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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Liz Olson (DFL)

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Rep. Olson: the Capitol to the Community – May 2, 2023

Tuesday, May 2, 2023
Rep. Olson speaking to colleagues

Dear Neighbors,

With the calendar having turned to May, the 2023 legislative session is entering its final chapter. This has already been the most productive session in recent memory, moving beyond an era of gridlock to deliver results reflecting Minnesotans’ values. I recently appeared on MPR News to discuss our progress so far during the legislative session and provide an outlook for the work ahead to improve people’s lives. NBC News has also spotlighted our work at the Capitol, including significant legislation to ensure reproductive freedom, provide free school meals to students, advance a clean energy future, lift up our LGBTQ+ neighbors, and more.

Building a New State Budget

During the past few weeks, lawmakers have been spending a great deal of time on the House floor discussing our proposed budget bills. House DFLers remain focused on the issues Minnesotans across the state care about: investing in public education, making health care more affordable, keeping communities safe, and building an economy that works better for everyone. As chair of the Ways and Means Committee, I’ve been committed to ensuring we take advantage of our historic budget surplus to meet this moment and solve the big challenges people across this state continue to experience.

If you’d like to learn more, recaps of each of our budget bills are available: Higher EducationLegacyEnvironment and Clean EnergyHousingVeteransElections, State and Local GovernmentK-12 EducationAgricultureTransportationEarly LearningChildren & FamiliesJobs & LaborHuman ServicesPensionsCommerceJudiciary & Public SafetyTax, and Health.

The Largest Tax Cut in State History

In addition to investing in the things that matter most to Minnesotans, the House recently passed a package of legislation that collectively represents the largest tax cut in Minnesota history. Our 2023 Tax Bill includes tax cuts and other assistance targeted toward those who will benefit the most. The bill fully exempts Social Security from state income tax for 76% of all seniors, delivers direct rebates to more than 2.5 million Minnesotans, expands property tax refunds for homeowners and renters, and implements a new Child & Working Family Tax Credit, impacting more than one million families to reduce child poverty by 22.9%. It also boosts investments in Local Government Aid – a key tool for communities like ours to keep property taxes in check while providing essential public services – by $100 million.

Minnesotans continue to struggle with rising costs and an economy tilted in favor of large corporations and the wealthiest among us. This legislation will reduce property taxes, invest in local communities, and help young families, seniors, and everyone else thrive in our state. A fact sheet with more details is available here.

Legalizing Adult-Use Cannabis

Cannabis Graphic

Last week, the Minnesota House once again voted to legalize cannabis for adult use in Minnesota. The bill would make Minnesota the 23rd state to do so and the third in the Midwest. Our current cannabis laws have resulted in deep harm, and Minnesotans have been loud and clear that they’re ready for change.

This legislation creates a safe, well-regulated legal marketplace for Minnesotans over the age of 21. It recognizes the racial disparities prohibition has caused within the criminal justice system by prioritizing automatic expungement of prior marijuana convictions. Finally, the bill will help start-up cannabis businesses to ensure the communities disproportionately affected by prohibition can take part in the economic opportunity created by legalization. With the responsible, sensible, regulatory framework under this bill, we can deliver better outcomes for our communities in a variety of ways. The Senate has passed its own version of the bill, and I’m hopeful we can soon advance a compromise version to Governor Walz, who has signaled his support.

I deeply appreciate hearing feedback from the community, and I hope you will stay in touch throughout these last few weeks of the legislative session. It’s an honor to represent you.


Liz Olson
State Representative