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

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Legislative Update - June 3, 2019

Monday, June 3, 2019

Dear Neighbors,
The 2019 Legislative Session has concluded and Governor Walz has signed our new state budget into law.
The final budget represents a compromise between Governor Walz, the DFL-led House and the Republican-led Senate. It’s also a good deal for Minnesotans. We protected health care for more than 1 million vulnerable Minnesotans, made needed investments in education from cradle-to-career, and prioritized economic security for Minnesota families by investing in housing and child care. We secured these victories in the only divided state government in the country, avoiding a protracted budget showdown.
That said, important work went unfinished. Unfortunately, the Republican-led Senate was far more interested in preserving the status quo than moving a forward-looking agenda that invests in Minnesotans and our communities. 
So that means we have work to do – to organize and build momentum for important legislation that we will take up in earnest when the 2020 session begins next February. Here are some highlights of our budget as well as an initial “To Do List” for the 2020 session:
  • Protected health care access for 1.2 million Minnesotans, preserving ongoing funding for Minnesotans’ care that was jeopardized by Republican efforts to eliminate it
  • Provided first increase in MFIP family cash assistance in more than 30 years
  • Invested more than $500 million in E-12 education, providing a “2% and 2%” increase on the general education formula and freezing the special education cross-subsidy
  • Extended pre-K funding, ensuring more than 4,000 young learners have access to quality pre-K in their communities
  • Provided $180 million total investment in housing to increase and preserve affordable housing options throughout the state
  • Invested $3.5 million in Homework Starts with Home, a bill I authored to combat youth homelessness and connect families with rental assistance and support
  • Passed my right-of-first-refusal bill that will protect residents of manufactured homes and bolster the use of manufactured homes to address our affordable housing crisis
  • Invested in greater research, enforcement, and accountability for chronic wasting disease and aquatic and invasive species
  • Passed “Lawns to Legumes," securing $900,000 for pollinator friendly yard grants for residents
  • Passed federal tax conformity that benefits low and middle-income Minnesotans
  • Invested an increase of $61 million dollars in Local Government Aid, supporting our local communities and helping to hold down property taxes
The Republican-led Senate blocked several important bills that were priorities for many of you. I look forward to working together to move the ball forward on these important bills in the months to come:
  • Pass the Alec Smith Emergency Insulin Act and other reforms to make prescription medication more affordable and hold big pharmaceutical companies accountable
  • Enact common-sense gun violence prevention reforms
  • Pass the 100% clean energy by 2050 standard, making Minnesota a national leader in renewable energy
  • Make new investments in housing, specifically to address the loss of naturally occurring affordable housing in our communities
  • Invest in a 21st Century transportation system that addresses roads, bridges and transit needs across the state
  • Restore voting rights for Minnesota felons who have served their time
  • Ban conversion therapy
  • Pass guaranteed paid family leave and earned sick-and-safe time for Minnesota workers
  • Driver's Licenses for All
Please Stay In Touch
Representing our Richfield and Bloomington communities in the Minnesota House has been an honor this session. I am grateful for all of your input and support and look forward to staying in touch. We expect to hold some issue forums in the coming months to debrief on the progress we’ve made and the important work ahead. In the meantime, don’t hesitate to call or e-mail with a question or idea.  As always, you can reach me at or at (651) 296-7158.

In partnership,  
Michael Howard