The 2022 Legislative Session began last week, and I want to give a shout out to the members of our community that joined me for one of our first bill presentations of the new year. In our recent Climate and Energy Finance & Policy Committee hearing, I presented my bill on environmental justice alongside our neighbors Roxxanne O’Brien and Taisia Cleveland.
The burden of air pollution has fallen on low-income and communities of color, and that’s not something we can continue to accept. My bill would modify requirements to analyze and consider cumulative pollution before issuing air quality permits in an effort to build a cleaner, greener Minnesota for everyone. Thank you to Roxxanne and Taisia for helping to make this such a successful hearing!
If you’re interested, you can watch that committee hearing here.
What are your priorities?
As we kick off the legislative session, many of our priorities are built around the fact that many Minnesotans are still struggling, especially in our community, even as numbers show other sectors of the state’s economy are doing exceptionally well. We need to make sure all Minnesotans can benefit from the state’s recovery, not just a wealthy few.
In the House DFL, we’ve been releasing proposals to take on issues that have been brought on or exacerbated by the pandemic, and ones that existed long before COVID-19. We’ve already unveiled our priorities in the areas of Economic Security, Public Safety, Education, and Climate Action, and these are just the start.
As we work to map out our work for this legislative session, I want to hear from you. Our work is at its best when it’s open and responsive to your needs, and to that end I would greatly appreciate it if you could take this brief legislative survey to help guide our work.
Workers’ Comp for Frontline Workers
Last Thursday, we passed HF 1203 off the House floor, which would extend the law providing a presumption that if public safety or health care workers contract COVID-19, they did so during the course of their employment and are covered by workers’ compensation. The legislation passed on a bipartisan vote of 124-8.
The previous law allowing for this presumption expired on December 31, 2021. The new bill would extend the presumption to January 13, 2023, and will impact firefighters; peace and police officers; paramedics; EMTs; health care providers, nurses or assistive employees in a health care, home care or long-term care setting who work with COVID-19 patients; correctional officers or security counselors at correctional facilities; and childcare providers who are required to provide childcare for the children of first responders and health care workers under the Governor’s Executive Orders.
These are the Minnesotans that keep us safe and healthy, and we can’t turn our backs on them as our state continues to grapple with COVID-19. I was proud to help pass this legislation.
Public Safety and Amir Locke
As I stated before, public safety is once again at the forefront of our priorities in the House DFL, not only for how we can address crime in our communities, but to hold those charged with protecting our communities accountable. Minneapolis is reeling from yet another officer-involved shooting with the death of Amir Locke, and after I joined my House colleagues in calling for the release of bodycam footage, I appreciate that at least that measure of transparency has now been met - but more questions remain.
Last session, we passed changes curbing and regulating the use of “no-knock warrants,” but more is clearly needed, and I appreciate Governor Walz calling for more reform in this area. It’s incredibly frustrating to be in this position where we must once again mourn the loss of a young life in our city, but I am resolved to continue the fight for a more just and safer Minnesota, and I hope you’ll join me in that.
If my office can be of any help, both in this issue and others during the legislative session, please do not hesitate to reach out.