Reflections and Highlights of Minnesota’s Legislative Session

Reflections and Highlights of Minnesota’s Legislative Session

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>>”CAPITOL REPORT” IS A PRODUCTION OF SENATE MEDIA SERVICES.>>ON THIS WEEK’S PROGRAM, GOVERNOR TIM WALZ JOINS ME TO REFLECT ON HIS FIRST LEGISLATIVE SESSION AS THE GOVERNOR OF MINNESOTA. PLUS HIGHLIGHTS OF THE STATE’S NEXT TWO-YEAR BUDGET. STAY TUNED FOR THIS AND MORE ON THIS WEEK’S “CAPITOL REPORT.” ♪♪>>WELCOME TO THIS WEEK’S PROGRAM. I’M SHANNON LOEHRKE. NOW THAT THE TENSIONS AND UNCERTAINTIES SURROUNDING THE STATE’S NEXT TWO-YEAR BUDGET HAVE BEEN RESOLVED, GOVERNOR TIM WALZ JOINS ME TO TAKE STOCK OF HIS FIRST LEGISLATIVE SESSION AS THE GOVERNOR OF MINNESOTA. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR BEING HERE.>>THANKS, SHANNON, FOR HAVING ME.>>WHEN YOU CAMPAIGNED, YOU HAD A GRAND VISION FOR MINNESOTA. IN THE END YOU HAD TO GIVE A FEW THINGS UP. BUT IN GENERAL, HOW WOULD YOU RATE THIS FIRST SESSION?>>WELL, FIRST OF ALL, THAT GRAND VISION WAS PART OF COMING IN ON TIME. IT WAS PART OF A LEGISLATIVE SESSION THAT WAS PRODUCTIVE. THAT INVOLVED COMPROMISE. WHEN I TALKED ABOUT ONE MINNESOTA I OFTEN GAVE THE SPEECH A HUNDRED TIMES. WHERE I WOULD SAY, IT DOESN’T MEAN WE ALL AGREE, BUT IT MEANS WE WORK ACROSS LINES OF DIFFERENCES TO MOVE MINNESOTA FORWARD. AND SO MY GOAL FROM THE BEGINNING WAS CLEAR. EDUCATION FUNDING THAT MOVES US FORWARD, PRESERVATION OF THE HEALTHCARE ACCESS FUND, THE PROVIDER TAX AND MOVING MINNESOTA FORWARD ON HEALTHCARE AND THEN MAKING SURE THAT OUR COMMUNITIES ESPECIALLY OUT IN GREATER MINNESOTA HAD CAPACITY TO BE ABLE TO THRIVE. THAT WAS LOCAL GOVERNMENT AID, BROADBAND, SOME OF THOSE THINGS. SO I’M CERTAINLY — I THINK THIS IS WHAT WE CAME IN ENVISIONING. I KNOW THIS IS A DOWN PAYMENT. A GOVERNOR’S JOB IS TO LAY OUT THAT VISION FOR MINNESOTA. I THINK WE DID THAT, A PLACE WHERE WE CAN GO TOGETHER, A PLACE WHERE GOVERNMENT FUNCTIONS IN A WAY THAT BRINGS FOLKS TOGETHER. YOU DON’T GET EVERYTHING YOU WANT, BUT WE’RE BASING IT ON WHAT MADE MINNESOTA THE STATE THAT IT IS AND THAT WAS EDUCATION AND A HEALTHY POPULATION. AND SO FOR THAT REGARDS, I THINK PRETTY SUCCESSFUL.>>I THINK THE IDEA OF A DOWN PAYMENT IS AN INTERESTING WAY OF LOOKING AT IT. IN COMPARISON TO OTHER YEARS, THERE HAVE NOT BEEN ANY VETOES THIS SESSION. IN ADDITION WE WILL SEE NEW LAWS FOR HANDS-FREE TECHNOLOGY FOR DRIVING, INCREASED FEES ON OPIOID MANUFACTURERS AND DISTRIBUTORS, LICENSING OF PHARMACY BENEFIT MANAGERS, TO BRING TRANSPARENCY TO DRUG PRICES, LICENSING OF ASSISTED LIVING FACILITIES. IN RETROSPECT, THAT ALREADY IS A PRETTY LARGE AGENDA, AND THAT’S ONLY PART OF IT. HOW WERE YOU ABLE TO GET SO MUCH ACROSS THE FINISH LINE?>>YEAH, AND THOSE ISSUES ARE PRETTY BIPARTISAN, AND MY GOAL WAS IS THAT TO NOT HAVE THE DRAMA COME AT THE END, TO NOT HAVE THE DRAMA WHERE WE TEAR OURSELVES APART AND TO START ESTABLISHING RELATIONSHIPS EARLY. I’VE OFTEN TALKED ABOUT THE COMPROMISE WE MADE ON THE MNLARS, THE DRIVER’S LICENSE SYSTEM, LICENSING SYSTEM, WAS CRITICAL. REPUBLICANS WERE RIGHTFULLY CRITICAL ABOUT THAT FOR YEARS. I THINK DEMOCRATS WERE CRITICAL ABOUT IT. IT WASN’T FUNCTIONING CORRECTLY. IT WAS A FRUSTRATION FOR A MINNESOTA THAT PRIDES ITSELF ON GOOD FUNCTIONING GOVERNMENT AND WE CAME IN, PUT A CRITICAL EYE ON THAT. I MADE THE CASE TO REPUBLICANS TO TRUST ME THAT I WOULD BE ABLE TO BRING SOME REFORMS THERE. THEY DID, AND WE’RE SEEING THINGS MOVE FORWARD. SO I THINK IT WAS ABOUT BUILDING THE TRUST. I THINK IT WAS ABOUT WORKING THE FRONT END SO THAT WE DIDN’T GET TO THE END AND — AND I CERTAINLY UNDERSTAND THE VETO IS A TOOL THAT THE GOVERNOR HAS. I THINK IT SHOULD BE USED VERY SPARINGLY, AND I THINK IF YOU DO THE WORK ON THE FRONT END YOU CAN AVOID THEM.>>YOU SUCCESSFULLY NEGOTIATED KEEPING THE HEALTHCARE PROVIDER TAX. AL BE IT AT 1.8%. CRITICS WHO HAD PUSHED FOR THE DEMISE OF THIS FUNDING MECHANISM CALLED IT A SLUSH FUND. WILL THIS MONEY BE MANAGED MORE TRANSPARENTLY IN THE FUTURE TO, YOU KNOW, ABET THAT CRITICISM?>>YEAH, DURING THIS, I THINK THERE WAS A LOT OF MISINFORMATION OUT THERE ABOUT THE HEALTHCARE ACCESS FUND. PROVIDES HEALTHCARE TO LITERALLY A MILLION MINNESOTANS. IT CERTAINLY UNDERPINS OUR ENTIRE SYSTEM. BUT I THINK SOME OF THE CRITIQUES WERE THAT, YOU KNOW, THE ORIGINAL DESIGN, PEOPLE DIDN’T REALLY UNDERSTAND WHAT IT WAS USED FOR. ORIGINALLY BACK, YOU KNOW, 27 YEARS AGO, THERE WAS SOME MONEY THAT WAS SENT TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA TO WORK ON PREVENTIVE CARE. SO THOSE WHO SAID, WELL, THAT’S AN INAPPROPRIATE USE OF THE HEALTHCARE ACCESS FUND, IT WAS AN ORIGINAL USE OF IT. BUT THERE WERE SOME SHIFTS THAT HAVE HAPPENED OVER THE YEARS THAT I THINK IT’S A FAIR CRITICISM TO SAY WE CAN DO A BETTER JOB OF TELLING PEOPLE EXACTLY WHERE THIS IS GOING TO GO. WE REMOVED PERMANENTLY THE SUNSET WHICH HAS BEEN HANGING OVER A LOT OF FOLKS’ HEAD FOR THE LAST EIGHT YEARS. AND WE DID COME TO A COMPROMISE TO REDUCE IT A LITTLE BIT WHICH I THINK WILL FORCE ALL OF US TO BE MORE EFFICIENT. WITH THE DOLLARS THAT WE BRING IN, BE TRANSPARENT WITH THEM. SO I DON’T — I DON’T SHY AWAY FROM THE HEALTHCARE ACCESS FUND IS CRITICALLY IMPORTANT. IT IS CERTAINLY NOT A SICK TAX. BUT THE IDEA THAT THERE COULD BE MORE TRANSPARENCY, SURE. AND I THINK THOSE ARE THINGS THAT I WANT TO BUILD INTO IT, BECAUSE I THINK IT BUILDS MORE FAITH IN THE SYSTEM.>>WELL, AND ANOTHER HEALTHCARE ISSUE WAS THE ONE CARE PROPOSAL THAT YOU HAD CAMPAIGNED ON. IT DIDN’T GAIN ANY TRACTION THIS SESSION. AND INSTEAD THE REINSURANCE PROGRAM WILL CONTINUE. SO ESSENTIALLY WE’RE AT A STATUS QUO.>>YEAH.>>WHAT IS NEXT FOR AFFORDABLE HEALTHCARE IN MINNESOTA?>>WELL, WE HAVE TO FIGURE OUT SOMETHING, AND I MADE NO, AGAIN, BONES ABOUT IT, THAT I THOUGHT REINSURANCE WAS A TOURNIQUETTE AT BEST, STOP GAP EFFORT. REPUBLICANS WERE INSISTENT THAT WE CONTINUE IT. IT DID STABILIZE PRICES, BUT — IN THE INDIVIDUAL MARKET TO A CERTAIN DEGREE, BUT IT’S SUPER EXPENSIVE. IT DOESN’T DO ANYTHING ON PREVENTIVE CARE. IT DOESN’T BEND THE COST CURVE ON HEALTHCARE IN GENERAL AND IT DOESN’T PROVIDE ANOTHER OPTION THAT ONE CARE DID WHERE WE WERE ADDING DENTAL AND VISION AND A BETTER OPTION. THIS WAS ONE OF THOSE FIGHTS THAT’S GOING TO BE A LITTLE BROADER. IT NEEDS TO I THINK TAKE ROOT A LITTLE MORE IN MINNESOTA. AND IT’LL BE SOMETHING THAT I’LL BE BACK OUT TALKING, ABOUT, BECAUSE AGAIN YOU’RE EXACTLY RIGHT, I THINK DESCRIBING THIS AS A STATUS QUO IS RIGHT. THAT’S UNACCEPTABLE BECAUSE COSTS ARE CONTINUING TO GO UP. IT’S GOING TO BECOME MORE EXPENSIVE, AND THIS IS GOING TO BE BACK IN THE SAME DILEMMA. HEALTHCARE IS NOT ABOUT SENDING HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS TO INSURANCE COMPANIES AND LOWERING PREMIUM RATES. HEALTHCARE IS ABOUT RESEARCH ON THE FRONT END, PREVENTIVE CARE, MAKING SURE WE’RE GETTING OUT THERE BECAUSE WHEN PEOPLE SAY, WELL, WE CAN’T AFFORD TO DO DENTAL CARE, I TALKED TO THE HOSPITAL UP IN FERGUS FALLS. THEY HAD A WOMAN WITH AN ABSCESSED TOOTH, COULDN’T GET IT FIXED, ENDED UP BEING $100,000 BILL, JEOPARDIZING HER ENTIRE HEALTH. WE HAVE TO DO BETTER AND I’LL GO BACK OUT TO MINNESOTA AND MAKE THAT CASE.>>A TASK FORCE WILL BE ESTABLISHED TO LOOK INTO THE DISPROPORTIONATE INCIDENCES OF MISSING AND MURDERED INDIGENOUS WOMEN. ALSO FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MORE THAN 30 YEARS, THERE WILL BE A FUNDING INCREASE FOR FAMILIES WHO RECEIVE ASSISTANCE THROUGH THE MINNESOTA FAMILY INVESTMENT PROGRAM, OR MFIP. THESE TWO PROGRAMS WILL ADDRESS NEEDS OF PEOPLE WHO GENERALLY ARE UNDER THE RADAR. WHAT HAPPENED THIS SESSION THAT ALLOWED THINGS TO MOVE FORWARD FOR PEOPLE WHO OFTEN DON’T HAVE A VOICE IN GOVERNMENT?>>WELL, I THINK WHAT HAPPENED IS PEGGY FLANAGAN WAS ELECTED LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR. AND I SAY THAT AS SOMEONE WHO’S A PARTNER WITH ME, THOSE WHO KNOW THE WORKINGS UP HERE KNOW THAT THE FORMER DIRECTOR OF THE CHILDREN’S DEFENSE FUND, MINNEAPOLIS SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER, AND AN INDIGENOUS WOMEN HERSELF, STEPPED INTO AN A POSITION THAT NO ONE — NO INDIGENOUS WOMAN EVER IN AMERICAN HISTORY HAS HAD, AN EXECUTIVE OFFICE. I THINK THAT MADE A BIG DIFFERENCE. SHE BROUGHT A COALITION TOGETHER. AND AGAIN THIS SHOWED THAT I THINK MINNESOTANS, THIS BIG DIVISION, I DON’T GO AROUND DEMONIZING MY REPUBLICAN FRIENDS AND SAYING THEY DON’T CARE ABOUT PEOPLE WHO ARE LESS FORTUNATE. THEY DO CARE. PAUL GAZELKA WAS A SUPPORTER OF THE TASK FORCE, MAKING SURE THAT HAPPENED, I THINK HAVING THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR THERE, HAVING HER ABILITY TO BUILD A COALITION, HAVING THE NEEDS THAT WERE VERY REAL, IT WAS A POWERFUL STORY. PEGGY TALKS ABOUT BEING THE CHILD OF A SINGLE MOTHER, TRYING TO MAKE ENDS MEET AND THE MONEY THAT SHE RECEIVED ON MFIP HASN’T CHANGED SINCE SHE WAS A CHILD UNTIL THIS YEAR. AND SO I THINK SHE WAS INSTRUMENTAL IN MAKING IT HAPPEN AND I THINK JUST THAT GOOD MINNESOTA CARING FOR OUR NEIGHBORS REALLY SHOWED UP. THIS IS SOMETHING WE SHOULD BE PROUD OF. THAT WAS A PRETTY HEAVY LIFT BECAUSE IDEOLOGICALLY THERE’S A LOT OF FOLKS THAT WOULD SAY, YOU KNOW, THIS WAS GIVE-AWAYS. THIS WAS THE WRONG WAY TO GO. IT’S NOT THAT. IT’S INVESTING IN MINNESOTA’S FUTURE AND IT’S RIGHTING A TRAGIC WRONG THAT INDIGENOUS WOMEN ARE INVISIBLE AND THEY CANNOT BE. AND CERTAINLY THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR IS NOT INVISIBLE AND SHE WANTED THAT FOR OTHERS.>>THE SENATE EDUCATION CHAIR, BRINGING IT BACK TO EDUCATION, A FORMER TEACHER AND THIS IS A HUGE PART OF YOUR CAMPAIGN PLATFORM AND WHO YOU ARE AS A PERSON, I THINK, SENATE EDUCATION CHAIRPERSON SENATOR CARLA NELSON SPOKE ON THE FLOOR, 2% AND 2% ON THE FORMULA FOR THE COMING BIENNIUM. WHEN ADJUSTED FOR INFLATION, HOWEVER, EDUCATIONAL LEADERS DON’T SEE THIS AS A WINDFALL BUT RATHER JUST AS NECESSARY ONGOING INVESTMENT. IS 2% AND 2%, IS THIS — SHOULD THIS BE THE NORM?>>OH, ABSOLUTELY. I DON’T DISAGREE WITH THEM. THIS IS — THIS IS, AGAIN, THAT DOWN PAYMENT LANGUAGE I USE IS MAKING SURE WE DIDN’T SLIDE FURTHER BACK. ONE OF THE BIG PIECES OF THAT, THE TWO AND TWO IS IMPORTANT. AND I REMIND YOUR LISTENERS THAT WE STARTED OUT WITH THE REPUBLICAN BUDGET HAVING HALF AND HALF A PERCENT. AND NOTHING ELSE. AND THE OTHER PART IS WHAT’S REALLY IMPORTANT HERE. WHAT’S REALLY PINCHING MINNESOTA SCHOOLS IS THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT’S INABILITY TO FUND SPECIAL EDUCATION PROGRAMS. THEY HAVE A — WE HAVE A — IT’S A LAW. IT’S A MANDATE THAT WE MUST PROVIDE, AND IT’S THE RIGHT THING TO DO TO PROVIDE THESE SERVICES, BUT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT WHEN THEY PASSED IT AND PASSED I.D.E.A. PROMISED THAT THEY WOULD PAY THE 40%. THEY DON’T, SO WE MAKE UP THE DIFFERENCE. SO WHAT’S ALSO IN THIS BUDGET IS ENOUGH MONEY, $90 MILLION THE FIRST YEAR, TO MAKE SURE THAT SCHOOLS CAN USE THEIR TWO AND TWO ON GENERAL EDUCATION IN THE CLASSROOM. AND I THINK THAT’S CRITICALLY IMPORTANT. SO I’M CERTAINLY PROUD OF WHAT WE WERE ABLE TO GET. THIS IS FOUR TIMES MORE THAN WHAT WAS ORIGINALLY PROPOSED IN THE SENATE. IT WILL ALLOW SCHOOLS TO AT LEAST HAVE SOME CERTAINTY OVER THE NEXT TWO YEARS BUT I DON’T DISAGREE WITH THOSE CRITICS WHO SAY THERE’S A LOT MORE WE NEED TO DO. WE DO. WE HAVE OPPORTUNITY GAPS TO CLOSE AND THAT’S GOING TO TAKE RESOURCES.>>AT THE BEGINNING OF THE SESSION, THERE WAS A LOT OF TALK ABOUT TRANSPARENCY. THERE WAS YOU AND SPEAKER HORTMAN AND LEADER GAZELKA IN A PRESS CONFERENCE TO DESCRIBE HOW THINGS WERE GOING TO BE DIFFERENT, A GRAND VISION FOR CHANGE. BUT IN THE END IT WAS STILL THE THREE OF YOU BEHIND CLOSED DOORS, SO MY QUESTION IS ARE RESULTS IN THE END MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE PROCESS?>>THIS IS THE FIRST TIME IN OVER A DOZEN YEARS THAT A BIPARTISAN BUDGET CAME IN BASICALLY ON TIME. AS YOU SAID, THERE WERE NO VETOES, AND I THINK YOU HEAR THE TONE OF THIS. THERE WAS A LOT OF RESPECT GOING BACK AND FORTH. SHOULD IT BE MORE TRANSPARENT? ABSOLUTELY. BUT I WOULD ARGUE AGAINST A BACKDROP OF TOTAL DYSFUNCTION IN D.C. WISCONSIN HAS MET FIVE DAYS SO FAR BECAUSE THEY’RE NOT EVEN TALKING TO ONE ANOTHER. THIS SHOULD BE THE NORM, BUT IT’S NOT AND I THINK WE DID SOMETHING THAT WAS A PRETTY HEAVY LIFT IN THIS ENVIRONMENT, BRINGING FOLKS TOGETHER TO TRY AND COME UP TO SOME OF THOSE COMPROMISES TO GET THINGS DONE. NOW, I WILL SAY THIS. ME PERSONALLY, WHAT I THINK THE PROBLEM IS, PEOPLE CAN’T COMPROMISE IN PUBLIC ANYMORE. I WENT THROUGH THIS WHOLE THING. AND PEOPLE LIKE, OH, YOU KNOW, THE GOVERNOR LOST BECAUSE HE GAVE UP ON THIS. I DIDN’T WIN OR LOSE. THIS IS ABOUT GOVERNING FOR MINNESOTA. SO I COMPROMISED ON AREAS I FELT WE COULD COME BACK LATER. I DIDN’T COMPROMISE AREAS LIKE ON HEALTHCARE AND EDUCATION, WHERE I HAVE TO GET THOSE THINGS DONE. BUT I THINK AGAIN, YOU KNOW, PEOPLE WHO ARE COMPLAINING IT WAS DONE AND SOME OF THE LEGISLATORS ARE COMPLAINING, THEY GAVE FIVE MINUTES TO MY BUDGET. FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MINNESOTA HISTORY, THEY WEREN’T EVEN GOING TO HEAR THE GOVERNOR’S BUDGET. I HAD TO GO IN AND BASICALLY BEG THEM TO AT LEAST ALLOW US TO PRESENT FOR FIVE MINUTES WHAT OUR BUDGET IS. IS THERE ANY WONDER WHY WE HAD TO GET BEHIND CLOSED DOORS? I WAS PRESENTING THINGS THAT THESE SENATORS NEVER SPENT ANY TIME LOOKING AT. SO AS THE EXECUTIVE SIDE OF THIS AND HAVING BEEN A MEMBER OF THE LEGISLATIVE SIDE OF THINGS, WE NEED TO HAVE CONFERENCE COMMITTEES OUT IN THE OPEN AND DEBATE THESE THINGS SO THEY DON’T HAVE TO BE DONE THIS WAY. BUT I ALSO KNOW I WAS ELECTED TO MAKE SURE THE STATE WORKS. I WAS ELECTED TO BRING PEOPLE TOGETHER. I DID HAVE TO LAY DOWN THE HAMMER AND SAY THIS IS GOING TO GET DONE. AND WE’RE GOING TO DO TO THIS WAY AND HERE IS MY COMPROMISE TO YOU. AND WHAT CAN YOU GIVE BACK? SO CERTAINLY THE PROCESS CAN BE BETTER, BUT THE RESULTS DO MATTER. WE HAVE A BUDGET THAT IS BASICALLY BIPARTISAN. WE HAVE A BUDGET THAT INVESTS IN THE THINGS THAT MAKE MINNESOTA, MINNESOTA. AND WE DID IT IN RELATIVELY ON TIME WITHOUT A LOT OF, YOU KNOW, THERE WAS NOT A LOT OF MEANNESS IN THIS. THERE WASN’T A LOT OF HARSH LANGUAGE. THERE WAS NO NAME CALLING. THERE WAS NO ACCUSATIONS. I THINK THAT STANDS FOR SOMETHING. SO ONCE AGAIN, THIS IS A DOWN PAYMENT ON A BETTER FUNCTIONING SYSTEM. BUT IT DID WORK IN THE END TO GET, I THINK, THE THINGS THAT MINNESOTANS WERE LOOKING FOR.>>ONE LAST QUESTION AND YOU SORT OF HAVE ALREADY ADDRESSED THIS, BUT AS A NEWCOMER TO THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH, WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED SO FAR?>>I THINK IT WAS HELPFUL FOR ME TO BE A LEGISLATOR BECAUSE I ALWAYS WONDERED ON THE OTHER SIDE. I THINK EVERY LEGISLATOR SEES THEMSELVES. WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF I WERE ON THE EXECUTIVE SIDE OF THINGS? WHAT I’VE LEARNED IS IT DOES TAKE COMPROMISE. IT DOES TAKE BOTH SIDES AND ESPECIALLY I WOULD SAY THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH TO SET THE TONE OF HOW THINGS ARE DONE. WE STARTED VERY EARLY ON THIS. AND I THINK PEOPLE MENTIONED THAT, WELL, WE KIND OF ENDED UP WITH THE SAME THING AT THE END, BUT THE TONE WAS DIFFERENT AT THE CAPITOL. DON’T UNDERESTIMATE HOW IMPORTANT THAT TONE IS. THAT IS RELATIONSHIPS. THAT IS FRIENDSHIP. THAT IS RESPECT. AND DON’T GET ME WRONG. I DISAGREE STRONGLY WITH WHERE THE REPUBLICAN SENATE WAS ON MANY ISSUES. BUT DISAGREEING AND DISRESPECTING ARE TWO VERY DIFFERENT THINGS AND I THINK THROUGH THIS WHOLE PROCESS WHAT I’VE LEARNED IS IF THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH CAN SET THE TONE, YOU CAN GET SOME RESULTS OUT OF THAT AND I INTEND TO CONTINUE TO DO IT.>>GOVERNOR WALZ, I WANT TO THANK YOU SO MUCH.>>THANKS FOR HAVING ME. APPRECIATE IT. ♪♪>>JUST AS MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND WAS ABOUT TO BEGIN, STATE LAWMAKERS FINALIZED A $48 BILLION BUDGET FOR THE COMING TWO YEARS BEGINNING JULY 1ST. IT WAS A BUDGET DEVELOPED BEHIND CLOSED DOORS BY GOVERNOR TIM WALZ, HOUSE SPEAKER MELISSA HORTMAN, AND SENATE MAJORITY LEADER PAUL GAZELKA.>>WE’RE HERE TO ANNOUNCE AN AGREEMENT HAS BEEN REACHED ON A TWO-YEAR STATE BUDGET FOR MINNESOTA. I’M GOING TO CLAP. [ Applause ] I’M GOING TO CLAP. THIS IS A BUDGET THAT INVESTS IN EDUCATION, HEALTHCARE AND COMMUNITY PROSPERITY IN A FISCALLY RESPONSIBLE MANNER. TODAY WE PROVE THAT DIVIDED GOVERNMENT CAN WORK FOR THE BETTERMENT OF THE PEOPLE WE SERVE. AS ONE OF ONLY TWO DIVIDED STATE GOVERNMENTS IN THE COUNTRY, WE REACHED A BIPARTISAN AGREEMENT ON TIME FOR THE FIRST TIME IN OVER A DECADE.>>AND PASSED BY ALL LAWMAKERS IN AN EXTENDED OVERNIGHT SESSION, HERE ARE SOME HIGHLIGHTS. IN EDUCATION, LAWMAKERS ALLOCATED AN ADDITIONAL $543 MILLION FROM THE GENERAL FUND. THE AMOUNT THE STATE GIVES PER STUDENT IS RAISED BY 2% EACH YEAR OF THE BIENNIUM. MORE FUNDS WERE ALSO ALLOCATED FOR SCHOOL SAFETY AND SPECIAL EDUCATION EXPENSES.>>SO THE TOTAL EDUCATION BOOST, THAT’S JUST THE BOOST, MEMBERS, IS $1.27 BILLION. IN FISCAL YEAR ’20 AND ’21. THAT IS A 6.8% INCREASE. NOW, WHEN THE MEASURE WAS PASSED OFF THE HOUSE AND SENATE AND SIGNED INTO LAW, WHEN THIS HAPPENS, THIS WILL BE, THIS 2019 EDUCATION FINANCE SPENDING BILL WILL BE THE LARGEST SPENDING LEGISLATION FOR OUR SCHOOLS IN MINNESOTA HISTORY.>>THE BILL BEFORE US, WHICH SENATOR NELSON MENTIONED, THIS IS A RECORD INVESTMENT AND IT SHOULD BE. STUDENTS ARE OUR FUTURE. BUT IT WAS MADE POSSIBLE, THE LARGE INCREASE, FROM A HALF AND A HALF IN THE FORMULA TO TWO AND TWO, THE GOLD STANDARD, BY THE LEADERSHIP OF GOVERNOR WALZ.>>IN HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, THE AGREEMENT CONTINUES THE HEALTHCARE PROVIDER TAX BUT REDUCES IT FROM 2% TO 1.8% AND CREATES A BLUE RIBBON COUNCIL TO IDENTIFY WASTE IN PUBLIC PROGRAMS. THE STATE WILL ALSO CONTINUE THE REINSURANCE PLAN FOR ANOTHER TWO YEARS. FURTHERMORE, THE NEW LAW WILL INCREASE ASSISTANCE TO POOR FAMILIES BY $100 A MONTH WHICH REPRESENTS THE FIRST INCREASE IN 33 YEARS.>>I THINK THAT THE WORK PRODUCT IS GOING TO STAND UP AS SOMETHING THAT WE CAN PROUD OF. YOU KNOW, IN HERE, SOME OF THE THINGS THAT ARE MOST IMPORTANT TO ME, YOU KNOW, THIS REPRESENTS A, YOU KNOW, A RESIZING OF THE HEALTH — OF THE PROVIDER TAX. AND — AND THE ABILITY TO INVEST IN THE HEALTH OF THE PEOPLE OF THE MINNESOTA. PROGRAM INTEGRITY, YOU KNOW, WE REALLY DID MAKE MUCH NEEDED INVESTMENTS THAT WILL IMPROVE OUR EFFORTS TO BETTER IDENTIFY AND INVESTIGATE FRAUD IN OUR STATE’S CHILD CARE ASSISTANCE PROGRAM. TO ENSURE THAT THE DOLLARS THAT WE INVEST SUPPORT THE FAMILIES IN NEED OF CHILD CARE, THAT THIS PROGRAM IS INTENDED TO SERVE. WE HAVE THE FIRST NEW CASH GRANT FOR MFIP ASSISTANCE IN OVER 33 YEARS. AND THIS BILL, WE HAVE $100 A MONTH INCREASE. FOR MFIP. SOMETHING THAT I KNOW HAS BEEN A BIPARTISAN DESIRE FOR A LONG TIME. WE, TOGETHER, SETTING ASIDE OUR DIFFERENCES AND TRYING TO WORK TOGETHER, WE HAVE $100 A MONTH INCREASE IN MFIP. AND I WANT TO THANK EVERYBODY WHO HAD A PART IN THAT.>>THE TRANSPORTATION AGREEMENT PROVIDES ADDITIONAL FUNDS FOR STATEWIDE ROAD CONSTRUCTION AND MAINTENANCE WITHOUT RAISING THE GAS TAX. MONEY IS PROVIDED FOR A NEW SOFTWARE SYSTEM TO REPLACE THE TROUBLED MINNESOTA LICENSING AND REGISTRATION SYSTEM, AND $13 MILLION IS DIRECTED TOWARD DEPUTY REGISTRARS WHOSE BUSINESSES WERE HARMED BY THE FAULTY ROLLOUT OF MNLARS.>>THERE WILL BE NO GAS TAX THIS YEAR. I CERTAINLY — YOU’RE GOING TO GET THIS I THINK IN YOUR INBOX, ALL THE DETAILS OF THIS. THAT WAS A PART THAT — IT WAS PART OF THE NEGOTIATIONS. WE’LL COME BACK AT IT. I DON’T THINK THE NEED IS GOING TO CHANGE. BUT WE’LL COME BACK AND TAKE SOME TIME TO FIGURE OUT A DIFFERENT APPROACH TO THAT.>>THE EXPERTS RECOMMENDED THAT WE FREEZE THE MNLARS SYSTEM AS OF THE MOST RECENT ROLLOUT, THAT’D BE THE 1.16, AS OF JUNE OF THIS YEAR, JUST FREEZE IT, NOT DO ANYTHING MORE WITH IT, KEEP IT OPERATING, BUT DON’T DEVELOP IT ANY FURTHER. AND PURCHASE AN OFF THE SHELF SOFTWARE PACKAGE THROUGH THE PRIVATE INDUSTRY. REALLY A DRAMATIC SHIFT. IN THE APPROACH TO HANDLING OUR DRIVER’S LICENSES IN THE — THE TAB FEES, I SHOULD SAY, IN THE STATE OF MINNESOTA.>>REGARDING TAXES, THE STATE WILL CONFORM MINNESOTA’S TAX CODE TO THE FEDERAL CHANGES ENACTED IN 2017. THERE’S A QUARTER PERCENT TAX CUT FOR SECOND TIER INCOME TAX PAYERS, AND STATEWIDE PROPERTY TAX REDUCTIONS FOR BUSINESSES.>>YOU KNOW, ONE OF THE HIGHLIGHTS OF WHAT WE WERE REALLY TRYING TO ACCOMPLISH WAS THAT MIDDLE CLASS TAX CUT. FIRST TIME IN I BELIEVE TWO DECADES THAT WE’VE ACTUALLY LOWERED AN INCOME TAX RATE. AND IT WAS THE RATE JUST ABOVE THE — NOT THE LOWEST RATE, BUT THE NEXT ONE UP WE LOWERED WHICH SHOULD IMPACT A LOT OF PEOPLE. A LOT MORE THINGS THAT GOT DONE BUT THAT’S THE HIGHLIGHT I WANT TO FOCUS ON TODAY.>>REGARDING JUDICIARY AND PUBLIC SAFETY, THE AGREEMENT AUTHORIZES ADDITIONAL FUNDS FOR MORE CORRECTIONS OFFICERS AND IT REESTABLISHES A OMBUDSMAN FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS TO ADDRESS INMATES AND STAFF COMPLAINTS. THE NEW LAW ALSO CREATES A TASK FORCE TO EXAMINE THE DISPROPORTIONATE NUMBER OF INDIGENOUS WOMEN WHO ARE VICTIMS OF VIOLENT CRIME.>>WE DID ADVOCATE PRIMARILY FOR FUNDS FOR OUR CORE FUNCTIONS OF GOVERNING. AND THE TARGET THAT THE LEADERS AGREED TO AS I MENTIONED BEFORE FUNDS THE $2.3 BILLION OF BASE BUDGET, AND ABOUT $124 MILLION IN NEW SPENDING. WE ALSO INCLUDED MONIES FOR NEW CORRECTION OFFICERS. WE ENSURED THAT HEALTH INSURANCE FOR ALL OF THE EMPLOYEES IN OUR DIVISION WERE COVERED FULLY. AND TO ENSURE THE SAFETY OF PRISONS. THE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS HAD SOUGHT A NEW OFFICE IN THEIR ADMINISTRATION, AND THAT IS THE OFFICE OF OMBUDSMAN. IN ORDER TO EASE HEIGHTENED TENSIONS FOR BOTH INMATES AS WELL AS EMPLOYEES.>>THAT WE NEEDED TO DO THIS WORK, AND THAT THE TASK FORCE THAT HAS BEEN PUT IN PLACE IS JUST THE BEGINNING. WE HAVEN’T ADDRESSED THIS ISSUE. WE HAVE KNOWN ABOUT THESE STATISTICS. WE HAVE KNOWN THAT FOUR IN NATIVE — FOUR IN FIVE NATIVE WOMEN ARE VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC ASSAULTS, AND WE ALSO KNOW THAT MORE THAN 40% OF NATIVE AMERICAN CHILDREN EXPERIENCE TWO OR MORE ACTS OF VIOLENCE BY THE AGE OF 18. WOMEN THAT EXPERIENCE THESE SITUATIONS, MEMBERS, HAVE BEEN INVISIBLE TO US, AND MANY OF US HAVE KNOWN THESE NUMBERS FOR MANY YEARS.>>NOT EVERYONE WAS HAPPY WAS THE FINAL BUDGET AGREEMENT.>>THIS ENERGY SECTION IS AN ABOMINATION. AN ABSOLUTE FAILURE. AND IT ISN’T BECAUSE OF THIS BODY. WE STARTED OUT THE YEAR, I STARTED OUT THE YEAR SPEAKING WITH MY COUNTERPART IN THE OTHER BODY, AND WE HAD AGREED TO PUT TOGETHER A R.D.A. GLOBAL SPEND BILL, WHICH WE DID, AND WE PASSED OUT OF OUR COMMITTEE. THEY DIDN’T ACT. WHEN WE STARTED DISCUSSING THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE BILLS, I SAID VERY CLEARLY, THERE ARE NO-GOES AND NO-STARTERS. AND IT IS THE FIRST ONE WAS CLEAN ENERGY FIRST. THE HOUSE VERSION WAS A RADICAL ENVIRONMENTAL WISH LIST. IT WAS NOT BIPARTISAN IN ANY WAY, SHAPE, OR FORM.>>AND, Mr. CHAIRMAN, THIS IS NOT YOUR FAULT AT ALL. AND YOU HAD A GREAT OPPORTUNITY TO PUT A BILL TOGETHER WITH SOME GOOD THINGS ON IT AND THERE’S A LOT OF GOOD THINGS IN HERE THAT THIS COMMITTEE AND OUR STAFF DID. BUT WHAT THE SPENDING CHAIRS DID TO YOU. WHAT THEY DID TO YOU IN THIS BILL IS SHAMEFUL. $491 MILLION OUT OF THE BUDGET RESERVE AT A TIME WHEN WE HAVE 2.1 G.D.P. GROWTH. WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO WHEN WE GET TO THE YEARS OF 1.4, WHICH IS WHAT THE FORECAST SAYS. THAT’S WHERE WE’RE GOING. AND THAT WASN’T ENOUGH. THE SPENDERS, AND WHEN I WAS TAX CHAIR, I NEVER EVER MET WITH THE SPENDERS AND WE HAD, LIKE, EIGHT OF THEM. Mr. CHAIRMAN, I THINK YOU GOT, LIKE, NINE OR TEN OF THEM. AND THE LAST THING THE TAX CHAIR SHOULD DO IS GET IN THE ROOM WITH THE SPENDING CHAIRS BECAUSE YOU CAN NEVER GIVE THEM ENOUGH, Mr. CHAIRMAN. I’M AWARE OF THAT. AND IT’S UNFORTUNATE THAT YOU LET THEM — OR THAT THE LEADER LET THEM, SOMEBODY LET THEM STEAL $491 MILLION OUT OF THE BUDGET RESERVE, AND IT DIDN’T END THERE. THEY STILL DIDN’T HAVE ENOUGH. SO THEY STOLE $48 MILLION OF TANF MONEY THAT USED TO COME TO THIS COMMITTEE AND I WOULD ARGUE THAT FEDERAL MONEY SHOULD HELP PAY FOR THE WORKING FAMILY CREDIT. SO THEY STOLE ANOTHER 48 MILLION OUT OF THIS COMMITTEE BECAUSE THEY STILL DIDN’T HAVE ENOUGH. AND IT GETS EVEN WORSE. AND I DON’T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THIS AGREEMENT BECAUSE I’VE BEEN NO PART OF IT, AND I AIN’T HAVING NO PART OF IT. ♪♪>>IN OUR OCCASIONAL SERIES, THE PEW ‘EM’S HOUSE — THE PEOPLE’S HOUSE, TALKS ABOUT ONE OF THE UNIQUE FEATURES OF THE STATE CAPITOL.>>THE SECOND FLOOR OF THE STATE CAPITOL IS REALLY THE FOCAL POINT OF ALL OF THE ACTIVITY THAT HAPPENS HERE. WHAT WAS CASS GILBERT’S IDEA BEHIND THIS PARTICULAR DESIGN?>>THE SECOND FLOOR IS REALLY CALLED THE GRAND FLOOR OF THE CAPITOL BECAUSE IT’S WHERE EVERYONE CAN COME UP HERE, GET ACCESS TO THE CHAMBERS, THE HOUSE, THE SENATE, AND THE SUPREME COURT. IT’S A PLACE WHERE ALL THAT ACTIVITY IS TAKING PLACE EACH DAY OF SESSION, SO YOU HAVE PEOPLE LOBBYING FOR INTEREST GROUPS HERE, YOU HAVE THE PUBLIC THAT ARE HERE TO TALK TO THEIR LEGISLATORS AND SO FORTH, OR GO TO THE SUPREME COURT FOR THEIR HEARING. SO, REALLY, THE VISION THAT CASS GILBERT HAD FOR THIS SPACE ON THE SECOND FLOOR WAS TO BE A GRAND SPACE WHERE YOU REALLY GET A SENSE OF THE ARCHITECTURE OF THESE BEAUTIFUL COLONADES OF ITALIAN MARBLE COLUMN AND MINNESOTA STONE, AND YOU ALSO GET A PLACE WHERE PEOPLE FEEL FRIENDLY, ARE WELCOMED INTO THOSE SPACES, AT THE SAME TIME THEY’RE VISITING OR COMING HERE FOR BUSINESS.>>IN THE OTHER CAPITOLS I’VE VISITED, I’VE NOTICED THAT THE HOUSE CHAMBER IS OFTEN ACROSS FROM THE SENATE CHAMBER, BUT NOT HERE IN OUR CAPITOL. WHAT IS THE REASON FOR THAT?>>I THINK WHAT CASS GILBERT WAS LOOKING AT DOING IS CREATING A SYMMETRICAL BUILDING, AND SO WE HAVE, IN 1905, THERE WERE 63 SENATORS, NOT THE 67 WE HAVE TODAY, BUT WE HAD 119 HOUSE MEMBERS, SO THAT’S ALMOST TWICE THE SIZE. SO I THINK, FOR HIM, HOW YOU CONSTRUCT A BUILDING WITH ONE END OF THE BUILDING WITH A SMALLER CHAMBER AND THE OTHER OPPOSITE END WITH A HUGE CHAMBER JUST DOESN’T FIT ARCHITECTURALLY. SO HE PUT THE SENATE CHAMBER ON THE WEST SIDE OF THE BUILDING, THE SUPREME COURT, A SMALLER CHAMBER OF COURSE, ON THE OPPOSITE END, AND THEN THE HOUSE, BECAUSE OF ITS SIZE, FIT PERFECTLY IN THE NORTH CORRIDOR, OR THE NORTH SIDE OF THE BUILDING.>>IT MAY JUST BE A MATTER OF FOLKLORE, BUT I’VE READ THAT THE PLACEMENT OF THE HOUSE CHAMBER LOOKING AT THE CITY OF St. PAUL IS IMPORTANT IN TERMS OF REPRESENTING THE PEOPLE, THAT THE SPEAKER IS LOOKING AT THE PEOPLE. IS THAT TRUE?>>YEAH. A LOT OF PEOPLE LOOK AT THE WAY THE SPACES HAVE BEEN DESIGNED OR LAID OUT, THAT GILBERT WAS LOOKING AT THE HOUSE BEING KIND OF THE APPROACHABLE, IT’S MORE OF THE PEOPLE’S HOUSE, THE MEMBERS SERVE A TWO-YEAR TERM SO THERE’S MORE ROTATION OR MORE CHANGEOVER AS THE MEMBERS LEAVE OR GET RE-ELECTED OR NOT RE-ELECTED.>>AND THERE ARE MORE OF THEM.>>AND THERE’S MORE OF THEM AS WELL. AND SO THE IDEA IS KIND OF SYMBOLICALLY, IT FACES THE PUBLIC, FACES DOWNTOWN St. PAUL.>>IN 1905, WHEN THE CAPITOL OPENED, ALL OF THE STATE’S CONSTITUTIONAL OFFICES WERE HOUSED IN THIS BUILDING AND THAT’S NOT TRUE TODAY. CAN YOU TALK MORE ABOUT THAT?>>SURE. THE WHOLE IDEA OF THE BUILDING HERE WAS, THIS IS THE SEAT OF STATE GOVERNMENT, SO YOU HAVE YOUR EXECUTIVE BRANCH OFFICERS, YOU HAVE THE GOVERNOR, LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR, STATE TREASURER, THE STATE AUDITOR, THE SECRETARY OF STATE, THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, ALL HOUSED WITHIN THIS ONE BUILDING IN 1905. THAT GIVES YOU A SENSE OF HOW THIS BUILDING HAS CHANGED OVER ITS 112-YEAR HISTORY, IS YOU HAVE A LOT OF THOSE CONSTITUTIONAL OFFICERS MOVING OUT TO DIFFERENT CHAMBERS. THEY’RE GOING INTO THE STATE OFFICE BUILDING. BACK IN THE ’60s AND THE ’70s, YOU HAVE THE ADMINISTRATION BUILDING WHERE THE TREASURER MOVED INTO. NOW THE TREASURER, WE, AS A CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT, ABOLISHED THE TREASURER’S OFFICE SO THERE NO LONGER IS A TREASURER. AND THAT ALSO FITS IN WITH THE HISTORY OF THE SUPREME COURT, TOO. THEY WERE, UNTIL THE 1990s, EVERYTHING THEY HAD HERE, THE OFFICES, THE LAW LIBRARY, THE CHAMBER WAS THEIR HEADQUARTERS, KIND OF THEIR CENTER, GATHERING PLACE WHERE ALL THE WORK AND ALL THE BUSINESS THEY DO. AND THEN WHEN THE JUDICIAL CENTER WAS OPENED, THEY MOVED THERE. AND SO THEY HAVE NEW SUPREME COURT AND APPELLATE COURT OFFICES AND ALSO CHAMBERS THERE. BUT THEY STILL USE THIS SPACE IN THE STATE CAPITOL AS AN IMPORTANT PART OF THEIR CONNECTION TO THIS BUILDING. [ DRAMATIC MUSIC ] ♪♪>>JOIN US AGAIN NEXT WEEK AS WE DELVE INTO MORE TOPICS AFFECTING MINNESOTANS. I’M SHANNON LOEHRKE AND ON BEHALF OF ALL OF US AT SENATE MEDIA SERVICES, THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.

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