I hope this email finds you well and you and your family are having an enjoyable summer – which always seems to fly by too quickly. Here’s an update from the Capitol.
PolyMet Partnership with Teck
Today, PolyMet announced a 50/50 partnership with Teck, developers of the nearby Mesaba mineral project. This merger is a major development toward the Duluth Complex finally becoming a reality. The partnership represents another significant investment in jobs on the East Range, strengthening the viability of the project and its ongoing development. It’s what we’ve been waiting for and is an economic boost the people of northern Minnesota deserve.
Legislative Session Recap
Earlier this spring, Governor Walz, the House DFL majority, and the Senate Republican majority agreed to a supplemental budget framework using our historic surplus. The agreement included $4 billion toward investments in priorities like schools, health care, and public safety, $4 billion in tax cuts and aid to local governments, and $4 billion left in the rainy day fund in case of a future budget downturn. For my part, I was proud to serve on a bipartisan negotiating team that assembled the largest tax cut in a generation, including a full exemption on social security income, property tax cuts for renters and homeowners, an income tax cut for workers, and more.
Unfortunately, the legislative session adjourned without getting all of these bills to the governor’s desk. A deal is a deal, and I’m doing everything I can to get Democrats and Republicans back to the table so we can finish this work in a short special session. Despite the high costs Minnesotans are facing and the great capacity we have to help workers, families, and students, Senate Republicans have so far said “no.” The only things standing in the way are election year politics and an unwillingness to compromise. Minnesotans deserve results from their state government and solutions to improve people’s lives, and which I remain committed to delivering – no matter how difficult.
Despite many of these key priorities not yet reaching the finish line, lawmakers did work together to advance several important initiatives that will improve Minnesotans’ lives. Here are some of these accomplishments:
- Investing in nation-leading ALS research, a measure I was honored to champion along with Senator David Tomassoni, who continues to battle the disease every day.
- Premium payments for frontline workers who put themselves in harm’s way during the pandemic. The deadline to apply is this Friday, July 22. Learn more and apply here.
- Distributing unprecedented amounts of money to address the opioid crisis.
- Advancing comprehensive new investments in mental health including efforts to attract new mental health care professionals, support for mental health services in schools, additional hospital bed capacity, and expanded use of mobile crisis services.
- Making the largest investment in high-speed broadband internet in state history.
- Protecting and supporting veterans and Gold Star families, including bonuses for post-9/11 vets. Learn more and apply here.
- Replenishing funding for Minnesota’s Unemployment Insurance Program, keeping businesses’ unemployment insurance tax rates flat.
- Extending the COVID-19 worker’s comp presumption for first responders, including fire fighters, police officers, paramedics, and more.
- Providing relief to farmers impacted by the 2021 drought and delivering resources to control and contain the avian influenza outbreak.
Supporting Safe Communities and Law Enforcement
Rising crime remains on the minds of Minnesotans, with numbers of auto thefts, carjackings, robberies, and other violent crime increasing. Yesterday, I had the opportunity to attend a Violent Crime Summit hosted by the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association. I learned about the strategies agencies across the state are utilizing to protect people. We also heard about the challenges officers are facing in the field and the tools, additional personnel, and other resources they need to meet this moment and protect people.
I’ve always been proud to stand with the heroes in law enforcement who put their lives on the line every day to keep us safe. It’s time to put people before politics and invest in solutions to keep people, property, and communities safe.
Sixty days after the House adjourns in an election year, legislators can no longer send emails like these. While this will be my last e-newsletter this year, I encourage you to reach out with your comments, questions, or if there is anything I can ever help with. Thank you for the tremendous honor to represent our Iron Range communities at the State Capitol. Keep in touch.