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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Michael Howard (DFL)

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Legislative Update - April 5, 2019

Friday, April 5, 2019

Dear Neighbors,
The Minnesota House is hard at work preparing our state budget. I want to give you an update on some of our priorities, as well as other key bills moving through the legislature.

Public Safety and Transformative Criminal Justice Reform 
It has been a privilege to serve on the House Public Safety and Criminal Justice Reform committee, and this week we finalized our omnibus bill. We passed a transformational bill that takes our charge to focus on criminal justice reform to heart, including:
  • Police Excellence Task Force, which I authored to improve public trust and accountability with law enforcement 
  • Significant probation reform and limiting cash bail 
  • Restoration of voting rights to those that have served their time
  • Creation of a sexual assault working group to address systemic gender-based violence
  • Real action to address gun violence, including background checks on gun sales and extreme risk protection orders
I am grateful to all of the Minnesotans who shared their truths with our committee and guided our actions this session. This is a community-centered public safety bill that will make our communities safer and stronger.

Tuition Freeze
The cost of college and the burden of student loan debt is pricing out far too many Minnesotans. That’s why this week the House Majority introduced a Higher Education budget that will freeze tuition for two years at our state’s two and four-year public colleges and universities. Freezing tuition takes a considerable statewide investment – but it’s a priority that is important for so many Minnesotans and our economic future.
You can read more about the House DFL’s higher education budget and tuition freeze here.

Housing Finance Budget Bill
As Vice Chair of the Housing Finance and Policy Division, it was my honor to preside over the committee as Chair Hausman presented our Housing Finance bill. I am carrying several bills that are part of our budget, including Homework Starts with Home, which I’ve discussed in previous updates. We also included legislation I authored to create a state match, to local housing trust funds. This will allow local governments who choose to invest in affordable housing strategies to receive state support to leverage private dollars and invest in local solutions.
Although we are making important investments in this bill, the scope of the affordable housing crisis facing our state demands we do more. You can watch my final comments on the Housing bill in committee below, where I make the case for further investments in affordable housing this session.

Stay In Touch

As always, please contact me if you have any questions or comments on the legislative process. You can reach me at, or at (651) 296-7158. I look forward to hearing from you.

Michael Howard