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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Steve Elkins (DFL)

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Legislative Update

Friday, April 19, 2024

Dear Neighbors,

We have about a month left of session, and we are working hard to pass our remaining policy bills and supplemental budgets which improve the lives of working and middle class Minnesotans. Here’s an update from the Capitol:


I met with a contingent of the Bloomington Federation of Teachers, this week. We discussed ways to implement the READ Act, ongoing special education and English as a second language challenges, and teacher pension issues.


Last week Pastor Elise Pokel of Transfiguration Lutheran Church delivered an inspiring invocation to commence a Minnesota House of Representatives’ floor session. The Clerk’s office is always looking for volunteer chaplains and If you’d like to nominate yours, just let me know.

Lights On!

Recently, the House Transportation Committee heard a bill to provide state funding for the “Lights On!” program. Championed by former Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington, the pilot program, which was funded by charitable organizations, gave coupons instead of tickets to motorists with broken headlights or taillights. The coupon, worth up to $250, could be presented to a participating repair shop to finance the repair of the broken lights. The Bloomington Police Department gave away more of these coupons than any other city in the pilot program and our police chief, Booker Hodges testified in support of the program. In his words, the program allows the BPD to turn a potentially negative encounter with the public into a positive one, helping build the mutually trustful, respective relationship that our police department is building with the community while improving the safety of vehicles on the road.


Moms Demand Action

It was good to meet with Moms Demand Action recently. I am consistently impressed with their work and devotion to creating a safer Minnesota where no child is harmed by gun violence. I’m proud to have voted for criminal background checks to keep guns out of the hands of those who are prohibited from having them and red flag laws to prevent those likely to cause harm from doing so. Last year we also passed a provision to increase penalties for those who possess illegal devices that make guns fully automatic. This is on top of legislation we are working on this year to require firearms to be stored securely, to require gun owners to report lost or stolen firearms to law enforcement, make straw purchases harder, and ban binary triggers.


House Floor Votes

The House has passed policy bill packages in major issue areas building on the work of our historically productive 2023 session and improving the lives of Minnesotans. So far the House has passed: 

  • A?public safety package?that passed unanimously and includes bipartisan provisions that protect victim-survivors and make our system more just.
  • A labor policy bill that includes provisions to strengthen the minimum wage, ban shadow non-competes, and increase pay transparency.
  • A K-12 education policy bill that prioritizes policies to improve the experiences of students in Minnesota schools while also making sure the state is measuring and holding schools accountable for meaningful academic outcomes.
  • An elections policy bill, which focuses on improved voter access and election transparency. It targets policy areas where the state can improve voter turnout and ensure that voters can push back on voting restrictions.
Public Safety, K-12, Labor, & Elections Policy Bills

Standing up for Consumers

The DFL also passed legislation to crack down on junk fees to ensure consumers have fair, upfront pricing for event tickets, restaurant meals, hotels, credit cards, and more. I was proud to vote for both of these bills to protect Minnesotan consumers against unfair business practices.

Consumer Protection Bills

Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council

On April 1, 2024, the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council released its FY25 Call for Funding Requests. An estimated $150+ million will be available for habitat work. Eligibility for these grants includes local units of government, Tribal entities, Park & Rec departments, non-profit organizations, SWCDs, watershed districts, and others. Funding is dedicated for projects that protect, restore, and enhance habitat for fish, game, and wildlife. Learn more and apply here.

Free Park Day

Get your hiking boots ready, Saturday, April 27 is the next free entrance day to all Minnesota parks! Minnesota state parks are open year-round, and there's a state park within 30 miles of most Minnesotans. With a free day in each season, it's a great opportunity to get out there and explore someplace new! Whether you stay for the whole weekend or just spend a few hours outside, you'll make memories that will last a lifetime. So be sure to get out and visit our wonderful parks!


Join a State Board, Council, or Committee!

The Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State recently released a notice of vacancies for various state boards, councils and committees that are accepting applications. Any Minnesotans interested in public service are encouraged to apply! There are positions for people from all backgrounds and professions, from cosmetologists to engineers.  

You can find the full list of vacancies here.

Keep in Touch

Don’t hesitate to reach out if I can provide any assistance. Please follow me on my Facebook page for further updates and invite your friends and family to do so as well. 

I’m making progress on working down my backlog of constituent emails. If I haven’t responded to your email, yet, you should expect to hear back from me soon. 

Thanks for the honor of representing you at the Capitol. 


Steve Elkins
Representative, District 50B
Minnesota House of Representatives