1/7/2020 1:04:29 PM
Today marks one year since Governor Tim Walz and Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan took office. From meeting with Minnesotans at nearly 600 events in more than 100 communities across the state to passing a budget that invests in our schools, protects access to health care, and lifts up local communities, the Governor and Lieutenant Governor have governed with One Minnesota at the heart of everything they do.
Building One Minnesota: To ensure all voices are included at the Minnesota State Capitol, Governor Walz and Lt. Governor Flanagan have visited more than 100 towns in every corner of Minnesota and participated in nearly 600 events since they were elected. In one of the only divided governments in the country, Governor Walz worked across party lines with legislative leaders last session to pass a budget that improves the lives of Minnesotans. This was the first time in more than 40 years that a legislative budget passed without a single veto from the Governor, and the first time in over a decade that a Governor has reached a bipartisan biennial budget deal with the Minnesota State Legislature on time.
Investing in our Students: A former high school teacher, Governor Walz signed a budget bill that makes a historic investment in schools and keeps preschool doors open for 4,000 of Minnesota’s littlest learners. He commenced the School Finance Working Group to overhaul the way the state funds education and reduce reliance on local school referendums. The Governor signed a higher education budget bill into law to make college more affordable for low-income students. Knowing that a child’s education is affected by factors outside the classroom, Governor Walz signed Executive Order 19-34 charging state agencies to center children in their decision-making and established the Children’s Cabinet to promote healthy beginnings, mental health, childcare, housing stability, and educational opportunity.
Protecting Access to Affordable Health Care: Governor Walz and Lt. Governor Flanagan protected the health care of more than 1.2 million Minnesotans. By preserving the Health Care Access Fund, the Governor defended access to affordable health care and maintained stability in the individual health insurance market for consumers across the state. The Governor also signed a historic bill to provide local communities with the resources they need to address the ongoing opioid epidemic and hold pharmaceutical companies accountable for the problem they helped create. The Governor successfully championed legislation to increase transparency in prescription drug costs and help spur additional policy solutions to lower drug prices for Minnesotans.
Building an Economy that Works for Everyone: Governor Walz signed a bill to give 1.36 million middle-class Minnesotans a tax rate cut for the first time in 20 years. The Governor established the Launch Minnesota Initiative to accelerate the growth of startups and grow Minnesota’s innovation economy. The Governor increased funding for workforce training partnerships between schools and industry to prepare tomorrow's workers for the good jobs businesses are creating today. Governor Walz signed into law a historic increase in funding for Local Government Aid and Country Program Aid to help local governments pay for vital needs, such as local roads and public safety, and lower the pressure on local property taxes.
Protecting our Environment: The Governor directed the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to implement clean car standards – reducing carbon emissions and increasing the choices Minnesotans have at car dealerships. The Governor and Lt. Governor championed policies that will lead Minnesota to 100% clean energy by 2050 and established a Governor’s Council on Biofuels to advise on moving our state toward a greener transportation sector while supporting Minnesota farmers. He also signed Executive Order 19-37 to establish a Climate Change Subcabinet to ensure state government is working collaboratively to develop policies combatting climate change.
Standing Up for Working Families: Governor Walz and Lt. Governor Flanagan successfully fought for a $100 increase in cash assistance for low-income working families for the first time in over 30 years. The Governor signed a wage theft bill into law to ensure workers are paid a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work. The Governor and Lt. Governor increased funding to support child care providers and created new child care slots across the state.
Building Thriving Rural Communities: Governor Walz invested in border-to-border broadband, expanding internet access to nearly 15,000 households and businesses. He increased efforts to improve rural mental health, expanding counseling and the 24-hour hotline to help farmers and rural residents receive the care they need. Governor Walz stood up for Minnesota’s farmers against harmful policies in Washington and implemented a dairy assistance program to help dairy farmers get the resources they need to keep their farms running.
Eliminating Inequities: Governor Walz’s first Executive Order established the One Minnesota Council on Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity to increase racial and geographic diversity in state hiring and decision-making. This focus has been reflected in the Governor’s own judicial appointments — over a third of which are people of color and more than half are women. The Governor and Lt. Governor’s budget invested in community-based solutions to reduce racial disparities in workforce, health, and education, and increased efforts to recruit and retain teachers of color.
Protecting Minnesotans: Governor Walz signed a hands-free cell phone bill into law, banning the use of cell phones while driving to prevent distracted driving on our roads. He joined Attorney General Ellison in announcing a lawsuit against e-cigarette manufacturer JUUL for its deceptive marketing tactics targeting young Minnesotans. When the Governor learned that a company’s conduct was causing lead poisoning in children, his Administration acted swiftly to secure a court order halting operations and requiring the company to fix its operations. As extreme weather events increase across the state, the Governor has used his executive power to provide assistance from the Minnesota National Guard and expanded the state’s Disaster Assistance Contingency Account to help communities recover from natural disasters.
Increasing Access to Affordable Housing: Governor Walz and Lt. Governor invested $254 million to create more than 2,600 affordable homes across the state this year. He has put Minnesota on the path to become the fourth state to end veteran homelessness. They both also joined business and philanthropic leaders to launch the Minnesota Winter Homeless Initiative to bring Minnesotans in from the cold this winter.
Supporting Our Servicemembers and Veterans: A 24-year veteran of the Army National Guard, Governor Walz worked this year to expand mental health services for military members and veterans. He increased support for the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Program to work with businesses to recruit, hire, and provide support for service members and their families. He was appointed to the Council of Governors by the President of the United States to advise the Secretary of Defense, Secretary of Homeland Security, and other federal officials on matters related to the National Guard and civil support missions.
Keeping Our Promises to Indian Country: Governor Walz and Lt. Governor Flanagan are strengthening government-to-government relations with the 11 Minnesota Tribal Nations. Governor Walz signed Executive Order 19-24 into law, affirming the State’s recognition of tribal sovereignty and requiring all state agencies to designate Tribal Liaisons. The Governor and Lt. Governor also equalized funding for American Indian Tribal Schools and launched a Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Task Force to work towards ending violence against Native American women in Minnesota.
Reforming Government: Not afraid to work across the aisle or ask business leaders to lend their expertise, Governor Walz worked with a bipartisan group of legislators and private sector IT professionals to fix Minnesota’s Vehicle Licensing and Registration System (MNLARS) once and for all. The Governor’s tireless efforts resulted in a dramatic decrease in wait times on title and driver license transactions. The Governor created the Blue Ribbon Council on Information Technology to assess where Minnesota can do better in providing everyday services and functions Minnesotans expect from their state government. The Governor also called for an independent review of the Department of Human Services to study the best methods to improve efficiency, accountability, and delivery of services at this critical agency.
Ensuring Seniors and People Living with Disabilities Can Lead Full Lives: Governor Walz and Lt. Governor are committed to building communities where everyone can thrive – regardless of their age or abilities. His Executive Order 19-38 establishing a Council on Age-Friendly Minnesota focuses state resources on community-based services that will allow seniors and people living with disabilities to live independently and continue to contribute to a full life in their communities across the state.
Standing Up for Minnesota Values: Governor Walz says that if Washington won’t lead, Minnesota will. He put those words into action with his plans to support Minnesotans in the event of a Federal Government shutdown. He gave his consent to the federal government to continue Minnesota’s long history of welcoming refugees. The Governor and Lt. Governor also called on the Trump Administration to withdraw their proposed cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) – a program that provides food to thousands of Minnesotans – the majority of whom are children, seniors, and people living with disabilities.