Many of you have been to the Capitol this week, as the public has spoken out against proposals at the state and federal level that would be harmful to members of our community. Here’s a recap of some of the things that have been happing at the Capitol.
Upcoming Town Halls –February 8th
January 31st, UROC
I will be attending Senator Bobby Joe Champion’s town hall meeting on Tuesday, January 31, from 6:00-8:00 p.m. at the Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center (UROC) (2001 Plymouth Ave N, Minneapolis, MN 55411). There will be food served from 6:00-6:30pm with the meeting starting at 6:30.
February 8th, Davis Center
Representative Ray Dehn and I will be hosting a town hall for community members on Wednesday, Feb. 8 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Davis Center Cafeteria (1250 W Broadway Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55411). We encourage you to attend with your questions and concerns. I hope you can join us!
Governor Dayton’s Budget: An Opportunity Agenda
Governor Dayton delivered the State of the State to a joint legislative session of the House and Senate on Monday. The headline grabbing news was that he fainted just before he finished the speech. Thankfully, he’s OK and doing well. During his speech and in the two year state budget he released on Tuesday, he outlined a broad vision for improving the lives of ordinary Minnesotans.
One thing that I was glad to hear him continue to emphasize was his support for improving education for our students. His continued focus on investing in pre-K to college students is so important to our future success. The Governor proposed voluntary pre-kindergarten for all of Minnesota’s children, a 2% increase in education funding this year and the next, and to plan to hold down college debt so we keep our graduates among the best in the nation in workforce readiness.
Just before he was going to finish his speech, Governor Dayton was going to call for new reforms to make insurance more affordable. Among those reforms was expanding our successful MinnesotaCare program, which is a public option to increase competition and drive down health insurance costs.
You can read Governor Dayton’s full remarks here and his full budget release with details on many other parts of the state budget here.
Health Insurance Premiums Relief
Yesterday the House and Senate considered SF 1, the health care premium reduction and reform. Here is the Conference Committee and summary. Here is an article and summary.
I voted against the adoption of the Conference Committee report and the final bill because it included the introduction of for-profit HMOs into Minnesota. It would also allow the conversion of non-profit HMOs into for-profit.
This bill will only address the issue of rising health insurance premiums this year and does not offer a long term solution. Only 19 of us voted against the bill.
Republican lawmakers around the country (and in Minnesota) are attempting to make protest illegal.
There was a packed committee hearing on Tuesday for a bill that would seek to criminalize peaceful protest by making it legal to sue protesters for costs associated with protests, similar to the women’s march that drew 100,000 people to Saint Paul streets last Saturday.
It is a constitutional right to join together in peaceful demonstration and make your voices heard. It is discriminatory to single out protesters for civil financial liability, but not individuals convicted of other criminal offenses. I oppose measures like this that attempt to restrict our first amendment rights to peacefully assemble.
Executive Orders Banning Refugees
On Wednesday afternoon I participated in a press conference that included Minnesotans of all different racial and ethnic backgrounds to say that we objected to the racist and hateful executive orders being signed by President Trump that are attacking refugees, Muslims, and immigrants from Mexico and other nations.
I came to the United States from a refugee camp in Thailand after my family's military service with the U.S. during the “Secret War” in Laos. My life experience is why I will not ignore President Trump's executive orders to ban Muslims from this country. Refugees contribute, shape and continue to strengthen our city, our state and our nation. In times like this we need to open our hearts and recognize that refugees and immigrants enrich our communities and make our nation stronger.
Minnesota has a long tradition of welcoming immigrant and refugee communities. It is clear from their positive economic, cultural, and political impacts that refugees continue to make strong contributions to all of our lives.
People packed the Capitol press conference room opposing President Trump’s executive orders banning immigrants and ordering the construction of a border wall.
Stay in Touch
You can always contact me if you have questions or concerns at 651-296-4262 or by email at email@example.com .