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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Michael Howard (DFL)

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Legislative Update - February 7, 2019

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Dear Neighbors,
What happened to our 40 degree weekend? Things are slow-moving on the roads, but not so much in the Minnesota House. There are several pieces of legislation and updates from this week that I’d like to share with you.
First bill passed – and it’s a good one 
Minnesota cannot build a more equitable future for all unless we learn lessons from our history and be purposeful in eliminating systemic racism. That is the purpose behind HF 51, the first bill we passed off the House floor this week.

HF 51 seeks to address the racial disparities that have long existed in the housing history of our state. If signed into law, it would allow homeowners to formally denounce restrictive covenants on their home titles. Restrictive covenants were used in the past to prevent minority communities from moving into residential neighborhoods. They are now unconstitutional, but the racist language remains in the abstract of many titles. The bill would allow homeowners to attach a formal document to their home title repudiating this racist language and practice. I’m happy to say that the bill passed the House unanimously.

You can read more about this bill here.
100% Clean Energy
Let there be no doubt- climate change is real and already having a significant adverse impact on our state and world. We need to take bold action and reclaim Minnesota’s place as a leader in clean energy. 
That is why I am proud to support HF 700, a bill to set Minnesota on a course to 100% clean energy by 2050. The bill was heard for the first time on Tuesday, and it is starting to move through committees. If passed, it would increase the proportion of energy that must come from renewable sources and set target dates for when these goals need to be achieved by power companies. Shout-out to Helen and Bill, constituents of mine who stopped by to advocate for this bill, of which I’m happy to co-author. In addition, I was grateful that Imam Mohamed Omar, Executive Director at Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington, and Emilia Gonzalez Avalos, Executive Director of Unidos MN (and Richfield community member), spoke at the press conference, advocating powerfully about climate change as a matter of environmental and social justice.


Wage Theft
Yesterday saw the first hearing for another bill that I’m proud to co-author. The Wage Theft Prevention & Enforcement Act would help ensure the simple right that workers should be paid for their labor. In Minnesota alone, 39,000 employees were impacted by wage theft last year. Whether an employer is paying less than minimum wage, failing to sufficiently pay for overtime, requiring ‘off the clock’ labor, or simply withholding a paycheck, this bill helps secure an hour’s pay for an hour’s work.
You can read more about this bill here.
Saturday’s Listening Session
Thank you to everyone that attended last Saturday’s listening session! We had an amazing turnout and great conversations. If you weren’t able to attend, don’t worry, we’ll have more in the future that I’ll be sure to let you know about. In the meantime, if you have questions or comments on the legislative process, you can always contact me at (651) 296-7158 or I look forward to hearing from you.

Michael Howard