesota House of Representatives will vote on a Jobs and Local Projects Bill. The bill requires a three-fifths majority — 81 votes — to pass.

“All Minnesotans deserve safe and inclusive communities,” said House Speaker Melissa Hortman. “Updating our aging infrastructure will help our people, communities, and businesses make it through the COVID-19 crisis and provide jobs with wages and benefits that can support a family. Minnesota needs these investments now more than ever.”

“We know that people are hurting from the impact of COVID-19, and we have an opportunity to help in a way that safely creates statewide economic activity,” said House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler. “Investing in jobs and local projects now will quicken our economic recovery and help Minnesotans thrive for generations. Republicans need to join us in passing a robust jobs and local projects bill.”

The legislation, which is a culmination of 43 committee hearings over the biennium where over 250 individual bills were heard, contains $2.524 billion in renovations, repairs, and replacement of public assets like higher education institutions, clean water infrastructure, correctional facilities, roads and bridges, parks and trails, municipal buildings and more. Over the legislative interim, the House Capital Investment Division traveled over 3,000 miles to each corner of the state to listen to Minnesotans in their hometowns to see firsthand the critical nature and importance of local and state agency bonding projects.

“Many of the projects contained in this proposal today are direct results of what we saw and heard on our statewide tours,” said Capital Investment Chair Mary Murphy (DFL-Hermantown). “We are responding to the emergencies of today and preparing for the needs of tomorrow.”

There were over $5.2 billion in bonding requests that went through the Minnesota Management and Budget application process alone and billions more that did not go through the process.

These investments fund critical needs for communities statewide that provide clean water, repair roads and bridges, build affordable housing, enhance water quality, restore and protect natural spaces, preserves our lands, connects people to local businesses and increases tourism opportunities, provides functional space for crucial agriculture and health research, modernizes public safety facilities, delivers increased and more efficient transit options, helps address childcare shortage in Greater Minnesota, supports innovative job skills training programs for critical industries including healthcare and meat processing, provides user financed loans to farmers who might otherwise be unable to access credit, and helps kids get safety to school.

Much of the proposal contributes to the state’s COVID-19 response including investments in projects such as the University of Minnesota Clinical Health Research Facility, lab improvements for the Minnesota Department of Health and Department of Agriculture, the State Emergency Operations Center, National Guard Readiness Centers, and several community colleges across the state that offer healthcare training.

“Minnesotans are counting on the vital infrastructure investments in this bold plan. The Jobs and Local Projects plan invests in renovations and repairs but more importantly, it strengthens our communities themselves,” said Rep. Fue Lee, Vice Chair of the House Capital Investment Division. “The legislation truly invests in the whole state, including communities of color and indigenous communities. Let’s come together to pass this bill today to leverage our state’s resilience and boost our economic recovery.”

A copy of the proposal can be found here. A spreadsheet of the projects included is available here.