My first legislative session is complete! We ended it with a bang on Saturday morning after a 21 hour floor session to approve a state budget for the next two years. While the new budget doesn’t include everything I had hoped for, it has some really important provisions that will improve the lives of Minnesotans.
If you’d like more information on what got done during the legislative session, please join me and Rep. Ginny Klevorn tomorrow night from 6:30 – 8:00pm in the Council Chambers of Plymouth City Hall. We’ll share updates on the progress we made and discuss our hopes for the future.
Here are some highlights from the budget:
We successfully fought for strong investments in our students and prevented Republican cuts that would’ve led to teacher and staff layoffs, larger class sizes, and higher property taxes. As a result, public schools in our area and across the state will receive an annual two percent increase in per-pupil funding.
Addressing the rapidly increasing cost of special education is a priority for me. Many schools are forced to pit groups of students against one another because of increasing cross subsidies – gaps between the cost of providing special education services and the state and federal funding they receive – that must be filled with general education funds. Our E-12 education budget helps ensure that the needs of all students are met by freezing the cross subsidy.
Several members of the Hopkins High School group of Girls United Minnesota came to visit me at the Capitol. They’re an impressive group of passionate and ambitious young women!
Health and Human Services
Preserving health care access for 1.2 million Minnesotans was another major achievement for my House colleagues and me. We secured ongoing funding for the Health Care Access Fund so people who rely on it won’t lose their coverage.
My bill to improve step therapy, a method for controlling the costs and risks of prescription drugs, was part of the health and human services budget and will be signed into law soon. Step therapy means starting with the most cost-effective medication and moving to costlier and riskier options only if necessary.
In addition to approving the budget, we passed important legislation in the final days of session. I was proud to support a comprehensive plan to protect elders and vulnerable adults who live in assisted living facilities and legislation that will provide resources to people and communities that have been impacted by the opioid epidemic. Governor Walz has signed both of these bills into law!
We reached a bipartisan agreement on a tax plan that invests in working families, seniors, and small businesses. By raising the standard deduction, the tax bill cuts taxes by $134 million for over 1.9 million taxpayers and simplifies the filing process for everyone. It also reduces taxes on Social Security benefits, expands the Working Family Credit, and increases aid for counties and local governments to help provide community services and hold down property taxes.
I’ll provide more information about what was accomplished, what wasn’t, and what I hope to accomplish in the future in my next update. In the meantime, please feel free to contact me with any questions or feedback.