The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe V. Wade on Friday removing an American’s right to an abortion is confounding. Minnesota could soon be the only state in the upper Midwest with access to safe, legal abortion and our state is already preparing for it. Late last week, Governor Walz took executive action to protect reproductive health care services in Minnesota. Under the Minnesota Constitution, abortion remains legal in Minnesota, but Minnesota’s neighboring states are expected to severely restrict the reproductive freedom. Executive Order 22-16 will help protect people seeking or providing abortions in Minnesota from laws in other states.
There are a number of restrictions on the access to full reproductive services already under Minnesota law. Even with Minnesota’s constitutional protection for abortion access, future legislatures and Governors could put further restrictions in place. Minnesota Democrats have introduced legislation to codify the right to abortion and reproductive health care into our state law (PRO Act, House File 259), as well as the Reproductive Freedom Defense Act (House File 4900).
Although I will not be serving in the Minnesota Legislature next year, we all must continue to organize, mobilize, and engage with elected officials at all levels in Minnesota. All of us deserve to live healthy, safe lives, and we must continue this fight, together.
Here’s an update from the Capitol and community:
After months of working toward compromise with the Senate and Governor, Senate Republicans expressed they are not interested in fulfilling their end of the deal; $4 billion in investments for schools, nursing homes, and public safety; $4 billion in tax cuts which includes a full exemption on Social Security and various rebates and credits for young families, seniors, and Minnesotans with disabilities.
As the Education Finance Chair, I’m especially disappointed with what this means for our students. Without legislative action, the quality of education in our state will decline. School districts across the state will be forced to increase classroom sizes, lay off teachers and staff, and reduce mental health resources and services for students. Every child deserves a world-class education, and we can’t afford to see students fall even further behind after two years of learning loss.
In divided government, Minnesotans expect lawmakers from both parties to work together to get things done. With a historic surplus and a signed compromise agreement on how to best utilize those funds, our students, working families, and seniors deserve better.
Shaping a Consent Decree: Addressing Race-Based Policing in Minneapolis
Neighbors in South Minneapolis are invited to join a facilitated engagement session hosted by the Minnesota Justice Research Center to gather ideas from community members on what should be included in a consent decree to address race-based policing in Minneapolis. The discussion will take place on Thursday, July 7 at 6:00-8:00 p.m.at Longfellow Park, 3435 36th Avenue South. You can RSVP here.
Frontline Worker Bonus Applications Live
The Frontline Worker Bonus Pay applications opened earlier this month. The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (the agency charged with assisting the process) has already received over 700,000 applications. It’s important to note that Minnesotans have until July 22 to apply- it is not on a first come, first serve basis. The online application is best supported on a desktop with a Chrome or Firefox browser. Internet Explorer is not supported. You can apply today, here. There are also applications available in several other languages. Please reach out to my office if you have questions or need assistance.
COVID Vaccines Available for Young Children
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has approved two COVID-19 vaccines for children who are six months old or older. Both vaccines were carefully studied and help protect children from severe disease, hospitalization, and death. They’re administered in smaller doses and packaged differently than vaccines that are available for older children and adults.
More than 300 providers in Minnesota are offering vaccines to children between six months and five years of age, including pediatricians, pharmacies, community clinics, and more. Parents and guardians can use the Vaccine Locator Map to find providers in their area. More information about COVID vaccines for children is available at mn.gov/vaxforkids.
New Laws Take Effect July 1
Although the Senate blocked much progress from advancing, several new laws passed during the 2022 session will take effect July 1, 2022. You can review these, some of which include the creation of a state advocate for foster youth, extending the COVID-19 presumption for frontline workers, and more, here.