It's been a busy few weeks in the legislative session. Below are a few highlights; look for more issues (from bills targeting protesting to the recent vote to appoint U of M regents) to be covered in future updates.
Next ‘Chat with Dave’ – March 4
Thanks to the many visitors from our district at my Capitol office and to the folks who stopped by the "Chat with Dave" earlier this month to share their views. The next Chat will be on Saturday, March 4 at Highland Park Library, 1974 Ford Parkway, from 10:00am to 11:30am. Please join us for an informal conversation with neighbors about the issues that are on your mind.
Sunday Alcohol Sales
On Monday, the full Minnesota House voted 85-45 in favor of permitting liquor stores to sell alcohol on Sundays. This issue has been gaining steam in Minnesota for several years, and this year it finally passed. I've found this a close call; last year I voted no, for the reasons described here. However, I recognize the strong desire among constituents, and this year I voted in support of allowing Sunday sales. The issue will now be considered by the Senate and Governor.
Threats to the Jewish Community
Sadly also on Monday, there was an anonymous bomb threat called into the St. Paul Jewish Community Center. This was one of a number of similar incidents that day, including vandalism to an historic Jewish cemetery in Missouri. It follows a threat last month to the JCC in St. Louis Park. I took to the House floor [video here] that evening to speak out in solidarity with the Jewish community and against the alarming trend of hateful speech and acts aimed at racial, ethnic, and religious groups in our country.
Twenty-five years ago, MinnesotaCare was created by a bipartisan coalition of legislators and signed into law by a Republican governor. The program has allowed 100,000 Minnesotans to purchase high-quality, lower-cost health care coverage from a broad network of care providers and physicians all across the state. I'm a coauthor of a proposal, supported by Governor Dayton as well, to permit those who purchase their insurance on the individual insurance market the opportunity to ‘buy-into’ MinnesotaCare. Participants in the program would pay their own way. This could be one avenue to provide affordable health care options to thousands of Minnesotans. For more information on the proposal, click here.
Human Trafficking Presentation at Cretin-Derham Hall
I recently presented to several very engaged student groups at Cretin-Derham Hall, as part of a special weeklong program at the school about human trafficking. (Outside of the Legislature, I serve as a prosecutor in Ramsey County focusing on gender violence, including domestic violence and sex trafficking.) Many thanks to CDH for hosting me and for helping students to learn about this critical and often-hidden issue.
Thank you for the honor of serving our community,
Dave Pinto State Representative, District 64B
321 State Office Building