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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Dave Lislegard (DFL)

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Legislative Update - March 18, 2019

Monday, March 18, 2019
Dear Neighbors,
It’s taken a while, but temperatures are finally inching upward. We’re now half-way through the legislative session, and we continue our work to improve the lives of Minnesotans and build a state that works better for all of us. Here’s an update from the State Capitol.
Local Government Aid
Communities like the ones in our area work extremely hard to deliver the services residents count on, like public safety, in an efficient way and keeping property taxes reasonable. Unfortunately, cuts in the early 2000s to critical programs like Local Government Aid and County Program Aid led to some consequences for people. When I was Mayor of Aurora, we faced some tough choices, including raising our local levies.
That’s why I’m the chief author of HF 1102, a bill to restore LGA to 2002 levels. I was honored to have Eveleth Council Member Brad Hadrava join me to present the bill during a public hearing of the Property and Local Tax Division last week. I’ll keep working to deliver this critical resource to our communities.


Disability Services Day
All Minnesotans deserve to live with dignity and we have a moral responsibility to deliver services people with disabilities count on to live healthy, full lives. I am committed to keeping the promises we’ve made, and improving the services and resources they rely on. This Tuesday was Disability Services Day at the Capitol, and I got to visit constituents who made the trip down for this occasion.

Low wages and low reimbursement rates are the biggest challenges facing this important part of our population. Providers are having an extremely difficult time attracting and retaining employees. We can’t expect those taking care of the most vulnerable Minnesotans to survive on poverty wages, and I’ll work to increase state funding so we can improve the lives of Minnesotans throughout our state.
Mental Health Day
The next day, Wednesday, was Mental Health Day on the Hill. This is an important issue facing our friends, our families, our loved ones and our communities. I'm honored that a wonderful group of Iron Rangers came down to the Capitol to share their stories and concerns about this issue.

I’m pleased that we’re making some progress on this issue recently, including for a couple of groups of Minnesotans. The House has passed HF 232, a bill to increase investments in mental health counseling support for farmers. Farmers are facing significant stressors due to economic conditions, the weather (including recent barn roof collapses), and others. Unfortunately, many of them have been hesitant to seek help and we’ve seen the suicide rate among farmers rise to a level 50 percent higher than during the 1980s farm crisis. Through our state farm advocate program, I’m hopeful this funding will encourage farmers to get the care they need.
We also need to tackle the issue of veteran suicides. When they return home, our veterans face some unique challenges, and trauma from combat can lead to significant mental health needs. Last week, the House unanimously approved a bill, HF 586, to establish the first Saturday of October as Veteran Suicide Awareness Day. Family members of Minnesotan Justin Miller, a U.S. Marine who tragically took his own life last year, were in the House Chamber for the vote. Justin’s sister, Alissa, told her family’s story in the Washington Post.
There are also bills moving through the legislative process which will address mental health needs of our students, including school-linked grants and mental health training for teachers. Be assured I’m committed to continuing work on this critical issue for Minnesotans.
Please continue to contact me with your viewpoints and ideas. It’s an honor to represent you.

Dave Lislegard
State Representative