Friends and neighbors,
We’ve had another eventful couple of weeks at the Capitol, and it’s safe to say that we won’t be slowing down any time soon. Here’s what’s been going on since our last update, but first, some exciting news about a new addition to our streets.
All the “Rumors” are true... The people of Minnesota have spoken, and heading out into the streets this winter is our “Special” newly named metro area snow plow, Blizzo.
Around this time of year, we’re all wishing for spring. Unfortunately, the “Truth Hurts” -- we have a little longer to wait until the snow stops flying. Luckily, Blizzo will be out on the streets of Eden Prairie trailblazing a path for those behind her. My personal favorite is “Yer a Blizzard, Harry,” which I can only read in the voice of Rubeus Hagrid, Gamekeeper at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft & Wizardry.
Last night, the Minnesota House voted to pass two important bills aimed at addressing food insecurity in our schools and community. HF 5 would create a state program for schools to provide daily breakfast and lunch to all students, and HF 213 would provide an investment of $5 million for food shelf programs in light of record numbers of visits to food shelves last year. In local news, this week the Eden Prairie Liquor Stores donated over $10K to our PROP food shelf which supports residents of Eden Prairie and Chanhassen.
Currently, one in six Minnesota children are food insecure. Hunger is all-too-common and no one, especially children, in Minnesota should have to wonder where their next meal is coming from. We have the resources and ability to help struggling families, and that’s what we did last night.
Last week, Governor Walz signed the CROWN Act into law. This means that Minnesota’s civil rights law now confirms protection against discrimination based on race-based natural hair texture and styles such as braids, locs, and twists. Our workplaces are better when everyone is able to be their whole self.
Many neighbors have shared concerns about crime and public safety and it is something I take seriously, both as a mom, a resident, and as your representative. The House recently passed a bipartisan bill that will boost funding to address violent crime and to provide counties the tools they need to prosecute heinous crimes statewide.
With additional public safety investments, and in partnership with the Minnesota Attorney General’s office, this bill, which has already passed in the Senate, will allow us to hire more prosecutors so they can expand their scope to charge violent crimes. These offenses, including crimes like assault, kidnapping, sexual assault, robbery, burglary, human trafficking, sex trafficking, homicide, and more, are an affront on our communities and our society.
White, black, brown, or indigenous, Minnesotans all deserve to be and feel safe, and whether you live in the suburbs, the metro, or greater Minnesota, this bill will ensure more bad actors and violent criminals are prosecuted and held accountable.
Last week, the House passed Driver’s Licenses for All off the floor. The rotunda was absolutely electric as people rejoiced, their lives one step closer to drastically changing for the better.
The opportunity to earn a driver’s license and drive safely and legally is a necessity to work, to worship, or to take care of loved ones. Our roads and our communities are safer when everyone can take the steps necessary to do so – regardless of documentation status.
Yesterday, I presented HF 1369 in the Taxes committee. The federal child tax credit implemented through the American Rescue Plan (ARPA) in 2021 was one of the largest drivers in reducing child poverty in decades but funding was not renewed by Congress. My bipartisan proposal would establish a nation-leading child tax credit which provides $3,000 for each qualifying child under the age of 6 and $1,000 for each qualifying child ages 6-17, depending on household income. The bill was laid over for inclusion in a committee budget bill later in session.
I’ll be joining Esme Murphy on WCCO Sunday morning at 10:30am to discuss this and other proposals. Please tune in!
It’s been wonderful to welcome neighbors back to the Capitol and hear you advocate on the issues that matter most to you. From bicycle safety to banking regulations, and gun violence prevention to backyard pollinators, I really enjoy learning from you.
Thank you to Allie & Emily from the Athletic Trainers Association, Shereen with the MN Social Service Association, and Marilynn, who stopped by during the MN Bike-Walk Summit.
Reminder: Eden Prairie Schools conferences are coming up next week. Please check in with your student’s teachers to schedule a time to meet and learn about their progress.
Students from Eden Prairie High School have made news, creating a device that uses AI to combat distracted and drowsy drivers. EPHS Junior Yash Dagade and friends created the device, which can be used in any car to help keep drivers attentive on the road.
Back in 2019, I voted in support of a statewide Hands-Free Driving Bill. Though we made progress with this bill, distracted driving still kills every single day. Eden Prairie resident Vijay Dixit was one of our most vocal supporters, having lost his daughter, Shraya, to a distracted driver in 2007. Dixit continues work to bring awareness to the cause with the Shreya Dixit Foundation.
There are a lot of exciting things on the horizon this session, so be sure to follow my Facebook page for timely updates.
Please continue to share your questions, ideas, and feedback with me throughout the legislative session. You can reach me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 651-296-6828. You can contact my new Legislative Assistant, Ella, at 651-296-3918 or via email at email@example.com.
It is an honor and a privilege to represent you at the Capitol.
All my best,
Rep. Carlie Kotyza-Witthuhn