Friends and neighbors,
The senate returned from Easter and Passover break this last Tuesday. I personally enjoyed time away with family and caught up on some needed rest. I hope you were able to enjoy the holiday time.
We are back in full swing in St. Paul as we resume committee hearings and senate floor debate. We will spend the next weeks passing single issue bills, omnibus bills, and negotiating with the house on final bill language to present to the governor on a variety of issues.
Thanks to all who have contacted me with your concerns and priorities of legislative issues. I respond to as many emails as possible; if I miss yours – accept my apologies. Over 600 emails this week on a variety of issues.
As always, if you have questions or comments about issues we’re working on here, please contact me.
Call or email: 651-296-1253 Roger Chamberlain
My legislation, SF 3933, passed the committee process with great bi-partisan support and is waiting in the senate for full debate. SF 3933 is designed to help protect children from the predatory big tech social media businesses. Social media algorithms are driving kids into harmful behaviors including eating disorders, drug use, self-injury, and suicide. These platforms are designed to maximize revenue at the cost of kids’ mental health. This proposed legislation allows a civil action against the social media platform based on knowledge the platform has targeted a minor without the minor or parents’ permission. Algorithms intended to block access to harmful content; software or devices designed to filter out content based on parental controls; or user-generated content created by government entities, or public or private schools are exempt in this legislation. Children can still have accounts and “like” or “follow” friends or pages, but they will no longer be fed unsolicited content based on what they “like, “follow” or even “linger over” for a few seconds or based on “mirroring” which feeds them curated content based on what others like in their age, sex, likes, or geographic location.
This bill will not solve all the problems associated with social media use, but it will eliminate one of the major drivers of harm for young people. Last year I authored and the Governor signed a legislation to LiveMore ScreenLess to create a model to support schools, and others, in healthy, safe use of technology, specifically digital media – social media.
The bill was highlighted in an article in the Star Tribune this week.
The Education omnibus bill also completed the committee process and is waiting to be debated by the full senate. The focus of the bill is literacy and no mandates. There is great support for this laser focused legislation. Over 40% of 3rd graders cannot read at grade level. We will continue our efforts for literacy proficiency in our students. Little else matters if kids cannot read. We have failed our kids and educators for more than 20 years and it is time to fix the problem! I expect we will take this up in the senate next week.
CHILD and ADULT CARE FOOD and SUMMER FOOD SERVICE PROGRAMS
The Education committee also held three hearings this month with officials from Mn Department of Education (MDE) testifying before the committee. The subject: management of the federal Food and Nutrition Services money that was distributed from MDE to several non-profits in MN. MDE Commissioner Mueller, and her CFO, Denise Anderson, both claim “our policies and procedures worked”. Those same words were used when we questioned Assistant Commissioner Korte and Monica Herrera who manages the programs. My question – if it worked then where are the almost 300 million dollars and why is the FBI in MN looking into this? No other state is even close to this level of fraud, and the FBI hasn’t landed anywhere else. They are here in MN, and we need to get to the bottom of this. We are looking at what processes were in place and where they failed – because they did fail. We can’t ignore this failure. Something must change!
The senate passed one of two tax omnibus bills prior to the break. The press release is here:
(St. Paul) – With inflation at 40-year highs and working Minnesotans being squeezed more every day by soaring prices for gas, groceries, and energy, Minnesota Senate Republicans on April 7, made good on an early session promise to give back Minnesota’s historic $9 billion budget surplus with the largest permanent tax cut in state history.
The Senate approved a landmark tax bill that reduces the first-tier tax rate for all filers from 5.35% to 2.80%, and fully eliminates the state income tax on all Social Security benefits. The bill provides taxpayers with a much needed $8.43 billion in relief over the next three years.
“Inflation is spiraling out of control and economic pressures are squeezing family budgets. It’s time to give folks relief,” Sen. Roger Chamberlain (R-Lino Lakes) said. “This will be the biggest tax cut in state history. It is not an election year gimmick; it is real, permanent tax relief, that makes every single paycheck bigger from now on.”
Reducing the first-tier tax rate: Minnesota’s lowest tax bracket is higher than the highest tax bracket in 24 other states. Over 2.4 million filers would benefit from the historic Republican tax rate cut, with an average annual savings of $759. A typical family making $100,000 would see a savings of $1,064 every year.
Full elimination of the tax on Social Security income: Minnesota is one of just 13 states that tax Social Security benefits. Impacting taxpayers starting at $25,000 in income, the Social Security Income tax hits more than 407,000 Minnesota filers. None of the states that border us — Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, and South Dakota — tax Social Security income. Eliminating the Social Security tax would put $1.6 billion back into the hands of beneficiaries, with an average benefit of $1,254 every year.
In the last five years, Republicans passed billions in tax cuts, stopped Gov. Walz’s massive tax increases, and passed the first income rate tax cuts in 20 years. We will continue to work for well deserved, meaningful, and permanent tax relief.
SATURDAY, APRIL 23
Come experience your state parks!
75 Minnesota state parks and state recreation areas will offer free admission to everyone