Rep. Debra Hilstrom (40B) – Legislative Update
This week I had the opportunity to meet with corrections officers from around the state who came to the State Capitol to share their priorities. These Minnesotans work hard in some extremely challenging conditions, and we should work to enhance protections not just for them, but for the offenders they are responsible for supervising.
Outside of their actual working conditions, these folks remain concerned about the potential reopening of a private prison in Minnesota. I’ve introduced a bill this session to ban the state from contracting with such a facility. Private prisons produce poor outcomes when it comes to recidivism and rehabilitation of offenders. The ability to put citizens behind bars is a power that we should take seriously as a state government, and not outsource to corporations motivated by profit.
Tonight at midnight is the first committee deadline. This deadline, the first of three, is for committees to approve bills in their house of origin. The second deadline, a week from today, is for committees to act on bills, or companions of bills, that met the first deadline. The third and final deadline is on March 31, and is for committees to act on major budget bills.
The House Capital Investment, Ways and Means, and Tax Committees are exempt from committee deadlines, and the Rules Committee is able to waive deadlines for bills on an individual basis. With 2,327 bills introduced in the House so far this session, and the Minnesota Constitution requiring us to wrap up work by May 22, these deadlines are necessary to narrow the number of bills under consideration and prioritize our work.
As part of a massive I-94 reconstruction project, Highway 252 in Brooklyn Center will soon close to I-94/I-694 for over two months. Undoubtedly, this will cause inconvenience to our community, and I’ve heard from many of you about this.
You can find more information about the project from MnDOT here, and if you have any questions, please reach out to David Aeikens, MnDOT’s Communications and Engagement contact for the project, at 651-234-7511 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
In an effort to acquire more feedback from the community, I invite you to take my 2017 Legislative Survey. The survey is eight questions, and you can take it here.
For your convenience, here are the questions:
1) What makes you most proud to be a Minnesotan?
2) In which areas do you think Minnesota most needs to improve?
3) What issue should be the Legislature’s top priority?
4) When it comes to education, what do you think Minnesota should prioritize?
5) Because private health insurance premiums have risen so rapidly, Governor Dayton has proposed giving Minnesotans the option to “buy into” MinnesotaCare, a 25 year old pro-gram providing affordable health insurance to low and middle income individuals. Do you support or oppose this plan?
6) Minnesota is ranked 5th in the nation for average student debt load for those with bache-lor’s degrees. Which ideas to you support to get a handle on these burdens?
7) Over the next 20 years, Minnesota faces an $18 billion transportation funding shortfall just to meet today’s needs. How should Minnesota fill this gap?
8) Please share any other ideas or viewpoints.
It’s great hearing your views, and I hope you will keep in touch throughout the rest of the session. Please call me at the Capitol or send me an email any time.