Last week was a very exciting one at the Capitol! My colleagues and I began voting on budget bills last Tuesday, and after many hours spent on the floor, we have approved several budgets, including energy, E-12 education, health and human services, and public safety. Keep reading for more details on some of the great things our budget bills would do for Minnesota.
Progress for 100% Clean Energy
Hundreds of Minnesotans showed up to the Capitol last week to support clean energy, and on Thursday, the House delivered! I’m so proud of the energy budget that we passed. Transitioning to 100 percent clean energy will make electricity reliable and affordable, create 50,000 good paying jobs for Minnesotans, confront the climate crisis, and reduce the disproportionate impacts felt by low-income communities and people of color.
Support for Minnesota Schools
Our first budget out of the gate was the E-12 education bill, which the House approved on Tuesday. All Minnesotans deserve a world-class education, no matter where they live or what they look like. That’s why our budget makes historic investments in every student in every public school, addresses the rapidly increasing cost of special education, supports increasing the number of teachers of color in the classroom, improves access to mental health services, and funds our earliest learners!
A fact sheet on the E-12 education budget is available here.
Taxes – Leveling the Playing Field
The revenue for these historic investments would be generated by closing corporate loopholes. In addition to funding our schools, our budget would reform the tax system to make it fairer and simpler for Minnesotans. It reduces taxes for many families, small businesses, and senior citizens and makes the filing process simpler for everyone.
If you’d like to see a breakdown of the numbers, a fact sheet is available here.
Strengthening Health Care for All Minnesotans
When I talk with community members about the barriers they face, many mention access to affordable health care. That’s why our health and human services budget would lower the cost of care and prescription drugs. One way to do this is allowing Minnesotans to buy into a plan with a provider network and benefits similar to MinnesotaCare. The budget also addresses unacceptable health disparities and protects access to reproductive health care for women.
I was also proud to vote for an amendment that would ban so-called conversion therapy. I’ve heard terrible stories from constituents about this horrible practice still happening in our state. It must end.
A fact sheet with more information about this budget is available here.
Improving Public Safety
Yesterday the House approved a transformative public safety budget that would save lives and protect public safety, limit overly harsh sentencing, and stop penalizing poverty. I’m particularly excited that the budget includes my bill to cap probation at five years and addresses collateral consequences! MinnPost recently published a column that I wrote about these practices and how they create barriers to people trying to rejoin their communities. You can read it here.
Other highlights of the public safety budget would restore voting rights to those who have served their time, establish a working group to prevent sexual assault, limit cash bail, reduce low-level marijuana penalties, limit license suspension for inability to pay, and adopt common-sense gun safety reforms.
As always, please feel free to share your thoughts on this legislation or any other issues that are important to you.