Building a Better Future

photo of Rep. Alice Hausman Alice Hausman, State Representative - Minnesota House - District 66

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Dear Friends and Neighbors, Rep. Hausman in action

The November election is just a few months away and I thought you might be interested in some changes that were passed at the legislature this session:

Presidential primary:  Responding to the frenzied Minnesota precinct caucuses this year, a new law establishes a semi-closed presidential primary where a voter will receive a ballot for only one party and must attest to that party’s principles. A voter can decide on Election Day which ballot/party to choose. The presidential primary will have no impact on the state’s August primary, when federal, state and local candidates for office will be chosen. The law will take effect for the 2020 presidential election cycle.

Streamlined absentee voting:  County auditors may now provide an alternate method for in-person absentee voting that would be similar to voting in a polling place on Election Day. Under this alternative method, a voter would be permitted to complete an absentee ballot and deposit it directly in a ballot box. The current standard absentee voting process requires an absentee voter to seal their completed ballot in two envelopes to await processing by a ballot board at a later date. If the discretionary option is provided, it may only be available during the seven days immediately before an election.

School board vacancies:  In most situations, school board vacancies can now be filled by appointment rather than special election, thus saving school districts money.

U.S. Military or Veteran ID:  The federally-issued Veterans’ Identification Card has been added to the list of acceptable photo identification documents Minnesotans can now use for same-day voter registration. This could benefit over 100,000 veterans.

There were several other measures that were not passed by the Legislature including automatic voter registration, early voting, voter pre-registration of 16 and 17-year olds and allowing felons to vote as long as they are no longer incarcerated.

An issue I’ve spoken of before that was not passed this session was legislation that would provide greater transparency over who is financing efforts to influence election outcomes.

I expect that many of these proposals will be reconsidered during the 2017 legislative session.

The 2016 Legislative Session is in the books, concluded in chaos with so much left on the table.

A reporter asked me what I thought about the end of the session, and if I thought things would have gone differently if women were better represented in the Legislature.

My response:

Frustrating, dysfunctional, failed outcome. When you wait till the last minute, you make mistakes and you run out of time. There were projects on the spread sheet in the bonding bill that had no corresponding language in the bill so the project would not have received the funding.

I don’t know if it is about being a woman, but I argued since the beginning of session that we should work together early and often. I believe our leaders want to hold everything till the last minute because they believe that gives them more power in negotiating “the deal.” They tie all of the major bills together to leverage one issue against another. One member said at the beginning of session that we would see the bonding bill in the last ten minutes. He turned out to be right. What I said at the time was, if that was the case, we wouldn’t have a bill because we would run out of time.

We should sit down together, House and Senate and Governor’s office, Republicans and Democrats, and write the bill together. Because the bonding bill requires a super majority, both parties have to support the final product.

I argued that, if we did trunk highway bonds and cash for transportation, it should be in a separate bill and not the bonding bill. Trunk highway bonds and cash just require a simple majority so are easier to pass but they complicate a bonding bill because they bring the controversy of transportation funding into the bonding bill, making it even harder to pass.

Finally, business and civic leaders are going to have to convince Republican leaders that transportation alternatives are essential for a healthy, competitive economy. That was the final conflict at the end of session. Democrats want transit, including rail, and Republicans refuse.

These news items are from Representative Hausman's e-mail update. To subscribe, visit her House member web page.

A new home for the Bell Museum of Natural History and Planetarium

exterior view of planned new Bell Museum

After a 10-year effort to construct a new facility to house the state’s natural history museum, Rep. Hausman was successful in getting legislation enacted that authorizes funding for a new Bell Museum and Planetarium. The new, revitalized Bell Museum and Planetarium will inspire generations of students to embrace careers in the sciences, engineering, and technology. The facility will be located on the southwest corner of Larpenteur and Cleveland Avenues in Falcon Heights adjacent to the U of M’s St. Paul campus.

Picture courtesy of the Bell Museum of Natural History and Minnesota Planetarium.

See more about plans for the new building on their website.

Update: On Earth Day, Rep. Hausman participated in the groundbreaking ceremony for the new museum.
Also, here’s a video describing the vision of the new Bell Museum:
Bell Museum + Planetarium: Be part of the story

transportation rally in the Capitol rotunda

Rep. Hausman participates in a transportation rally in the State Capitol rotunda. A long-term solution to improving the state’s transportation system will be a top priority in 2015.

Hausman tackles homelessness in Minnesota

“Homes for All” coalition advocate Darielle Dannen testifies before the Housing Finance and Policy Committee in support of Rep. Hausman’s bill to invest $100 million in permanent supportive and affordable housing located throughout the state to help end homelessness.

Darielle Dannen testifying

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