April 11, 2014 - Legislative Update
Posted on 12 April 2014Dear Neighbors and Friends,
We made some significant progress this week by passing three important bills on the House floor. The Women's Economic Security Act contained provisions(1) from several bills that addressed the pay gap that still exists for female workers. I personally authored part of this bill, and many other Representatives worked to create a final package that fixes outdated state statutes. More and more families are depending on female workers to serve as their primary bread winner, but that is pretty difficult when women only make 80 cents for every dollar men make. This bill will address that pay gap and help families across Minnesota.
The House also passed a bill this week that will increase our state's minimum wage(2) from its current rate of $6.15/hour and $5.50/hour for large and small businesses. Not only was that wage lower than the national rate, it was lower than our neighboring states. Increasing the rate will mean a pay increase for 357,000 workers in Minnesota. It will mean fewer people are relying on public assistance just to get by. That, in turn, will reduce the cost of public assistance programs for all taxpayers. To make sure the increase in wages isn't too drastic for businesses, the new wage will be phased in over several years until it reaches $9.50/hour and $7.75/hour for large and small businesses by 2016.
Lastly, we passed a bill to address the growing problem of bullying in our schools(3). This bill was put together with input from school administrators and school boards from across the state. The final bill is something which local school districts can work with. It essentially requires every school to either put their own local policy on bullying in place or use the recommended state policy. No student should have to go to school every day with the fear of being bullied. This bill will make sure our local school districts put policies in place to address that issue.
If you have any questions about the progress we made this week, please feel free to contact me. More detailed information on each of the bills I mentioned can be found below.
(1)The key provisions of the Women's Economic Security Act include:
(2)The key provisions in the minimum wage bill include:
(3)The Safe and Supportive Minnesota Schools Act will:
Video Update from the Minnesota House
Posted on 1 April 2014Please click below to see Rep. Masin's update on the work going on in the Minnesota House.
Women's Economic Security Act
Posted on 30 March 2014Last week, the House Jobs and Economic Development Finance and Policy Committee approved a bill (HF 2274) authored by State Representative Sandra Masin (DFL-Eagan). The bill became one of seven parts(*) of the Women's Economic Security Act (HF 2536) carried by Rep. Carly Melin.
Masin's bill bars discrimination or retaliation against any employee who discusses salaries and wages with fellow employees. All too often, a worker is threatened by an employer or fired for participating in a discussion about wages in the workplace. It is the law of the land that employees receive equal pay for equal work, but if they do not have information about the comparable wages, they have no way to secure their rights.
With more and more women in the workplace, the University of Minnesota Humphrey School's Center on Women & Public Policy study found that families headed by women are four times more likely to live in poverty. Moreover, the median pay of women is only 80% of the median pay of men.
Clearly, having more information about the pay at the workplace will go a long way in securing equal rights for women in the workplace in the area of payscales. Said Rep. Masin:
"These bills [Women's Economic Security Act] are designed to make sure all workers have equal rights and opportunities in the work place, [..] More and more households are depending on women to support them financially, and now is the time to address the barriers that are still in place for those women."Rep. Masin wrote in her blog:
The Women's Economic Security Act builds on Minnesota's positive economic momentum by ensuring equal opportunities for women to succeed in the workplace and provide for their families. Members of the public, small business owners, and religious organizations testified in support of the bill at today's hearing.
(*) In addition to the main bill by Rep. Carly Melin, the other 5 components of the legislation heard during last week's committee hearing were:
Tax Relief to more than 1 Million Minnesotans
Posted on 26 March 2014
Dear Neighbors and Friends,
Last week, the House continued their quick pace by passing a bill to offer tax relief for more than a million middle class Minnesotans. Governor Dayton signed it into law just a few hours later.
Much of the tax relief offered in this bill will come through conforming the state tax code to the federal tax code. It helps makes the process simpler for those filing taxes and for those who process them. But because this change took place during tax season, I'm sure you may have questions about how this bill will impact your 2013 tax return.
What benefits were added for the 2013 returns?
1. Working Family Credit
2. Mortgage Insurance Deduction
3. Mortgage Debt Forgiveness
4. Deduction for Educator Expenses
5. Higher Education Tuition Deduction
6. Student Loan Interest Deduction
7. Education Savings Accounts
8. National Health Corps Scholarships
9. Employer-Provided: Education, Adoption, Transit
10. Tax-Free Charitable IRA Distributions
The bill provides $49 million in tax relief for 2013 through these ten deductions and credits. If you aren't sure whether you qualify for one or more of these tax benefits, follow the link HERE to see more details.
What should I do with my tax return?
Once you know whether you qualify for these benefits or not, use this simple chart to help determine what you need to do next.
If you qualify for one of the benefits listed above AND you haven't filed your tax return yet, the Department of Revenue is asking that you wait until April 3rd to file your return. At that point, all of the necessary changes will have been made to the software that is used to process state returns.
What will happen after I file my return?
You won't need to do anything right way. If you've already filed, or if an amended tax return is needed, the Department of Revenue will contact you by mail sometime after April 15.
What if I have more questions?
More information is available at the Department of Revenue website (HERE). If you still have questions, please don't hesitate to contact me by phone (651-296-3533) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org). I'm always happy to help with any issues you might have.
Rep. Sandra Masin
Posted on 22 March 2014I want to extend my appreciation to everyone who participated in the DFL Senate District 51 Convention on Saturday. Thank you for taking the time to help make our community better and our state better.
We have our new organization in place and are ready to move forward.
I especially want to extend my gratitude to the delegates from 51A for their endorsement and for their confidence in me. I am looking forward to working on behalf of an agenda that continues Minnesota's economic progress and a better quality of life for all.
Sandra Masin Passing a Bill - "Stayin' Alive"
Posted on 26 February 2014The 2014 Legislative Session began yesterday. There are several important bills coming up. The workflow is described below along with relevant deadlines. The key dates for this session are:
March 21: 1st Committee - a House bill must be approved by a committee in the House and a Senate bill must be approved by a Senate committee in order to continue deliberations on it (in other words, for the bill to "stay alive").
If the bill remains alive, it goes to the other house.
March 28: 2nd Committee - a House bill must be approved by a Senate Committee and a Senate bill must be approved by a House committee to remain alive.
If the bill appropriates money, it goes to the respective House Ways and Means Committee, or to the Senate Finance Committee.
April 4: 3rd Committee - approval by the House Ways and Means or the Senate Finance must be secured for the bill to remain alive.
April 10-22: Easter/Passover recess.
May 19: Legislature must adjourn by Minnesota's Constitution. The legislature may adjourn earlier, if the work is completed.
If you are interested in tracking a bill in the House or Senate, this link is a good start:
Endorsements by womenwinning and MAPE
Posted on 4 February 2014I am extremely pleased to announce that Team MAPE and womenwinning have given their support to our campaign. It is a privilege to have the endorsement of these organizations.
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About Sandra MasinA mother of three grown children, with more than twenty years of engagement in local politics and community events, Sandra is well known to many. If you haven't yet met Sandra, click here to find out more...