ST. PAUL, Minn. (June 17, 2015) — Minn. State Sen. Foung Hawj (DFL – 67) worked for compromise during last week’s special session, voting in favor of responsible governing and effectively avoiding a government shutdown that would leave 9,500 state workers with layoff notices. The Minnesota Legislature met on Friday morning to vote on six bills that they either didn’t have time to address during regular session, or were vetoed by Governor Dayton.
“We successfully reached a compromise last week and were able to avoid a government shutdown, which would have been devastating for many Minnesotans,” said Sen. Hawj. “While I don’t agree with everything that was passed – namely, the Environment Omnibus Bill and the dismantling of the MPCA Citizens’ Board – there were a lot of great provisions passed in other bills that I stand behind. There were several provisions in the Jobs and Legacy bills that have direct benefit to East St. Paul, as well as across our entire state. And I cannot be more proud of the funding formula increase to the E-12 Education Omnibus Bill, which will provide support to the academic growth of our children.”
Below is a brief breakdown of the six bills that were passed:
E-12 Bill: $525 million to fund a 2 percent per pupil formula increase for FY16 and FY17, an $89 million historic increase for early childhood education including $30.75 million for School Readiness and $48.25 million for early learning scholarships. The bill also includes $10 million in Compensatory Pilot grants for seven school districts including Anoka-Hennepin.
Jobs/Energy/Housing Bill: $50 million to fund a variety of successful DEED programs including the Minnesota Investment Fund, a Workforce Housing Grant Program and Job Training grants. Energy policy changes in the bill include a Clean Power Plan to comply with a federal rule and authorization for electric utilities to propose an Energy-Intensive Trade-Exposed rates.
Agriculture/Environment Bill: This bill includes many changes from the vetoed bill including repaying the Closed Landfill Investment Fund, changes to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) enforcement, and allowing for amnesty for self-reported violations by regulated parties across the state. Money is also appropriated for three MPCA remediation sites. The bill appropriates money for agriculture research and education, an advanced biofuels production incentive and significant dollars to address avian influenza.
Legacy Bill: $538.6 million to fund four specified funds including Outdoor Heritage, Clean Water, Parks and Trails and Arts and Cultural Heritage. The bills appropriations are consistent with the recommendations of the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council.
Bonding Bill: $180 million to fund investments in transportation, an emphasis on immediate needs at state colleges and universities, flood relief and mitigation, and an effort to fix and build essential infrastructure like wastewater facilities and water pipelines.
Revisors Bill: A bill to make technical corrections to previously passed bills.
For more information, Senator Hawj’s office can be contacted at 651-296-5285.