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

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Legislative Update - New Laws Take Effect

Tuesday, August 8, 2023
Howard Banner

Dear Neighbors, 

I hope you’re having a fun and safe summer. After a historically productive legislative session, it’s been great to be back in our community, connecting with constituents and discussing our accomplishments for Richfield - and the entire state. 

The majority of our new laws have now taken effect, having been implemented on either July 1 or August 1. This includes our state budget for the next two years, which was our main focus this year, but it also includes numerous new policies and investments. The one making the most headlines recently has been the legalization of adult-use cannabis, but so much more has happened with not as much fanfare.

In our own community, $12 million from our $2.6 billion Capital Investment Bill has gone to the Wood Lake Nature Center, a local gem for Richfield and the region. It’s been a joint effort among advocates and local leaders to get to this point, and the teamwork has paid off. The funds are going towards trail improvements and a new education building - you can read MPR’s coverage on the center and its updates below.

Wood Lake Nature Center

And that’s not all for Richfield. $10.7 million is going to our schools over the next two years, thanks to our Education Budget. Our new Tax Bill allocates $1.6 million to the city for public safety, $2.7 million in local government aid, and $2 million in local housing aid for Hennepin County. The Villas at Richfield, our local nursing facility, received $337,425 in financial support last week, and will receive the same amount next year. 


Housing, Clean Drinking Water, Child Care, and more

With your support, we passed into law 17 of the 24 bills I authored this year. A .700 batting average, if you will.

Recently, I joined Governor Walz, Lt. Governor Flanagan, and advocates to celebrate the largest of those bills, our Housing Budget. This $1 billion investment in Housing is the largest in state history, creating stability for Minnesota families on the brink of homelessness through new state-based housing vouchers, spurring the production of new homes across the state, and delivering pathways to homeownership for thousands of Minnesotans.

$1 billion investment in Housing

Here some other important bills of mine that we got over the finish line this year:

  • Removing Lead from School Drinking Water: No amount of lead is safe to consume. We made great strides this year to replace Minnesota’s lead pipes, and included in this effort is my legislation to prioritize the drinking water in our schools.
  • Family, Friend, and Neighbor Child Care funding: This is one that was championed by local advocates. Child care can come in many forms, with some Minnesotans relying on a family member, friend, or neighbor to help look after their children. This year, I passed into law permanent funding for the Family, Friend, and Neighbor Child Care Program, ensuring that child care in all its available forms is supported in our state.
  • Capping Co-Pays on Insulin: Our final Commerce Budget included my provision to cap co-pays on prescription drugs that treat chronic diseases at $25, or less, for one month’s supply - applying to insulin, asthma inhalers, and epipens. It also limits co-pays for medical supplies, including syringes, insulin pens, insulin pumps, test strips, glucometers, continuous glucose monitors, epinephrine auto-injectors, asthma inhalers, and other medical necessary supplies at $50 per month.
  • Investing in MICC: Richfield is home to the Minnesota Independence College and Community, a three-year postsecondary, life-skills and vocational training program for neurodiverse adults. I championed a $4 million investment for the college over the next two years, assisting them in their mission of helping students make successful transitions towards independent living and self-sufficiency.


Reminder – Property Tax Refund Deadline Aug. 15

Many folks have been struggling with increasing property taxes in recent years. To address this problem, I supported using some of our budget surplus to offer property tax cuts at the state level and put money back in the pockets of Minnesotans, including funding increases for the Homestead Credit Refund and Renter’s Property Tax Refund of 20.5%.

In some cases, you must file a Form M1PR by August 15 to qualify. Each year, many homeowners and renters lose out on these refunds only because they forgot to file. The Minnesota Department of Revenue has more details, including eligibility and instructions.


Stay Connected

This remains only a brief snapshot of what we were able to accomplish this year. Not every policy will get the same attention as legalized cannabis, and not every investment will be a physical building you can visit, but everything we did pass this year will make Minnesota a better place to live, work, and raise a family. 

I’m always open to talking about our wins from this year, answering your questions, and getting started on the work for next year. You can contact me and my office at or 651-296-7158. I look forward to hearing from you! 

Thank you for the incredible honor of representing our community in the Minnesota House, and thank you for all of your support as we delivered for Minnesotans this year. 

In partnership, 


Michael Howard