Unfortunately, when it came to the Senate’s turn to vote, Senate Republicans refused to do their part to pass these investments. Hundreds of critical infrastructure projects have gone unfunded for too long, and the refusal of Senate Republicans to deliver support to their communities and others throughout the state doesn’t magically solve this issue; it makes the projects more expensive and causes unnecessary harm.
With a DFL trifecta, there aren’t many opportunities for Senate Republicans to take part in the gridlock we’ve seen in previous years, and we’re not going to let them stop us now when Minnesotans are depending on these local jobs and projects. Senate Republicans blocking these investments sends us back to the drawing board and makes our work unnecessarily difficult, but we’ll be back soon, with or without them, to do the right thing and deliver for our state.
Environmental Justice & Cleaner Air
Too often, polluters are disproportionately sited in communities with concentrated poverty and higher proportions of residents of color, contributing to poor health. One of our neighbors, Shannon Haiden, joined me at the State Capitol this week to testify to the breathing struggles she and her family (many of whom have asthma) face in our community.
Shannon’s testimony was a key part in the presentation of my bill before the House Environment and Natural Resources Finance and Policy Committee on Tuesday. My bill requires the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) to deny permits if they would add to cumulative adverse environmental stressors in an environmental justice area. This bill would help North Minneapolis and communities throughout the state. You can watch the committee hearing here.
Before receiving a permit from the MPCA that could affect an environmental justice area, the bill requires an applicant to hold a public meeting with community members, to offer an opportunity for robust public engagement and accept oral and written comments which would be forwarded to the Pollution Control Agency.
The bill was laid over for inclusion in the committee’s finance bill. You can read more about it here.
On the heels of unanimously passing the Minnesota Indian Preservation Act last week, on Monday we set aside time to hold a “Sovereignty Day” at the Capital - our second since 2019. This was an educational event for House and Senate legislators on tribal history and culture, sovereignty, and the interplay between federal, state, and tribal law.
This event included the leaders of the eleven federally recognized sovereign tribal nations in Minnesota, and was a great opportunity and reminder to hear their perspectives as we create legislation here in Saint Paul.
If you have any questions about the bills we’re working on, please feel free to contact my office. You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-296-4262, and I will be happy to help.