We are in the middle of the first week of the 2022 legislative session, which will end in mid-May. There is a lot of work to be done! Our state and its residents have significant needs, many discussed below. The good news is that we have a substantial budget surplus - a historic opportunity to meet these needs. A challenge is that we also have one of the only legislatures in the country with divided party control (one chamber majority Democratic, the other majority Republican). Things will move quickly; please attend our town hall on Saturday (see below) and keep in touch.
Yesterday was the first day of National Gun Violence Survivors Week. It is heartbreaking to have it marked by the shooting of two students, one who has died, outside of a school in Richfield. Especially heartbreaking because this pattern is unique to our country - by early February each year, the U.S. experiences more deaths from guns than other high-income countries experience in the entire year. It is infuriating that Senate Republicans have continued to stand in the way of changes to help keep guns out of the hands of people who have shown themselves to be dangerous. I will continue to press to keep Minnesotans safe.
Town Hall on Saturday
This Saturday at 1:00pm, Rep. Kaohly Vang Her, Sen. Erin Murphy, and I are holding a virtual town hall. We'll share our plans and expectations for the session and answer questions. To join us, please register here. You’ll receive a Zoom link via email prior to the event.
2022 Priorities for Education and Child Care
In the lead-up to session, our House DFL majority announced our priorities in several important issue areas. As chair of the Early Childhood Committee, I was involved in the announcement for early care and learning, K-12 education, and higher education. Our goals in these areas are to close opportunity gaps, lower costs, and improve economic security for kids and families. Read more here and here.
2022 Priorities for Public Safety
As a prosecutor of gender violence in my work outside of the Legislature, I also helped announce our majority's proposal for public safety - a $100 million bill to use proven strategies to make communities safer. The funding in the bill would go to expand community policing, hire and train investigators, purchase evidence-processing equipment, and support nonprofit organizations that are working to prevent crime. With its broad and balanced approach, this plan will make it easier for police to investigate cases and solve crimes - and more importantly, help to prevent crime in the first place. News coverage of the announcement is here, and you can read about the proposal here.
2022 Priorities for Climate Action
House DFLers have introduced an ambitious, science-based plan to address the climate crisis as well. It would invest $1 billion in more than 30 initiatives to help mitigate and prevent climate change while creating good-paying jobs and lowering energy costs. As just one example, the plan contains $150 million to help Minnesotans make their homes more energy efficient. More details on the full plan here.
2022 Priorities for Economic Security
Many people are still struggling and facing an uncertain future due to COVID-19. The final announcement of priorities from our House DFL related to these urgent needs of Minnesotans and to expanding economic opportunity. Among the components are Paid Family & Medical Leave, Earned Sick & Safe Time, support for frontline workers, improved access to broadband, and increases to the supply of safe and affordable housing. An outline of this plan can be found here.
Free COVID-19 Resources
The federal government recently launched a website where people can order free COVID-19 tests. You can request four tests per household, and they will be shipped directly to your home. I encourage you to order tests and to spread the word to family and friends. In addition, the federal government and the State of Minnesota began distributing free N95 and KN95 masks last week. Millions of the high-quality masks are in route to schools, pharmacies, child care centers, public health agencies, community centers, and other sites that will give them to Minnesotans for free. Please contact my office if you have trouble finding free masks in our community.