I hope that you and your loved ones are having a wonderful summer! I wanted to update you on what I’ve been working on recently and provide more information about the new budget and laws that took effect earlier this month.
At the Capitol
The new two-year state budget went into effect on July 1, along with several laws that my colleagues and I passed this session. Here are a few of the highlights:
- The E-12 education budget: This section of the budget, which I described in my last email, invests in schools and children of all ages. Over the next two years, the total increase in funding will be $5,140,969 for Hopkins Public Schools, $4,954,866 for Minnetonka Public Schools, and $6,347,909 for Wayzata Public Schools.
- The environment and natural resources budget: This legislation addresses long-term threats to our environment – including aquatic invasive species and emerald ash borer – and restores air, water, and soil quality. It expands access to parks, trails, and outdoor opportunities. It also supports Minnesota’s pollinators. My bill to fund research on our state’s native bees went into effect as part of this legislation!
- The higher education budget: This budget contains funding for the University of Minnesota and Minnesota State Colleges and Universities that will help create opportunities for past, present, and future students. It also increases benefits for students who receive financial assistance through the state grant program and expands eligibility for the program.
- Preventing wage theft: We passed the strongest wage theft enforcement and prevention law in the country to ensure that all Minnesotans receive an hour’s pay for an hour’s work.
- Repealing the marital rape exception: We repealed a law that shielded perpetrators from being prosecuted for criminal sexual assault if they were married to their victim.
- Addressing the opioid epidemic: We held pharmaceutical companies accountable for their role in creating the opioid epidemic and continuing to profit from it. Drug manufacturers and distributors will pay higher fees, and the revenue will be used for prevention, treatment, and public safety.
You can read more about each piece of legislation here. More laws are taking effect on Thursday, August 1, including the hands-free law. This legislation requires Minnesotans to stay “hands-free” if they use a cell phone while driving. A guide with information and tips for going hands-free is available here. You can read more about the other laws that will take effect in August here.
The Legislature has adjourned for the year, but my work doesn’t stop when the legislative session ends. I’ve continued meeting with community members and organizations and advocating for our priorities.
I attended an end-of-year Legislative Action Coalition meeting with the Wayzata and Robbinsdale School Districts. We discussed challenges that schools in our area are facing and how we can work together to make sure all students succeed!
I stood with Minnesotans protesting the detention facilities at the southern border. This humanitarian crisis is unacceptable, and we must do better.
My colleagues and I learned more about the amazing work that farmers are doing to address climate change at the Midwest Farm Energy Conference.
In the Community
Many thanks to those who joined Rep. Ginny Klevorn and me for our post-session town hall. Everyone was eager to participate and asked great questions. It’s an honor to represent such an engaged community!
I helped plant trees in Victoria Evergreen Park with Minnetonka Rotary and Minnetonka Forestry staff. Planting trees is a great way to combat our climate crisis.
I always appreciate hearing from fellow community members. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.