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2014 Dibble Hornstein End of Session Newsletter

2014 Dibble Hornstein End of Session Newsletter

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Senator Scott Dibble and Representative Frank Hornstein's SD61 2014 end of session report.
Senator Scott Dibble and Representative Frank Hornstein's SD61 2014 end of session report.

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Senate District 61 Newsletter
Rep. Frank HornsteinSen. Scott Dibble
D. Scott Dibble
State Senator 111 State Capitol
75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St. Paul, MN 55155
Frank Hornstein
State Representative
471 State Ofce Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St. Paul, MN 55155
Red headline denotes legislation chief authored by Sen. Dibble and Rep. Hornstein.
Dear Friends,T he 2013-2014 legislative session, t he 88th Legislat ure of t he State of  Min nesota, co ncluded o n Frida y, May 16, three days earlier than its sched uled ad jo ur nme nt. T hese last two  years have  been some of  the most prod uctive legislative sessions in the  history of  the State of Mi nnesota. I n 2013 a nd 2014,  we reversed a te n  year 
tre nd of state disinvestme nt in o ur econom y a nd balloo ning budget decits a nd 
 hel ped Mi nnesota ns gai n gro und and  build better lives. B uilding on the astou nding successes of last year,  we were able to mak e o ur tax system eve n more fair, add to the state’s rain y da y fu nd, deliver  pro pert y tax red uctio ns (i ncluding for renters) boost t he em barrassingly lo w minim um  wage, ma ke the  work  place better for wome n, put  people to  wor k,  boost o ur lo ng-term economic com petitiveness  b y im proving the state’s i nf rastruct ure, and ma ke greater i nvestments in o ur  yo ung citizens’ ed ucation in early, K -12 a nd hig her educatio n. We created a n eco nom y that  work s  well for everyone, with a record n um ber of   ne w jo bs, a more f air a nd just society, a nd a government t hat f  unctions  well and is responsive to the val ues a nd priorities of the citize ns it serves. T he news is good as we  head into the summer a nd f all. T he thousa nds of  yo u w ho played a large a nd small role in p ushing and leadi ng im portant changes for the  better  have m uc h to  be proud of  and we t ha nk  you.As we get ready for t he coming  year, please don’t  hesitate to call a nd write to let us k  no w issues, ideas, pro blems to  be solved that are im portant to you. Ver y truly yo urs,
Scott Dibble
Frank Hornstein
State Se nator, District 61 State Re presentative, District 61A
Investment in Education
Giving our next generation the tools to succeed continues to be a keen focus. Building on last year’s incredible advances, the turnaround continues. Representing $54 million in investments, schools for schools in low income areas, assurance that low-income kids will not be humiliated and turned away from receiving a school lunch, and expansion of availability of breakfast at school.will receive another $25 per pupil, substantial investments in high quality early childhood education,  proven successful reading initiatives, English language learner reforms, community based transformations
$100 Million in Affordable Housing
Housing is a basic necessity and a human right. Without safe and stable housing it is hard for families, communities and businesses to succeed. The legislature approved a historic level of support
 – $100
million in its capital investment  bill to rehabilitate existing facilities and build new affordable housing for poor and low income working  people. These state funds will  be combined with local, federal and private funds so thousands of families will be helped. Additionally, we added support for homeless and exploited youth, people with mental illnesses, and residential group settings.
5% Campaign
Making sure the professionals who take care of our elderly and dis-abled family members in home and community based settings are paid decently has been lagging for far too long, forcing many out of the trade and breaking up important relation-ships. The legislature provided a 5% rate increase effective July 1, 2014 for these services, requiring over 80% of the funds to be used to increase worker pay. We have 67,600  people with disabilities and 24,900 older adults being served by 90,800 caregivers. This is just a start, but it gives those most affected hope.
Bonding Bill Helps Minneapolis
Improving our state’s infrastructure and updating aging facilities will put thousands of men and women to work across the state. Minnesota is investing $1.17 billion to get dozens of shovel-ready building projects underway. Housing infrastructure across the state, roads and bridges, local economic development, projects at public colleges and universities will not only create jobs now, but will sustain local economies and enhance the quality of life in Minnesota for years to come.
 Nicollet Mall (Nicollet Mile)
The vision for the new Mall, with assistance from the same folks that designed The Highline in New York City, includes better transit connections, additional greenspace and a more attractive walkable venue. The legislature allocated $21.5 million in  bonding which will supplement $25 million from the downtown business community. The project will also utilize $3.5 million in private funds and some city dollars.
Walker Sculpture Garden
The Walker Art Center’s Sculpture Garden, hosted on land owned by the Minneapolis Park Board, and known for our trademark Spoonbridge and Cherry installation, is showing its age and the wear of millions of visitors over the past 25 years. It will be completely overhauled and renovated with $8.5 million in bonding resources and an additional $1.5 million from the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District. A key feature of the re-do will be better, more environmentally sound handling of the excess moisture from the very high water table it sits on.
Womens Economic Security Act
The Women’s Economic Security Act (WESA) will move us much closer to equal pay for equal work and reduces the gender pay gap through increased enforcement of equal pay laws for state contractors. It also prohibits employers from discriminating against pregnant women and parents with children under 18; and expands the family and sick leave for working families. The package passed with bipartisan support despite opposition from some business groups.
Minimum Wage
For businesses with gross sales over $500,000, the minimum wage will increase to $8.00 in 2014, $9.00 in 2015 and $9.50 in 2016. For  businesses with gross sales under $500,000, the minimum wage will increase to $6.50 in 2014, $7.25 in 2015 and $7.75 in 2016. Training
wages for workers under 20 for the rst 90 days and all workers
under 18 will rise to $7.75. This legislation will increase the wages for more than 350,000 Minnesotans and those increased wages will spread economic activity throughout the state. Minnesota now joins a growing list of states that are addressing one of the root causes of income inequality. In addition, beginning in 2018, all wages will
increase each year on January 1 by ination measured by the implicit  price deator (capped at 2.5%). This automatic wage increase will
help ensure Minnesota workers have a stable minimum wage in the future.
Safe Schools – Anti-bullying
Going from one of the weakest anti-bullying laws in the nation to one of the strongest, students attending our public schools in Minnesota will no longer have to make the tradeoff between attending school or feeling safe and welcome. Designed to protect all students from bullying, the law emphasizes changing behavior in lieu of punishment, requires strong school policies, effective response and follow up, training for school  professionals and research based bullying prevention activities.
Medical Cannabis
Minnesotans suffering from debilitating illnesses will be able to work with their
doctor and a pharmacist to access liquid, oil and pill forms of cannabis to nd
relief via a statewide patient registry designed to capture information on the
efcacy of this treatment. Scaled back in its approach from the proposal that
initially cleared the Senate, the signed legislation represents a good start to build upon so people can access cannabis in other forms and for additional conditions. Minnesota joins 21 other states that have taken this important step for their citizens.
While the legislature once again did not pass a comprehensive bill to raise needed
signicant revenue for roads, bridges and public transit, additional monies were allocated
from the general fund to support transit in Greater Minnesota, transit shelters and stations, increase staff for Capitol security, and provide support for the Safe Routes to School
 program to encourage students to bike and walk to school. The legislation included specic
funding for a new transit station at I-35W and Lake street. The bonding bill calls for a
specic allocation to repair pothole damaged roads across the state.
35 W/Lake Street Interchange
Funding for a new transit station was appropriated in the supplemental transportation bill. The project will also receive funding from the capital investment legislation. The 2014
session marks signicant progress in our long time effort to improve transit infrastructure at
this well traveled intersection. A new and modern transit station will be part of the process for improving transit north and south on the I-35W corridor (via Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Orange Line connecting Downtown Minneapolis and Lakeville) and east and west along the Lake Street/Midtown Greenway corridor (connecting the SW Corridor LRT Green Line to the Hiawatha LRT Blue Line). Other suburban and urban routes will be able to use the new station.
Oil Transportation Safety
Transportation of oil via rail and pipeline across Minnesota has dramatically increased in recent years as a result of the oil drilling and fracking boom in North Dakota and Canada. The oil from these regions is particularly volatile and dangerous to transport. While much of the regulations related to oil transportation are dictated at the federal level, the Minnesota Legislature passed a bill to increase funding to better equip and
train re ghters and rst responders along oil transportation routes; hire
more track inspectors; improve rail grade crossings, and require railroads to speed up spills and leaks cleanup. Most of the funding for the bill comes from an assessment on railroads and pipeline companies.
Minnesota continues to make progress on policies to advance clean
and renewable energy and greater energy efciency and conservation. Allowing loans for small scale renewable energy and efciency
installations to be paid as part of your utility bill will now be possible. Utilities are directed to report on their plans for the long term on challenges and opportunities to meet our carbon reduction goals.
Recycling and Composting
The legislature made a signicant update in policies concerning recycling
and composting. In an effort to support communities moving toward a
zero waste policies, such as Minneapolis, a bill was passed to signicantly
increase state grants to local communities for recycling and organics composting. The bill also increased the recycling goal for metro counties from 50% to 75% by 2030, and mandates that larger businesses in the metro area recycle.
Last year in Minneapolis, a catastrophic die off of bees was caused by improper use of pesticides, as has happened elsewhere. In the future, if a hive is lost, a team from the University of Minnesota will be able to investigate. If it is shown to be from improper use of pesticides, the hive owner can be compensated either from the person who did the spraying, or if the person is unknown, from existing resources funded by a tax on pesticides. In another bill, pesticides known to be lethal to pollinators will be listed as such, and cultivars treated with them can no longer be labeled “bee friendly.”
Tax Policies to Support Homeowners, Students, and Renters
In 2014, the legislature built on progressive tax policies passed the previous
year. Two million Minnesotans will benet from tax cuts to working families,
homeowners, college students, married couples and adopting families. In addition, the legislature enacted $178 million in decreased property taxes for homeowners, renters and farmers.

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