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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 Budget to Protect Minnesotans’ Health and Safety

Public safety package provides $300 million in local public safety aid; reduces gun violence and violent crime; invests in meaningful criminal justice reform Health care package would create MinnesotaCare public option, expand access to quality health care, combat opioid crisis Historic $1.5 billion housing budget would support work to end veterans’ homelessness, increase affordable housing across Minnesota, prevent homelessness before it occurs

1/23/2023 8:24:07 AM

[ST. PAUL, MN] – Governor Tim Walz and Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan today announced /governor/assets/2023%20Health%20Safety%20and%20Housing%20Fact%20Sheet_tcm1055-561083.pdfa series of proposals to protect Minnesotans’ health and safety. The third of four packages within their One Minnesota Budget, this proposal would lower costs and expand access to high-quality health care for children, families, and Minnesotans across the state, while making it easier for Minnesotans to purchase a home, afford rent, and maintain stable, secure housing. The One Minnesota Budget also includes investments to permanently fund the work to end veterans’ homelessness statewide. The Governor’s public safety package provides over $300 million in public safety aid for local governments, stands up a statewide violent crime initiative, and supports victims of crime and domestic violence, while investing in a more fair and equitable criminal justice system. Today’s roll out follows announcements focused on supporting children and families and investing in Minnesota’s economic future .

“As Governor, protecting Minnesotans’ health and safety is foundational to everything we do. Minnesotans deserve to feel safe in their homes and have access to the support, care, and services they need to lead happy and healthy lives,” said Governor Walz. “With increased access to affordable health care, investments in local law enforcement across the state, commonsense gun safety laws, and strong investments in affordable, stable housing – the One Minnesota Budget addresses the needs of Minnesotans wherever they are and keeps neighborhoods across the state safer and healthier.”

“We know that all Minnesotans want – and deserve – to feel safe and valued in their communities. After traveling across the state to hear what public safety looks like to Minnesotans, we also know that public safety solutions look different for every person, family, and community,” said Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan. “The One Minnesota Budget works across lines of difference to meet a broad spectrum of needs – from expanding affordable housing and preventing homelessness in the first place, to expanding health care coverage for Minnesotans, and addressing the complex health and safety needs of Minnesotans living on the margins. Let’s get this done for Minnesotans.”

Expand Access to High-Quality Health Care

The Governor and Lieutenant Governor propose increasing health care access and affordability by establishing a MinnesotaCare public option that will offer more affordable comprehensive health insurance options for Minnesotans, including the nearly 300,000 Minnesotans who remain uninsured. The Governor and Lieutenant Governor also propose expanding Medical Assistance (MA) eligibility to reduce health coverage interruption that prevents Minnesota kids from seeing a doctor when they need to. To ensure that Minnesotans receive the care they deserve, the One Minnesota Budget will require health insurance plans regulated by state law to provide preventive services at no cost. The Governor and Lieutenant Governor’s proposal will also improve prescription drug transparency by updating the Prescription Drug Price Transparency program and extending it to include pharmacy benefit managers and wholesalers. Additionally, the One Minnesota Budget includes targeted investments to remove barriers to health care access for Minnesotans and proposals to reduce health care costs. Governor Walz and Lieutenant Governor Flanagan also propose a series of investments to address gaps in the mental health continuum for children and adolescents and improve access to residential and outpatient mental health services.

Combat the Addiction, Opioid Epidemic

The One Minnesota Budget includes a $22 million proposal that expands access to non-narcotic pain management service; enhances prevention and supportive services for people experiencing homelessness; and improves surveillance and identification of substances involved in overdoses. Governor Walz and Lieutenant Governor Flanagan’s budget will support better outcomes for people and families impacted by substance and opioid use disorder by providing ongoing funding to support grants for healing and overdose prevention.

Ensure Every Minnesotan Has a Safe and Affordable Place to Call Home

Governor Walz and Lieutenant Governor Flanagan believe housing is the foundation for health, safety, and growth. Their One Minnesota Budget invests $100 million in community stabilization to leverage private and philanthropic funds to acquire, rehabilitate, and preserve existing rental and homeownership housing so that it remains affordable. To help more Minnesotans become homeowners, the One Minnesota Budget includes a new First-Generation Homebuyer Program and down payment assistance and closing cost loans to help Minnesotans who are ready to become homeowners. The One Minnesota Budget also provides rental assistance to Minnesotans with lower incomes and disabilities through the Housing Trust Fund and includes investments in the Greater Minnesota Workforce Housing program to provide grants to local units of government to build new rental housing in smaller communities.

Over the last year, Governor Walz has announced that Central Minnesota and St. Louis County have effectively ended veteran homelessness. Just two regions of the state, Hennepin and Ramsey Counties, remain. To achieve Minnesota’s goal of being the fourth state in the country to declare an end to veteran homelessness statewide, Governor Walz and Lieutenant Governor Flanagan’s budget will permanently fund the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs work to identify gaps in the statewide homeless veteran response system, develop strategic solutions to ensure rapid housing outcomes for veterans experiencing a housing crisis, and connect at-risk veterans experiencing homelessness with Social Security Disability benefits.

To prevent homelessness before it begins, Governor Walz and Lieutenant Governor Flanagan recommend investing in programs that ensure youth have stable housing. To better support Minnesotans experiencing homelessness, Governor Walz and Lieutenant Governor Flanagan recommend more funding for emergency services, transitional housing, and homeless youth. They have also proposed one-time funding to acquire, build, or renovate emergency shelters. To support victims of domestic and sexual violence, the One Minnesota Budget provides funding for the Domestic Violence Housing First Program and Domestic and Sexual Violence Transitional Housing funding to better meet the unique housing needs of survivors.

Reduce Gun Violence and Keep Communities Safe

The Governor and Lieutenant Governor recommend spending $300 million in public safety aid to cities, counties, and tribal governments across the state, enabling local governments to meet their community’s public safety needs. To reduce gun violence across the state, the One Minnesota Budgets proposes universal background checks on all firearm sales, extreme risk protection orders to help remove firearms from those who pose an immediate threat to themselves or others, raising the minimum age for purchasing military-style firearms to 21 years old, banning high-capacity magazines, and promoting safe storage of firearms. Increased violent crime is a threat to thriving communities across Minnesota. Governor Walz and Lieutenant Governor Flanagan propose the Violent Crime Reduction Strategy, a new statewide initiative to address violent crime. Governor Walz and Lieutenant Governor Flanagan also propose $4.5 million up front and $1.5 million ongoing for grants to help local agencies purchase body cameras.

Governor Walz and Lieutenant Governor Flanagan propose investing $1 million each year to support firefighter training and education and increasing the funding formula for the Fire Safety Account to ensure local fire agencies across the state will have sustainable resources to support their critical work.

Governor Walz and Lieutenant Governor Flanagan’s budget establishes the Office of Missing and Murdered African American Women to promote the safety and success of Black women and girls, through training, advocating for systems change, and ending violence against and trafficking of Black women and girls.

Build a Fair and Equitable Justice System

Governor Walz and Lieutenant Governor Flanagan recognize that meaningful rehabilitation for people who are incarcerated reduces their risk of reoffending upon release. The One Minnesota budget proposes the Minnesota Rehabilitation and Reinvestment Act to create incentives for people in the custody of the Department of Corrections to participate in and make progress toward individualized treatment plans to help them return successfully to their communities. To address the chronic shortage of education opportunities inside Minnesota’s prisons, the One Minnesota Budget includes opportunities for robust educational programming for every willing participant committed to the custody of the Department of Corrections.

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

"We are grateful for the investments being proposed by this administration to improve the health and wellbeing of all Minnesotans," said Elizabeth A. Rogers, MD, MAS, Board Secretary of Minnesota Doctors for Health Equity. "Longstanding structural racism and systemic inequities that have driven disparate outcomes in the state require comprehensive changes and meaningful solutions. Investing in building our healthcare systems and society in a way that centers health equity is an important step toward tangible change."

“The Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians supports Gov. Walz’s increased investment in primary care services. If Minnesotans want to control health care costs, ensuring access to affordable, primary care services is critical. Removing financial barriers for patients to access primary care promotes prevention and the management of acute and chronic conditions in the most const effective manner,” said Dr. Alex Vosooney, President of the Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians.

“We’re grateful to see Governor Walz and Lt. Governor Flanagan continue their leadership on establishing a MinnesotaCare public option,” said Gary Wertish, Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) President. “For too long, farmers and other entrepreneurs and small business owners have faced unaffordable health insurance costs, which limits rural economic vitality. We’ve been advocating for this common-sense proposal for years and believe this is the year to get it done.”

“Minnesota’s housing shortages are creating adverse outcomes for individuals and families across the state and are hindering full pandemic recovery and economic expansion. Minnesota counties continue to rank housing shortages as one of the most urgent problems facing their communities. As such, counties recognize that now is the time for bold action. The Association of Minnesota Counties is grateful for Governor Walz’s proposal to place significant state resources across the housing spectrum—emergency shelter, supportive, transitional, affordable and workforce housing—that will lead to better outcomes and continue moving Minnesota forward,” said Association of Minnesota Counties President and Ramsey County Commissioner Mary Jo McGuire.

"I applaud the investments that the One Minnesota budget makes to address homelessness, make rents more affordable, build homes, and create pathways to homeownership for people in every corner of Minnesota. Everyone should have a safe, accessible, dignified place to call home and these investments will help move Minnesota closer to this reality," said Rhonda Otteson, Executive Director of the Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless.

“Governor Walz and Lieutenant Governor Flanagan’s housing package is the largest investment in housing and homelessness in state history and addresses the urgent and widespread housing needs of all Minnesotans. By providing resources to local government, Tribal Nations, and nonprofit organizations, this budget will increase the amount and affordability of housing, as well as make sure housing is accessible to everyone. It is focused on preventing homelessness whenever possible and providing the kinds of services and supports people need to find and keep their housing. With this budget, we can finish the job of ending veteran homelessness and ensure children and youth have a safe, stable place to call home,” said Cathy ten Broeke, Assistant Commissioner, Minnesota Interagency Council on Homelessness.

“I thank Governor Walz, Lt. Governor Flanagan, and their Administration for proposing an historic investment to disrupt trends in homelessness for youth, adults, veterans and families. Demand for daytime and overnight emergency services is surging, and the Walz Administration recognizes that public funding has been and remains woefully inadequate to support day-to-day operating costs. The impacts of the pandemic, inflation and workforce shortages are escalating these challenges even more, seriously threatening the financial stability of emergency shelter providers like Catholic Charities that serve as the State’s safety net. Immediate and significant investments in Minnesota’s Emergency Services Program and Homeless Youth Act are critical for stabilizing emergency shelter and day services operations as we work to meet the rapidly increasing and complex needs of Minnesotans most in need—because homelessness has no boundaries, and neither should our response,” said Michael Goar, CEO, Catholic Charities Twin Cities.

“Substance use disorder is a public health crisis that has impacted every community across Minnesota. I am thankful for the Governor and Lieutenant Governor’s continued investments to combat this epidemic. Through expanding access to prevention and supportive services and making investments to disproportionately impacted communities, this budget will go a long way to providing the support that Minnesotans urgently need,” said Jeremy Drucker, Addiction and Recovery Director.

“African Americans, American Indians, and people with disabilities face more health inequities than their counterparts. Focused efforts in building capacity towards change are needed now, more than ever,” said Tim Beebe, PhD, Interim Dean and Mayo Professor, University of Minnesota School of Public Health. “The Governor and Lieutenant Governor’s proposed plans and programs to improve African American and American Indian health, coordinate culturally-centered public health messaging, and create critical infrastructure to alleviate disability-related health disparities will help ensure that health is a right that can be enjoyed by ALL Minnesotans.”

“The Association of Minnesota Emergency Managers supports the funding for the Disaster Assistance Contingency Account and looks forward to working with Homeland Security & Emergency Management to have the funds to assist recovery from disasters throughout the state of Minnesota,” said the Association of Minnesota Emergency Managers President Blain Johnson.

“Gun violence in all its forms continues to devastate families and communities across the country and right here in Minnesota,” said Kathleen Anderson, a volunteer with the Minnesota chapter of Moms Demand Action. “We thank Governor Walz for prioritizing gun violence prevention measures in the One Minnesota Budget package. Guns are the number one killer of children across the nation. We look forward to continuing working with the Governor in the fight against the gun violence epidemic.”

"Giffords applauds the leadership of Governor Walz in taking steps to fight gun violence in Minnesota by including a firearms safety package in his public safety budget. We applaud his courageous leadership and urge the legislature to join the Governor's campaign against gun violence," said Agustin Cabrera, Giffords State Legislative Manager.

“Protect Minnesota enthusiastically endorses the vitally important, sensible gun violence prevention proposals included in the public safety reforms announced today,” said Maggiy Emery, Interim Executive Director of Protect Minnesota. “Expanding Criminal Background Checks to private gun sales to ensure a prospective buyer can legally possess a firearm is a practical method to reduce the sale of guns to prohibited purchasers. Extreme Risk Protection Order laws give family members – who are often the first to see dangerous warning signs that their loved one is likely to hurt themselves or another – a way to petition a court for a temporary order to prevent the individual from accessing a gun, thereby reducing the likelihood they will shoot themselves or another person. As an organization rooted in public health, we believe in the importance of reliance on data-driven public policy, and these long-overdue initiatives are proven means of reducing gun violence.”

“The Minnesota Medical Association, with more than 10,000 members across the state, strongly supports the package proposed by Gov. Walz to reduce the number of Minnesotans injured or killed by firearms. Physicians treat Minnesotans who are harmed or killed by firearms every day. This is a public health issue. The fact that most firearm deaths in Minnesota are a result of suicide strongly supports his recommendation to empower law enforcement to temporarily remove a gun from a person who is a harm to themself or to others,” said Minnesota Medical Association President Dr. Will Nicholson.

The Governor and Lieutenant Governor will announce additional components of the One Minnesota Budget this week to cut taxes and improve the state’s infrastructure. The Governor’s entire two-year budget will be released on January 24.

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