August 14, 2022
ST. PAUL, Minn. (Feb. 23, 2017) — The State Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans is provides weekly legislative updates to help community stay informed, active and engaged in the process in which laws are created. CAPM encourage people to contact their legislators to express either support or concern for any of the bills that have an impact.

Legislative Summary
2017 Session: Week 8 in Review

H.F. 127/S.F. 90: FUNDING THE DOCUMENTARY VIETNAM WAR: MINNESOTA REMEMBERS

What is this proposal?

In September, national public television will be releasing an extensive, 10 part, 18 hour documentary detailing the Vietnam War. In Minnesota, H.F. 127 and S.F. 90 will grant $950,000 to fund the production of a complimentary piece highlighting Minnesota’s veterans and unique involvement in the Southeast Asia conflict.

The Vietnam War raged for nearly two decades across Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. It is a monumental era in our history as a nation, and its repercussions still impact our communities today. Minnesota has a proud, strong veteran population many whom have served in this war.

H.F. 127/S.F. 90 would allow Twin Cities Public Television (TPT)  to create a documentary highlighting the story of Minnesota veterans, including one chapter devoted to the Secret War in Laos and the history of veterans in our Southeast Asian communities. Through this film, the creators hope to renew a national passion and conversation about the war and its impacts.

  • The Vietnam War, A Film by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick
    • Release date – September 2017
  • The Vietnam War, Minnesota Remembers
    • Release date – Fall 2017

What is the status of this proposal?

H.F. 127 has seen broad support in the House, and S.F. 90 is making its way through the Senate. However, the current discussions focus on changing the funding source specified in the bill from the General Fund to the Legacy Fund. The bill has been carried by Rep. Bob Dettmer (DFL-Forest Lake) and Sen. Bruce Anderson (R-Buffalo).

H.F. 538/S.F. 468: PERSONAL LEARNING PLANS FOR STUDENTS

What is this proposal?

The early years of school are crucial for laying an educational foundation to reduce the achievement gap and for our students of color to succeed. However, many vulnerable student groups are falling behind in the earliest years of their formal education. H.F. 538/S.F. 468 would provide additional guidance for these students. The bill proposes that if a student is not reading at his or her grade level, by the 3rd grade, their school must provide a personalized learning plan to get the student on track with their peers. This learning plan could include after-school classes, summer courses or programs to allow students to better connect with their culture.

In addition, the bill requires that high school students who are not meeting the state testing standards must be informed that public education in Minnesota is free and open to anyone under 21.

What is the status of this proposal?

The bill has been proposed in both the House and Senate by Rep. Drew Christensen (R- Dakota County) and Sen. Paul Utke (R- Becker), respectively. Currently, the bill is being considered in its first committee in both bodies.

The bill is not scheduled to be heard in either committee in the next week. Keep track of the committee schedules if you would like to track this bill.

H.F. 874/S.F. 658: AFFORDABLE HOUSING FUNDING

What is this proposal?

Recent estimates have tabulated that the current homeless population is over 9,000 individuals. Unemployment, barriers to affordable housing and a history of abuse or mental illness are cited as high-risk correlations to homelessness. This bill seeks to address this issue by directing $4.25 million to housing programs over the next two years. These programs could solve the problem of a lack of affordable housing for many Minnesota residents. The grants also target at-risk groups such as those with mental illnesses or families in emergency and transitional housing after traumatic events.

The funding would be allocated as follows:

  • $2 million for long-term homeless support;
  • $1.5 million to populations with serious mental illness;
  • $500,000 for transitional housing programs; and
  • $250,000 for emergency services programs.

What is the status of this proposal?

The bill has been proposed in the House by Rep. Rod Hamilton (R- Cottonwood) and in the Senate by Sen. Jeff Hayden (DFL- South Minneapolis). Currently, the bill is being considered in the health and human services committees of each chamber.

Neither committee has thisbill on its schedule over the next week. However, mental health and affordable housing is a topic of interest within these committees. We will continue to update you on the status of this bill as it moves forward in the process.

H.F. 600/S.F. 580- UNIFORM STATE LABOR STANDARDS ACT

What is this proposal?

A bill relating to sick leave and minimum wage for Minnesotan workers has been making headway through the legislature, with fierce advocates on both sides. In the past year, several community groups have pushed for an increase in the minimum wage and paid sick leave for all workers in their jurisdiction. These groups have successfully changed labor laws in several cities. However, these major changes to business practices are being questioned by some business owners and current state legislators.

The proposed bill would forbid local governments from creating laws that change the minimum wage, sick leave, work hours or benefits of their local businesses.

Proponents of the bill point out that the uneven application of labor laws across the state make it extremely difficult for businesses that operate in multiple cities. If labor laws differ from locality to locality, pay roll and employee operations would become unreasonable. In addition, they point out that some businesses, especially smaller businesses, may be pulled under from the burden of higher wages and benefits.

Opponents to the state’s intervention say that St. Paul and Minneapolis already have working sick leave laws on the books, and they are working well. They also say that state preemption would undermine the authority of local governments which are assumed to improve upon and adjust the baseline laws set by the state.

What is the status of this proposal?

The last action on the bill in the House was taken on February 15th.  H.F. 600 has been referred to the Ways and Means committee.The committee meets every Monday at 10:15 A.M. but does not have H.F. 600 on its current schedule.

In the Senate, S.F. 580 is now in the Rules and Administration committee. It will likely be heard in that committee in the coming week.

The bill has faced severe opposition from many community members but support from many business owners as well. The bill is still in committee undergoing review in both chambers. We will keep you updated as the bill approaches its final statements.

The bill has been heard in multiple committees in both the House and Senate, by Representative Pat Garafolo (R- Dakota County) and Senator Jeremy Miller (R- Fillmore), respectively.

UNDERSTAND THE PROCESS

What policies does a legislator support?

It may seem difficult to understand what a legislator does or does not support. However, the legislative website allows you to see every bill that any legislator has authored or co-authored over their career.

Simply go to the Legislative Website and Search for your legislator’s name. You may also look them up on the House or Senate Member Roster.

The legislative website allows you to gauge the interests and positions of any legislator. Knowledge of a lawmakers past views can also inform or prompt conversations about current or prospective bills.

RELEVANT RESOURCES

Thank you for your involvement in the policy making process! Feel free to contact the Council with any questions or inquiries.
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