It’s been an eventful two weeks at the Capitol! With less than a month left in the legislative session, we’re working on budget proposals that will improve the lives of Minnesotans. In the House, we’ve passed budgets for Agriculture, Housing, Broadband, Legacy, Transportation, State Government, Veterans, E-12 Education, Higher Education, Public Safety and Judiciary, Environment, Health and Human Services, Jobs and Workforce, Climate and Energy, Commerce, and Taxes. If you’d like to read more about these bills, please click on the links above.
Investing in Clean Energy and Solutions to Climate Change
Scientists are telling us that the window to address climate change is closing. Minnesotans are urging lawmakers to act. House DFLers are listening. We passed an ambitious Climate and Energy budget last night!
This bill will move us forward on clean energy. It invests in several renewable energy initiatives, creates a program to help local governments purchase and install solar panels on public buildings, and funds research and development of clean energy technology. I’m particularly pleased that the bill expands Solar for Schools, a popular grant program that reduces greenhouse gas emissions, saves schools money, and provides learning opportunities for students. I authored the legislation that established this program, and I’m excited to watch it grow!
Several of my bills are part of the Climate and Energy budget, including legislation that will create a roadmap for achieving our greenhouse gas emissions goals. This roadmap will outline exactly what we need to do to prevent the worst impacts of climate change. You can watch my speech about this bill here.
Preserving Our Environment
As a member of the Environment and Natural Resources Committee, I helped develop the Environment bill the House passed last week. This budget includes provisions to address climate change, improve water quality, and much more! The budget also contains legislation I authored to fund groundwater storage and recovery and help stop the spread of aquatic invasive species.
Supporting Minnesota Workers and Businesses
During the darkest days of the pandemic, frontline workers kept our state running. Many of them faced increased risks of exposure to COVID-19, including health care workers, first responders, child care providers, and food service and retail workers. After months of hard work, we’ve reached a bipartisan agreement that delivers $750 bonuses to more than 660,000 frontline workers.
The compromise we found also replenishes Minnesota’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund. This fund was depleted because a historic number of people had to rely on unemployment benefits during the pandemic. Legislation we passed last Friday will restore the trust fund to pre-pandemic levels and prevent any unemployment insurance tax rate increases on small businesses.
While House DFLers wanted to provide larger bonuses for frontline workers and extend unemployment benefits to hourly school workers as well, I’m glad we’ll finally be able to deliver these checks to Minnesotans.
Connecting with Local Students
I helped organize a recent event at Hopkins West Junior High School. I worked with a nonprofit called We Share Solar and Irina Kornberg, a University of Minnesota student, to provide students with an opportunity to assemble kits that contain everything needed to build a solar power system. The students had a chance to develop some engineering skills, and the kits will be sent to Kenyan schools that lack electricity!
Save the Date: Upcoming Town Hall
I’m looking forward to sharing the results of our hard work with you when this year’s legislative session is over. With that in mind, Rep. Kelly Morrison and I are holding a town hall on Thursday, May 26 at 7 p.m. We hope you can join us at the Minnetonka Community Center!
Please reach out if you have any questions or feedback you’d like to share. You can contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (651) 296-9934.