The new session begins in St. Paul

Published 6:29 am Tuesday, January 29, 2019

The 91st Minnesota Legislature began on Tuesday, Jan. 8, when all House members were sworn in. The November election results brought many new members to the Minnesota House, and the majority party shifted from Republican to Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL).

Minnesotans also elected Gov. Tim Walz, who became the first governor from Mankato since 1909, and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan, who became the first person of Native American heritage elected to an executive office.

Jeanne Poppe

All Minnesota House seats are up for election every two years, which has led to a changeover in majority party status numerous times. During my tenure (I am just beginning my 15th year), I have served in the minority, majority, majority, minority, majority, minority, minority, and now again in the majority. This means there is new House leadership and a new committee structure.  The shift in majority also means new staff comes on board and office locations change.

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In 2013-2014, I was chairwoman of Ag Policy. From 2015-2018, I served as minority lead on Ag Finance. This year, I am honored to chair the Agriculture and Food Finance and Policy Division. Our committee meets at 9:45-11:15 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays in Room 200 of the State Office Building. You can follow along with our committee news and audio on the committee webpage,

My other committee assignments are Ways and Means, Higher Education Policy and Finance Division, Housing Finance and Policy Division, and Greater Minnesota Jobs and Economic Development Division.

One priority this year is to increase resources for farmers suffering through tough economic times. Serving and supporting constituents facing tough times is not a partisan issue. When our farmers and producers suffer economically and emotionally, we all suffer. A bill I introduced (HF 232) provides additional money for the Farm Advocates program, and it also increases funding for statewide rural mental health counseling. On Thursday Jan. 24, in Ag and Food committee, in addition to hearing HF 232, we heard HF 82 and HF 84, which would increase funding to address this issue.

We heard from providers of mental health counseling, and had somber and emotional testimony from a soybean farmer in northern Minnesota about her personal experience losing her husband to suicide. Our intention is to hear more bills that provide support to farmers through farmer-lender mediation and FLAG (Farmer Legal Action Group). Our goal is to put together a response to our mental health crisis early in session to infuse much needed dollars into resources for this current budget cycle.

My new office is Room 487 in the State Office Building in St. Paul. Please feel free to reach out with your ideas and input on legislative matters. You can reach me at 651-296-4193, or by email at