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On this page you will find the latest press releases and statements from the Office of Governor Walz and Lieutenant Governor Flanagan.

Governor Walz, Lieutenant Governor Flanagan Announce Plan to Protect Minnesotans’ Health and Safety

Governor Walz, Lieutenant Governor Flanagan Announce Plan to Protect Minnesotans’ Health and Safety; Budget package makes significant investments to support veterans, first responders, peace officers

1/26/2022 12:24:07 PM

[ST. PAUL, MN] – Governor Tim Walz and Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan today announced /governor/assets/Protecting%20Health%20and%20Safety%20Fact%20Sheet_tcm1055-516412.pdfproposals to protect Minnesotans’ health and safety in the Walz-Flanagan Budget to Move Minnesota Forward – the Governor and Lieutenant Governor’s supplemental budget recommendation for the upcoming legislative session. Today’s roll out follows announcements focused on investing in local jobs and projects, expanding economic opportunity, and supporting children and families. Details for the entire Budget to Move Minnesota Forward are posted online.

“My top priority as Governor is protecting the health and safety of Minnesotans,” said Governor Walz. “Whether we’re managing the COVID-19 pandemic or putting a stop to violent crime, we are always working to keep Minnesotans safe. My plan to fund local law enforcement and first responders, invest in community organizations and youth intervention, and stand up a statewide violent crime initiative will allow for better coordination, more sophisticated investigatory resources, and enable precision policing to apprehend the worst offenders. This is a comprehensive, modern approach to public safety that was built with every neighborhood in mind.”

“Budgets are not just fiscal documents – they are moral documents,” said Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan. “Every Minnesotan deserves to be safe, protected, and valued in their community. And every Minnesotan deserves health care that meets their needs, a place to call home, and a future with breathable air and drinkable water. Our budget invests in those values to protect the health and safety of our neighbors across the state. It is time for us to take action to invest in a future that includes all of us.”

Reduce Crime and Increase Community Trust
Governor Walz and Lieutenant Governor Flanagan propose several grant programs as a critical strategy to invest in the changing needs of communities as they address increased crime, providing funding for Minnesota’s community-based crime prevention grants that fund such programs as probation, youth services, truancy programs, elder abuse prevention, neighborhood watch, resident engagement, and other community-driven intervention and prevention strategies. The Walz-Flanagan budget also invests $300 million over three years to cities, counties, and tribes across the state, encouraging and supporting new ways of meeting the evolving expectations of public safety in communities across Minnesota. The budget also invests in recruiting peace officers who represent the population of our state and reducing violent crime by providing investigative support to local agencies.

Stand Up Statewide Violent Crime Initiative
Increased violent crime is a threat to thriving communities across Minnesota. Effective violent crime strategies must employ a coordinated approach of prevention, intervention, and enforcement. This proposal will leverage forensic science to identify perpetrators of violence and clear the innocent, use analytics to strategically identify those committing violent crimes, and leverage partnerships to investigate violent crimes. Critical resource gaps currently exist in some of our most challenges communities. This investment will create the capacity to provide much needed assistance to address violent crime.

Prioritize Youth Intervention and Juvenile Justice
Governor Walz and Lieutenant Governor Flanagan propose providing resources to programs serving youths, including after school activities, tutoring, mentoring, and other services for youth. The Walz-Flanagan budget also provides funding to develop community-based alternatives to juvenile detention, including ongoing funding to establish Community Outpost Houses and invest in TRUCE youth conflict resolution centers to connect community members can connect with outreach programs; learn about applicable government services; obtain community meeting spaces; host mentoring and tutoring programs; and provide youth conflict resolution, suicide awareness and counseling, health and wellness, entrepreneurship, and leadership programs. This proposal is focused on building relationships and trust within communities; providing opportunities to create relationships between community and local law enforcement; reducing crime; and providing youth with a place to resolve conflict in a positive non-violent manner. The budget also establishes Crossover Youth Practice Model and Dual Status Youth Programs in counties throughout Minnesota to support youth who are both in child welfare and juvenile justice systems.

Legalize Cannabis for Adult Use
The Governor and Lieutenant Governor know that Minnesota needs modernized solutions to harness the benefits of legalizing cannabis, including expanding our economy, creating jobs across the state, allowing law enforcement to focus on violent crime, and regulating the industry in order to keep our kids safe. The Governor and Lieutenant Governor recommend funding for the safe and responsible legalization of cannabis for adult-use in Minnesota. A new Cannabis Management Office would be responsible for the implementation of the regulatory framework for adult-use cannabis, along with the medical cannabis program, and a program to regulate hemp and hemp-derived products. The recommendation also includes funding for grants to assist individuals entering the legal cannabis market, additional resources for substance use disorder treatment and prevention, provides for expungement of non-violent offenses involving cannabis, and implements taxes on adult-use cannabis.

Expand Access to High-Quality, Affordable Health Care
The Governor and Lieutenant Governor propose increasing health care access and affordability for Minnesotans by establishing a MinnesotaCare buy-in to create an accessible health insurance option for Minnesotans who lack health insurance, as well as for Minnesotans who have insurance but struggle to cover high out-of-pocket costs. The budget also includes funding to deeply examine how free primary care could be offered to all Minnesotans. To ensure Minnesotans get the maximum benefit from the No Surprises Act – a new federal law which broadly protects consumers from large, unexpected medical bills – the Governor and Lieutenant Governor’s budget proposal reduces complexity between state and federal law and helps the state establish authority and resources to implement and enforce the new federal law at the state level. Additionally, to address growing health care costs, the budget also includes a package of initiatives to establish targets of health spending growth by which to moderate the rate of growth, create an evidence base for developing policy initiatives to constrain growth in wasteful spending, and assess readiness for rural communities to participate in value-based payment programs that would stabilize health care services in rural communities.

Provide Health Care for Minnesota Kids
The Governor and Lieutenant Governor’s budget includes funding to provide children and youth under 21 with 12-month continuous Medical Assistance (MA) eligibility to reduce health coverage interruption that too often prevents Minnesota kids from seeing a doctor when they need to. This builds on continuous postpartum coverage so that any child over the age of one determined to be eligible for MA will retain coverage until their annual MA renewal. This would result in nearly 16,000 Minnesota children and youth per month keeping their health insurance.

Ensure Every Minnesotan Has a Safe and Affordable Place to Call Home
The Governor and Lieutenant Governor’s budget recommends $10 million each year starting in fiscal year 2023 to create prenatal to preK housing support to an estimated 1,425 families with young children each year, extending the Homework Starts with Home program. The Walz-Flanagan budget invests $95 million over three years in emergency shelter services to improve and expand overnight emergency shelter options for individuals and families experiencing homelessness throughout Minnesota. The budget enhances support for Minnesota youth and young adults, including LGBTQ+ youth, experiencing homelessness with prevention services, housing units, and targeted services for young parents. The budget proposal also provides additional grant funding to support Minnesota families experiencing and transitioning out of homelessness. Additionally, the Governor and Lieutenant Governor recommend $100 million in fiscal year 2023 to preserve and improve existing housing; $12 million in fiscal year 2023 and $20 million in fiscal year 2024-25 for additional down payment and closing cost assistance; and an increase of $19.5 million in fiscal year 2023 and an increase of $19 million in fiscal year 2024-25 to the Family Homelessness Prevention and Assistance Program.

Address Climate Change to Create a Healthy Future
The Governor and Lieutenant Governor’s proposal provides seed money to establish a Green Bank to finance clean energy projects across the state. The Walz-Flanagan budget creates a new $35 million investment fund that will finance research and development of the next generation of clean energy technology aimed at increasing grid reliability, electrical transmission, and renewable energy deployment. To modernize aging water infrastructure, the budget includes feasibility studies and funding for projects to save local governments money by lowering the energy costs of aging wastewater and drinking water plants across the State. The budget expands the Solar for Schools program, offering solar energy for up to 45 more schools in Greater Minnesota, reduce energy costs for schools, save money for local taxpayers, add local jobs to build solar, and offer lessons and career paths for students in solar technology. The budget also proposes $54 million for grants to prepare our communities for extreme weather events; $2.75 million to replace seedlings that didn’t survive the 2021 drought on DNR-managed lands and $2.75 million for a pass-through grant program to assist tribal, county, and private forest owners who are also faced with drought-related reforestation needs; $4.5 million to address the impact of the 2021 drought on Minnesota trees; $3 million to address the impact of drought on water conservation; and $300,000 to address the impact of drought on individual and small community wells. Additionally, the budget creates a statewide clean tech workforce training program and $1 million to create a state-funded brownfield assessment grant program to support community-based redevelopments throughout Minnesota.

Take Care of Our Veterans
The Governor and Lieutenant Governor recommend $40 million for the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs (MDVA) to provide service bonuses to recognize the sacrifices of post-9/11 veterans and Gold Star families, who currently don't receive these bonuses. The Walz-Flanagan budget recommends $1.1 million for the MDVA Homes for Veterans program, creating additional incentives provided to landlords who are renting units to veterans experiencing homelessness and $8.8 million to establish permanent supportive housing options for Minnesota veterans. The budget also includes funding for the hotel and outreach program for Minnesota veterans, reducing chronic and long-term homelessness and disparities within the response system.

Minnesotans from across the state also shared their support for Governor Walz and Lieutenant Governor Flanagan’s plan to protect Minnesotans’ health and safety:

“Young people on their own are some of the least visible and most vulnerable when experiencing instability including homelessness. During the pandemic, as resources became scarcer and waiting lists became much longer, youth were impacted more than most ,” said Hanna Getachew-Kreusser, Executive Director, Face to Face. “This budget demonstrates that Minnesota cares about marginalized young people and ensures they find the resources they need for safety and stability. As a safety net services provider for 50 years, Face to Face is delighted to see the state's investment in the critical needs of our young people—the present and the future of our communities.”

“Climate change is our greatest environmental challenge today and threatens the forests, prairies, rivers, lakes and streams that Minnesotans love,” said Ann Mulholland, Chapter Director, The Nature Conservancy MN-ND-SD. “ We are pleased to see the Administration proposing investments in climate solutions –especially through nature--and hope this proposal leads to significant investments this session in natural and working lands to accelerate the role they can play in meeting the challenge of climate change.”

“The Governor’s budget and bonding proposals align with what we know at the Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless – shelter saves lives. Housing ends homelessness. These proposals make transformative investments to address homelessness and housing instability by ensuring shelters and homes provide safety and dignity,” said Rhonda Otteson, Executive Director, Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless. “Whether children, youth, families, seniors, or veterans are experiencing homelessness or seeking a permanent home, these investments will make a significant positive impact all across Minnesota.”

“I am grateful that Governor Walz and his staff have taking time recently to meet with a group of neighboring chiefs and I to discuss these important issues. We all hope to continue to meet and have those conversations with anyone who wants to continue the discussion on finding ways to reduce violent crime in all our communities,” said Erik Fadden, Director of Public Safety and Chief of Police, Plymouth Police Department. “We believe the conversations go beyond just the money but are pleased and grateful for this start in the right direction.”

“Stable and available housing is a key social determinant of health. Numerous studies show how health outcomes improve and healthcare costs decline when people have access to safe and affordable housing,” James Hereford, President and CEO, Fairview Health Services. “A bold investment in housing and preventing homelessness is one of the most important investments we can make to keep our communities healthy and drive down the costs of care – and that benefits us all.”

“We are in unprecedented times that require significant collective action and resources. The pandemic has exposed just how many families are housing insecure in Minnesota, living just one paycheck away from experiencing a housing crisis and becoming homeless,” said Susan Bass Roberts, Vice-President and Executive Director of the Pohlad Family Foundation. “Philanthropy will continue to play its part but cannot fill the level of need we are seeing in community. Government must step up and invest at a level to ensure Minnesotans have a safe place to call home.”

"The Governor’s budget proposal recognizes that supporting Minnesota families requires significant investments in housing. We are particularly excited about a clear strategy to invest in a community stabilization fund, that recognizes that we need to maintain the quality and affordability of housing that already exists in the market. This investment in Naturally Occurring Affordable Housing (NOAH) is cost effective and can be deployed immediately to save homes for thousands of Minnesotans,” said Anne Mavity, Executive Director, Minnesota Housing Partnership. “Renter policy improvements in the Governor’s proposals are also desperately needed to ensure that renters have the rights, resources and information they need to live in their homes safely and stably. MHP looks forward to working with the Governor and State legislative leaders to ensure that Minnesota invests in families by investing in housing in 2022."

“I want to acknowledge the Governor for being so responsive to the calls from Rochester and Southeastern Minnesota regarding the desperate need for affordable housing and homeless shelters,” said Rochester Mayor Kim Norton. “I want the Governor and Legislature to know that affordable housing, like public safety, is an issue that mayors across Minnesota identified as a common concern when we gather. Be it urban or rural, conservative or liberal, city leaders across our great state are looking for more resources to help provide housing that people can afford.”

“Two winters ago, in the middle of a pandemic, a bipartisan group of cross-sector partners—including philanthropy and the State—came together to pool financial resources to address issues of homelessness in Minnesota. This partnership has never been stronger but to meet the tremendous community needs, it will require a transformational investment,” said Dr. Eric Jolly, President and CEO, St. Paul and Minnesota Foundations. “We applaud this historic proposal to invest $1 billion over the upcoming three years to address the many points along the housing continuum from emergency shelters to prevention efforts aimed at keeping Minnesotans in their homes. These investments in housing stability, if enacted, would not only have a transformative impact in the lives of thousands of Minnesotans, but would strengthen the fabric of our communities across the state.”

"Minnesotans want a state where we can afford to be healthy, yet almost everyone struggles to afford prescription drugs. When we expand Minnesota’s nation leading price transparency law to wholesalers and pharmacy benefit managers, we put the health of Minnesotans before the profits of corporate middlemen,” said James Holt Jr., hospital worker, Executive Board member, SEIU Healthcare Minnesota. “These proposals would also put Minnesotans before insurance companies when we expand access to our affordable, high-quality Minnesota Care program. These would be great steps to make sure every Minnesotan – no matter our race, zip code or how much money we have – can live full, healthy lives."

“We are grateful for the Governor’s strong commitment to preventing and ending homelessness in Minnesota. Emergency shelter and supportive housing providers have been on the frontlines to support those most disparately impacted throughout the pandemic, yet the need to invest more in Minnesota’s housing and homelessness crisis response existed long before COVID,” said Michael Goar, President and CEO, Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis. “Significant and ongoing public investments to emergency services and shelter operations, including the Emergency Services Program and Homeless Youth Act, are critical now and moving forward to disrupt the trends of Minnesota’s homelessness crisis and ensure those in need receive the best possible support to achieve stable housing and thrive in our communities.”

“Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota (LSS) is excited that the Governor is recommending further investment in the Homeless Youth Act – a crucial program that helps youth experiencing homelessness across the state find connection and stability in their community,” said Karen Kingsley, Senior Director of Youth & Family Services, LSS . “It’s more important now than ever with the challenges of the pandemic. We know that LGBTQIA2S+ youth are overrepresented in the homeless youth population. At LSS, we make it a priority to welcome and support youth with their full identities into our services.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic continues to expose the ways that the Minnesotans without housing stability pay the heaviest tolls for gaps in our safety net and community infrastructure. If supported by the Legislature, these historic investments in homelessness prevention, affordable housing, emergency shelter, and services for people facing housing crises will mean that local communities will have the resources to ensure that no Minnesotan is sleeping outside for lack of shelter and that urgently needed housing opportunities are created for Minnesotans with lowest incomes and greatest barriers to accessing housing today,” said Cathy ten Broeke, Assistant Commissioner, Minnesota Interagency Council on Homelessness.

“No matter what city you live in, if neighborhoods aren’t safe places to live nothing else matters,” said St. Louis Park Mayor Jake Spano. “This historic investment by Governor Walz recognizes the long-standing commitment of local leaders throughout the state to ensuring safe communities and support for our youth. We appreciate the Governor’s partnership, and we look forward to quick passage of his commonsense proposal at the legislature.”

“Violence Free Minnesota and it’s member programs are thrilled to see a robust investment in victim survivors and the programs that serve them in the Governor’s proposed budget. Survivors need access to services and supports to care for themselves and their children,” said Guadalupe Lopez, Executive Director, Violence Free Minnesota. “Domestic violence programs have a direct and immediate impact on the public safety of Minnesotans, and we thank the Walz-Flanagan administration for making this a priority. We look forward to working with the administration and the legislature to make this funding a reality.”

“In light of the challenges facing cities and counties in providing public safety services, the League of Minnesota Cities and Association of Minnesota Counties welcome support that can be used for first responder recruiting, retention, training, wellness, and other needs,” said the League of Minnesota Cities and Association of Minnesota Counties.

“Thank you, Governor Walz, for including funding to combat hate in Minnesota. Hate against Asian Americans and other communities continue to be on the rise in Minnesota and across our country,” said ThaoMee Xiong, Deputy Director, Coalition of Asian American Leaders. “This funding will be critical to better track and report hate incidents and do the necessary outreach to ensure that all of us feel safe in our state.”

“The MN Justice Research Center supports the Governor and Lieutenant Governor’s proposed investments in public safety. This budget is reflective of the moment we find ourselves in, and I’m grateful for the critical investments being made to keep our communities safe,” said Justin Terrell, Executive Director, MN Justice Research Center.

“If you knew how long we have been pushing for this type of support for system-involved youth and prevention, including support for local coordination of services for youth that crossover our juvenile justice and child welfare systems. We kept running into brick walls until now,” said Nicole Kern, Director of Morrison County Community Corrections and Children’s Cabinet Advisory Council member, Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee Ex-Officio member. “This is the type of programming that can keep kids who do not belong in juvenile justice out of it and how we truly help juvenile justice involved youth and all youth! We need to keep out the kids who do not need to be there and make room to focus our resources on the ones who need the help of juvenile justice.”

“Supporting the safety of the urban American Indian community is critical. Our urban American Indian community has been affected by the increase in violence, and that violence has impacted the lives of our community members. Our children, families and elders should be able to live, play, and work in safe communities,” said Mary LaGarde, Executive Director, Minneapolis American Indian Center. “The Governor and Lieutenant Governor propose to invest in public safety, supporting not only the safety, but the health and wellness of our urban American Indian community.”

“This is welcome news and reinforces that Governor Walz continues to recognize the unique emotional and physical challenges our state’s firefighters face. These additional resources for Minnesota’s 20,000 volunteer, paid-on-call, part-time, and full-time firefighters help further MnFIRE’s mission to provide our hometown heroes with the tools they need to prioritize and protect their health as they work to protect their communities,” said George Esbensen, President MnFIRE.

"We all want to feel safe at home, work, and in our places of worship. At at time when we have seen a terrifying rise in violent attacks, threats, and vandalism targeting the Jewish community, as well as our Muslim and AAPI neighbors, our communities need partnership and an investment in real solutions,” said Carin Mrotz, Executive Director, Jewish Community Action. “This is a crucial moment, and we are heartened that the Governor and Lieutenant Governor not only recognize this but are leading with a strong response. We’re grateful that the supplemental budget will include important provisions to combat the crisis of rising hate.”

"The Governor's climate budget announcement, paired with climate measures in his bonding proposal, firmly position Minnesota as a Midwestern state leading on climate," said Michael Noble, Executive Director, Fresh Energy. "Minnesota has the opportunity to jump-start clean technology innovation, improve mobility and air quality through investments in transit and electric vehicles, and make long-overdue investments in our aging housing stock through accelerating Minnesota's Weatherization Assistance Program. This budget makes investments in all of these and more, and we thank Governor Walz and Lieutenant Governor Flanagan for this forward-thinking budget."

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