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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Carlie Kotyza-Witthuhn (DFL)

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Legislative Update - February 15, 2019

Friday, February 15, 2019
Dear Neighbors,
On Tuesday, I had my first bill hearings for HF 825 and HF 908 in the House Early Childhood Finance and Policy Division. These bills invest in innovative, cooperative childcare pilot programming and business training that can be expanded state-wide, lifting up female entrepreneurs and supporting children and families all across Minnesota.

I was joined by representatives of WomenVenture, a non-profit organization which helps women start and grow businesses, train entrepreneurs, provide financing, and grow and create jobs. I look forward to partnering with them to create more opportunities in this industry.

Legislature on the Move
Since it’s often difficult for Minnesotans to travel to the Capitol, many committees are traveling across the state to hold public hearings on issues that matter most to Minnesotans. Next week, the K12 Education Finance Division will hold a hearing in Windom, in southwest Minnesota, to hear about the needs of rural schools. The Early Childhood Division will meet jointly with the Jobs and Economic Development Division in St. Cloud for a briefing on early childcare and the learning crisis, and its impact on the workforce. Listening to the input of Minnesotans across the state is a key component of our Minnesota Values Plan.
Addressing Tobacco Use – Eden Prairie Leads!
Data shows that after years of collective progress toward ending youth tobacco use, last year, it actually increased. This week the Legislature discussed proposals to reverse the trend and protect the health of all Minnesotans. HF 331 would increase the statewide age for sale of tobacco products to 21. Many municipalities (including Eden Prairie!) have already taken this step. Another billwould include e-cigarettes in the definition of smoking in the Minnesota Clean Indoor Air Act, while another would invest in services to help people quit smoking. These are all positive steps to keep Minnesota healthy.
Constituent Visits
I had many neighbors drop by the Capitol this last week to discuss issues important to them; everything from healthcare to infrastructure, and cannabis to conservation. I’m always glad to have the chance to discuss your thoughts and concerns in person.
Valuing LGBTQ Minnesotans

All Minnesotans deserve to be accepted, loved, and valued for who they are. Unfortunately, under the discredited approach of “conversion therapy”, LGBTQ individuals are coerced and sometimes tortured in an effort to change their identity, putting them at risk for depression, substance abuse, and suicide. Numerous professional medical organizations, including the American Medical Association and American Psychological Association, have noted that conversion therapy lacks scientific credibility, clinical utility, and is harmful. This week, the Health and Human Service Policy Committee approved a bill to prohibit conversion therapy in Minnesota. It’s time to end this dangerous practice and treat all Minnesotans with the dignity and respect they deserve.
Election Integrity and Security

Our elections system remains under attack from foreign sources looking to undermine our democracy. In fact, we were one of 21 states which Russians attempted to hack in the 2016 election. The federal government has approved $6.6 million for Minnesota election security enhancements, including an update to our voter database software and election officer training, but for the Secretary of State to utilize this investment, the Legislature needs to sign off.
We simply can’t wait while we remain vulnerable to foreign interference, and I hope we can come together soon in a bipartisan manner to ensure we have secure, fair elections.
Winter Blast
Don’t forget about Eden Prairie’s Winter Blast event tonight at Staring Lake Park. There will be all sorts of fun winter activities like ice skating, sledding, games, a bonfire and more. Additional information can be found here.
Please continue to contact me with your viewpoints and ideas. Be sure to call my office at 651-296-7449 or email me at I’m on Facebook, too, and I invite you to like or follow me here.
It’s an honor to represent you.
Carlie Kotyza-Witthuhn
State Representative