This weekend is the final weekend of the legislative session. Per the Minnesota Constitution, bills must pass by 11:59 p.m. Sunday night. We will work around the clock to reach compromise agreements on every budget area. Here’s an update on our work from the State Capitol.
Budget Agreement Reached
Earlier this week, Governor Walz, House Speaker Melissa Hortman, and Senate Majority Leader Jeremy Miller announced a bipartisan framework for a supplemental budget. The agreement includes $4 billion worth of new investments to move Minnesota forward and $4 billion worth of tax cuts and efforts to help Minnesotans address rising costs. Of the investments in the package, $1 billion is targeted for Health and Human Services, $1 billion is for education, and $450 million is for public safety. The governor and legislative leaders also agreed on a capital investment and jobs package that will invest $1.4 billion. To help address any future possible budgetary difficulties, the agreement leaves $4 billion in reserves. There is still a lot of work to do, but this was a good start to the negotiation process.
Since this agreement we have passed compromise bills on Veterans issues and Legacy. The final Veterans legislation will make significant investments in efforts to reduce homelessness amongst veterans. The Legacy compromise will ensure that many of the things that form our collective cultural heritage will be protected and enhanced for future generations. However, it’s worth noting that this agreement does leave out critical equity measures to ensure we are valuing every culture. I'm disappointed the Senate was not willing to accept those provisions.
Last year, following a statewide engagement effort to listen to Minnesotans’ views on the topic, the Minnesota House, myself included, voted to legalize adult personal use of cannabis. Our legalization reflected the type of cannabis policy people were asking for centered in racial equity, personal freedom, and the health of Minnesotans.
Unfortunately since our vote last May in the House, Republicans in the Minnesota Senate majority have failed to act. In fact, just this week they blocked a vote on the Senate floor to legalize cannabis. We deserve better than Republican politicians relying on harmful, outdated rhetoric to block a policy change Minnesotans overwhelmingly support.
Additional COVID-19 Tests Available
Testing remains a vital piece of our work to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic. This week, the Biden administration announced a new round of free COVID-19 tests is available. Each order includes eight tests (two packages of four tests each). Sign up to receive the free tests from the USPS here.
If you haven’t yet done so, it’s not too late to get your COVID-19 vaccine, and if you’re eligible, a booster shot. The vaccine is safe, effective (especially against serious illness and hospitalization), and free. Find a location to get your shot here.
No Mow May
I hope you are enjoying our temperate and rainy spring this year. Many cities are promoting No Mow May this year, which is an effort to help pollinators during this critical time of the year. More info about this effort can be found here. After May, it would still be beneficial to limit how much you mow and to consider converting lawn space to native pollinator habitat permanently!
Stay in Touch
I always appreciate hearing from you, so please continue to share your questions, ideas, and feedback. Feel free to reach out to me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 651-296-9249. If you’d like to schedule a time to chat by phone or Zoom, I’m happy to do that as well. If you have a friend, neighbor, or relative who wants to receive updates about the Legislature, let them know they can subscribe to my email list here, and you can also follow my Facebook page here.
It’s an honor to represent our community. Please be safe and stay in touch.
With purpose and hope,
Rep.Liz Boldon, District 25B 533 State Office Building St. Paul, MN 55155