My first legislative session in the House has come to an end! We passed the final versions of our budget bills and other priorities. Alongside our DFL Senators, we ended the gridlock and delivered on the promises we made to Minnesotans. I want to thank you again for giving me the opportunity to represent our district at the Capitol this year, and I am looking forward to getting more work done in the 2024 session!
I was proud to join Governor Walz and Agriculture Committee Chairs Rep. Sam Vang and Sen. Aric Putnam, and Rep. Nathan Nelson as the Governor signed our Agriculture budget bill! This bipartisan legislation includes $48 million in new investments for Minnesota farmers, land, and food production. It includes a grain indemnity fund for farmers, provisions to increase food access, and protections for soil health.
When we support farmers, we invest in our rural communities and ensure our state has a strong agricultural economy and sustainable food supply for generations to come.Whether it’s increasing support to first-generation and emerging farmers, promoting better soil and water practices, or passing the largest-ever investment in rural broadband, this agriculture bill will help Minnesotans all across our state. I was honored to serve as Vice-Chair of the Ag Committee this session and am excited to get back to work next session to continue making progress!
K-12 Education Funding
This month, we passed our final K-12 Education Budget Bill, which provides sustainable funding to meet the needs of all students. I had the honor of serving on the Education Finance Committee this session and was responsible for several provisions that were ultimately included in the bill. I introduced legislation expanding CTE (Career and Technical Education) programs from rural Minnesota consortiums to include urban and suburban school districts, giving Adult Basic Education (ABE) teachers an overdue raise, and changing policy language so that education cooperatives may also access the long-term facilities maintenance funds (LTFMR) to renovate the spaces they use to teach our children. I’m proud to have worked on these investments to increase career pathways, technical education opportunities, and more.
In this bill, we are also increasing the basic funding formula by 4% for the 2023-2024 school year and then an additional 2% for 2024-2025 in addition to finally linking that formula rate to inflation with a floor of 2% and a ceiling of 3% each year afterward. These vital changes will help stabilize school funding in our district and allow schools to plan for the future! With a one-time budget surplus, one of the smartest investments we can make is supporting our children and their future.
Gun Violence Prevention Laws Pass
Governor Walz has already signed our 2023 Public Safety and Judiciary Budget bill. In response to increasing gun violence, now the leading cause of death for children in the U.S., this bill includes criminal background checks and a red flag law. It also makes historic investments in gun violence prevention research grants to determine the next best steps to end gun violence.
It is far past time we take these common-sense steps to reduce gun violence. I am so glad these provisions have passed and been signed in to law and would like to thank all the advocates for their tireless work on this issue over the years.
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