I hope you are having a great summer. Yesterday, state officials announced Minnesota’s unemployment rate ticked down two-tenths of a point to 1.8% in June 2022 – yet another record low since the metric has been tracked in 1976. This is much lower than the national rate of 3.6%. Minnesota is still down approximately 72,000 people in our labor force since before the pandemic, indicating a tough job market remains. Wages also aren’t keeping pace with rising costs, posing difficulties for workers and their families. Still, today’s announcement highlights economic stability in our state and plenty of opportunities to be found within our economy.
Here’s an update from the State Capitol.
About two months have passed since the regular legislative session adjourned. Due to an unwillingness to compromise on behalf of the Senate Republican Majority, the session ended without action on funding for schools, strengthening our health care workforce and services for vulnerable Minnesotans, keeping our communities safe, and steps to help Minnesotans address rising costs. This is deeply regrettable given a historic budget surplus and a bipartisan framework to invest $4 billion in priorities like education and health care, $4 billion in tax cuts and funding for local governments, and $4 billion left in the budget reserve in case of a future economic downtown. Unfortunately, Republicans walked away from the agreement and since then have refused to engage in discussion toward a compromise.
I remain ready to come back to the table and complete all the work contained in the deal – plus a package of investments in public infrastructure – in a special session. Minnesotans are counting on solutions to help them with the challenges they’re experiencing, but Republicans continue to say “no” to even having a discussion. Workers, families, and students deserve better, and my House DFL colleagues and I remain committed to finishing this important work.
Protecting Abortion Access
The right to an abortion has been guaranteed for nearly 50 years on the premise women are able to make their own personal health care decisions. The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade was a devastating ruling, and as many states proceed with extreme abortion bans, countless pregnant people – especially those from low-income backgrounds and people of color – will face perilous health care outcomes.
Our state has an important role in providing safe and legal abortion care to women in Minnesota and those traveling from neighboring states who have rushed to ban abortion. We got some good news recently with a state court ruling striking down many of Minnesota’s outdated and harmful abortion restrictions. Women who are making a tough decision about their own healthcare shouldn’t have to jump through hoops to get the care they deserve and need.
Still, this fight isn’t over. We all have power with our voices, and we must all stand up to make it clear we will not accept politicians cruelly limiting access to health care.
Last Chance: Frontline Worker Pay
This past legislative session, lawmakers invested $500 million toward bonus pay for frontline workers who largely didn’t have the option to work from home during the pandemic. Health care, first response, child care, retail, food service, and other workers kept our state moving forward during some extremely uncertain times.
Mental health crises – and tragically, suicide – are becoming a greater public health concern. This past Saturday, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline transitioned to a new service with an easier-to-remember number to help those in need. Now, by dialing or texting 988, a trained mental health counselor is available 24 hours a day, seven days per week if you or someone close to you is experiencing a crisis. Traditional approaches in response to 911 calls aren’t always best equipped to respond to mental health crises, and the new number will help ensure people can quickly get support.
Workers can connect callers to additional support or in-person care. The service is free and confidential.
State law prohibits legislators – whether seeking reelection or not – from proactively sharing information via email or postal mail after a certain date. Therefore, this will be my last e-update for the summer and fall. Regardless, I still encourage you to reach out to me anytime with your input, feedback, and ideas, or if I can ever be of assistance.
Thank you for the honor of working as your public servant.