We're nine weeks into the legislative session and one week away from the first "deadline" by which many bills must pass through certain committees. The legislative calendar is moving quickly.
"Chat with Dave" on Saturday
A reminder to join us tomorrow (Saturday, March 4), from 10:00am to 11:30am at the Highland Park Library, 1974 Ford Parkway, for the next "Chat with Dave," an informal conversation about the issues that are on your mind.
I've previously discussed the majority's bill that would block efforts by St. Paul and other communities to advance employment policies such as paid family leave, paid sick & safe time, and more. I am strongly opposed to the bill, but last night it passed the full House. Click here for a link to my remarks on the bill.
Public Meetings on Ford Site & Riverview Corridor - Next Tuesday & Wednesday
Development of the Ford Site - one of the only parcels of its kind in the country - is of course a unique opportunity for our community. The Riverview Corridor is a proposed transitway being developed by Ramsey County and other partners that would link downtown St. Paul and the airport. As it turns out, both of these projects will be the subject of a community meeting this coming week.
On Tuesday evening (6:30pm to 8:00pm) at Cretin-Derham High School, there will be a community meeting on the zoning & concept plan for the Ford site. On Wednesday evening (6:30pm to 8:00pm) in the Highland Community Center auditorium, there will be a community meeting on the Riverview Corridor. Both meetings should be a great chance for residents to learn more and provide input.
Earlier this week, Minnesota Management and Budget announced a forecasted budget surplus of $1.65 billion, based on our state's continued low unemployment and stable budget. This surplus is an opportunity to reinvest in every Minnesotan in all corners of the state - through strong schools, affordable college and job training, fair taxation, a robust multimodal transportation system, and access to good jobs and good benefits like paid leave and earned sick time. Especially with the uncertainty in Washington, it is also critical that we budget cautiously and for the long-term fiscal health of the state. I'll review budget proposals with these thoughts in mind.
Stemming Gun Violence
Last week, I joined law enforcement leaders and many others in announcing the introduction of several bills aimed at stemming gun violence. One of the bills that I've authored would provide for criminal background checks for gun sales or transfers (with many common-sense exceptions). Another would provide for "gun violence protective orders," which would allow family members or law enforcement to help keep guns out of the hands of those who pose a significant danger to themselves or others. My predecessors Rep. Michael Paymar and Rep. Howard Orenstein were both leaders on this issue, which of course connects with my work as a prosecutor of gender violence as well. Though the Republican majority has not been supportive - in fact, they're advancing bills that would increase the risk of gun violence - I will continue to push for common sense measures that reduce gun violence.
Election of U of M Regents
A joint convention of the House and Senate met last week to elect Regents to govern the University of Minnesota. This year, four Regents were elected to serve six-year terms. The Regent Candidate Advisory Council forwarded to the Legislature twelve candidates for consideration to the Legislature. Unfortunately, as it has in the past, the process devolved into partisanship, with many candidates nominated (and one elected) who had not even applied, and with input from students seemingly ignored. In the end, four white men were elected. Regardless of their qualifications, it seems to me that the U - and the state - would have benefited from the presence of at least one of the many highly qualified women and people of color who applied.
Take Time to READ
I got the opportunity to read to some young visitors in the Capitol rotunda earlier this week!
Thank you for the honor of serving our community,
State Representative, District 64B
321 State Office Building