I hope you’re enjoying the summer! The state budget and several laws that we passed this session went into effect last Monday, July 1. I wanted to share some information about that new legislation and provide a quick update on our town hall.
District 61 Town Hall
We had an engaging, wide-ranging Senate District 61 town hall this past Tuesday! Thanks to all who attended and for the great questions on everything from climate to transportation to election reform. It gives me such energy to hear how much commitment we have in our district to making positive change for our community. It’s also such a privilege to get to serve with big-hearted, knowledgeable organizer-legislators Senator Scott Dibble and Representative Frank Hornstein.
Standing Up for Students
The E-12 education section is one of the highlights of the new budget. My colleagues and I successfully fought for strong investments in our students and prevented Republican cuts that would’ve led to teacher and staff layoffs, larger class sizes, and higher property taxes. We secured an annual two percent increase in per-student funding for all public schools and preserved access to voluntary pre-K opportunities for 4,000 of our youngest learners.
We also increased funding for special education services to the tune of $90 million. State and federal funding for special ed hasn’t kept up with rising costs, so schools must use funds intended for other purposes to make up the difference. This is a problem for schools across the state, but Minneapolis schools have some of the highest costs per-student.
The E-12 education budget will help Minnesota schools meet the needs of all their students. Over the next two years, the total increase in funding for Minneapolis Public Schools will be $24,979,556.
Protecting Health Care Access
The health and human services budget that’s now in effect preserves funding that helps Minnesotans get the care they need when they need it. We protected health care access for 1.2 million Minnesotans by securing permanent funding for the Health Care Access Fund and stopped Republican efforts to eliminate dental and vision services.
The new budget supports working families across the state. For the first time in 33 years, we increased Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP) grants that help low-income pregnant women and families with children meet basic needs and find stable employment. As a result, 91,000 families will receive $100 more per month. We also prevented cuts to child care assistance that would’ve impacted 30,000 kids.
I recently had my first bill signed into law by Governor Walz! This legislation, which also took effect on July 1, puts $1.6 million towards census mobilization and helps ensure that all Minnesotans are counted in 2020.
Other New Laws
Some of the other new laws that took effect earlier this month include:
- A bill that holds pharmaceutical companies accountable for their role in creating the opioid epidemic and continuing to profit from the crisis. It raises fees paid by drug manufacturers and distributors. The revenue will be used for prevention, treatment, and public safety.
- The strongest wage theft prevention and enforcement law in the country. This bill creates new enforcement authority and penalties for wage theft and will provide workers with statements defining their pay and benefits so they can track if they’re receiving their full pay.
- Legislation repealing the marital rape exception. This law shielded perpetrators from being prosecuted for criminal sexual assault if they were married to their victim.
More information on each of the laws is available here.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns or if I can be of assistance.