I hope this finds you well and that you’ve had a good week! Session picked up right where we left off, with committees rearranging bill hearings to accommodate cancellations from last week’s weather. We’re also approaching the first committee deadline on March 10, which is our first major deadline to pass policy bills with no fiscal impact. You can watch this fun, short video from House Public Information Services about our deadlines and what they mean for our legislative work.
This week, Minnesota Management and Budget released their updated February state budget forecast. This forecast took into account inflation, holding the surplus at $17.5 billion. I’ve been advocating for including inflation in these forecasts moving forward and am pleased we passed the bill that made that possible signed into law. The Minnesota House is thinking strategically about how we can do the best with these one-time resources. Democrats want to set our state up for success now and into the future. You can look at Minnesotans Management and Budget’s forecast presentation to our Joint House and Senate Ways & Means Committee here.
On Monday this week, at the end of American Heart Health Month, I led a bipartisan announcement on the House Floor to bring awareness to and support for the women who are suffering from heart disease throughout Minnesota. You can watch the clip here.
On Saturday morning, I had the chance to join Senator Mary Kunesh, Chair of the Senate Education Finance Committee, to speak with a group of paraprofessionals and other school support staff and an SEIU annual meeting. These support staff are integral members of our school communities and deserve better pay, access to unemployment benefits, and affordable healthcare.
Between committee hearings and floor sessions, I was grateful for the opportunity to connect with constituents. I had a chance to meet with early education advocates visiting on behalf of our littlest Minnesotans. They support increased investments in early education and the Parent+ program.
In Education Finance Committee this week, we heard bills to fund our public library system, increase investment in community education as well as adult basic education, fund after school education, address lead traces in dated pipes in our schools, school supports for mental health, and much more.
In Taxes Committee, we had an overview from the Minnesota Department of Revenue on the Governor’s proposed tax plan for our state. There are several good things within the bill, and I’m especially thrilled my legislation to continue Minnesota’s historic tax credit has been included in his proposal. You can read more components of the plan and review the presentation here.
And, in the Education Policy Committee we heard a variety of bills related to school programming opportunities including STEM, after-school learning, and economic education in the classroom. With the first policy deadline around the corner (March 10), the Education Policy Committee is wrapping up bill hearings and will be proposing their education policy package.
On Thursday, we passed legislation dedicated to ending homelessness in our state by investing in emergency services programs, transitional housing, outreach, and a pathway to stable housing for all Minnesotans. Minnesota youth, families, and senior citizens deserve warmth, safety, and shelter. A vote for this bill is a vote to help more Minnesotans have a safe place to lay their head at night.
We also advanced a bill to put new guardrails into state law to prevent unconscionable price gouging during times of emergency such as a pandemic or natural disaster. Thirty-six other states have similar laws. Minnesotans deserve to be protected from bad actors seeking to profit off of their needs and fears in a time of crisis. I was glad to vote ‘YES’ on this important consumer protection measure.
We also passed a bill to ratify two collective bargaining agreements between state employees and the executive branch. The contracts have already been negotiated and approved by union members. With this new contract, hardworking state employees will receive better pay and benefits that help them afford their lives.
We also concurred with the Senate on minimal changes to advance the Drivers Licenses for All bill, and the Restore the Vote bill to Governor Walz. And, we passed two smaller bills around public safety. It is refreshing to be passing bills early in session in order to spread out our work and not push it all to the last month of session.
Women’s History Month
It’s women’s history month, a time to reflect on and lift up the accomplishments of women nationally and worldwide. Our country has been through tumultuous times since the overturning of Roe. V. Wade, but in Minnesota, we’re fortunate to live in a strong state where we believe Minnesotans deserve to have the ability to make their own reproductive health choices.
Keep in Touch
Please continue to reach out anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-296-9889 with input or questions. While email is usually the quickest way to get in touch, I have to apologize for being a bit behind on responding to the many form letters I receive on a variety of issues. I do prioritize constituents, so please include your address. I appreciate your patience.
Thank you for the honor of serving our Hopkins, St. Louis Park, and Edina neighbors at the State Capitol.
Have a great weekend!