We’re working around the clock, finalizing our state budget in anticipation of Monday’s adjournment deadline. So far, we’ve passed our Veterans and Military Affairs, Housing, Higher Education, Legacy, Agriculture, Early Education, Public Safety and Judiciary, K-12 Education, Jobs and Labor, Environment and Energy, and Commerce budgets.
In addition to our work on the budget, we’ve also passed Paid Family and Medical Leave, which is now on its way to Governor Walz for his anticipated signature, and last night the House passed the final version of our bill to legalize adult-use cannabis, which now goes to the Senate.
Here’s some highlights from this week:
Fighting for Environmental Justice
Earlier this week, we passed our Environment, Natural Resources, Climate, and Energy Budget Bill. The bill invests over $670 million in new environmental and natural resources funding. Included in the budget is my proposal to invest in environmental justice.
North Minneapolis, like other communities in our state, is too often treated as a dumping ground for pollution, contributing to an increase in poor health risks and socioeconomic challenges.
That’s not acceptable. Not in North Minneapolis. Not anywhere.
This session, with a DFL trifecta, we’re acknowledging the history of what we’ve done to economically disadvantaged communities, and we’re ensuring it never happens again. We’ve crafted legislation that addresses this issue, and it’s going to become law once our Environment and Natural Resources budget is signed by Governor Walz.
To put it simply, we’re requiring the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to consider a community’s history of cumulative exposure to pollutants and any socioeconomic conditions that increase health risks to residents when issuing new or modified permits, and we’re requiring the MPCA to deny permits if human health and the environment are impacted.
We didn’t just get to this point by accident - it took years of advocates like the ones before you today, and the people in my community, pushing for change. These are the people that educated others on the need for this legislation, testified in committee hearings, and encouraged other legislators to support the measure. It takes a village to turn environmental injustice into environmental justice, and I’m so thankful for the advocates that put their trust in me and helped get this proposal over the finish line.
You can read more about this measure here.
Investing in Education
This week, the House also approved the K-12 Education budget, which delivers meaningful investments to support our students and school staff, and stabilizes our public-school funding.
In addition to increases in the per-pupil education formula, the bill also links the formula to inflation in all future years to help school districts have more predictability in their financial outlooks.
The budget bill also reduces the Special Education cross-subsidy and eliminates the English Learner cross-subsidy by 2027, targeted to the school districts serving students with the highest needs.
Importantly, the bill also increases investments to recruit and retain teachers of color, so those at the front of the classroom better reflect students they teach. In addition, we boosted investments in The Read Act to expand access to evidence-based literacy instruction.
It also includes my provision to invest $30 million in high-quality after school programming. One of the best ways we can support the youth in our community is by providing them with opportunities and experiences that help them learn and grow, but it’s not the case that every community has the resources for these types of programs. This bill changes that.
If you have any questions about the bills we’re working on, please feel free to contact my office. You can contact me at email@example.com or 651-296-4262, and I will be happy to help.
I look forward to hearing from you!