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

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Legislative Update - Safe and Warm Homes for Minnesotans

Friday, February 12, 2021

Rep. Howard

Dear Neighbors, 

There’s nothing like a spell of sub-zero temperatures to make one grateful for having a safe and warm home with which to escape the cold - but during this winter, during this global pandemic, that’s not the case for all Minnesotans. As vice chair of the Housing Finance and Policy Committee, and a member of the Preventing Homelessness Division, legislation concerning Minnesota’s housing crisis has been a focus of mine. 

Recently, I presented a bill to keep homeless Minnesotans safe amidst the pandemic. One of my Republican colleagues suggested that the primary cause of homelessness is personal choices made by those who lack a home. This was my response:

Howard Video

No one chooses to be homeless. Ultimately, homelessness is a systemic failure of us. Only when we recognize this truth will we be able to solve this problem. I also presented another measure last week, the Bring It Home Bill, which would address housing insecurity by providing rental assistance. Kare 11 recently covered our hearing, which you can watch here



Minnesota’s Energy Assistance Program

Even for those with a roof over their head, paying the heating bill can be a struggle in the middle of winter. Minnesota’s Energy Assistance Program helped nearly 118,000 households pay their heating bills last year, with those eligible earning less than $54,357 for a household of four or $28,266 for a household of one.If you’re eligible, you can apply for assistance with your service provider. Call 800-657-3710, and press 1, or visit the Commerce Department’s Energy Assistance Program webpage. Applications are accepted until May 31, however funding is limited and administered on a first-come, first-served basis.



It’s Time to Legalize Adult-Use Cannabis

Minnesota’s current cannabis laws are doing more harm than good. By creating a regulatory framework we can establish a more sensible set of laws to expand freedom and improve our criminal justice systems, ensuring a better and more equitable state for all. That's why I am co-authoring HF 600, which will receive its first legislative hearing in the House next week.

Cannabis Graphic 2

With more states legalizing cannabis for adult-use, Minnesota is falling behind. We’re behind on responsible regulation, accessible treatment of PTSD for veterans, an affordable medical cannabis program, and expunging low-level, nonviolent offenses. Minnesota’s current laws are doing more harm than good, especially with the criminal justice inequities impacting our communities of color. We heard from Minnesotans, and it’s long past time to legalize cannabis.  



Hail to the King

Congratulations to the members of Richfield High School’s Fire and Ice Court, especially the newly-crowned King Joe Carr. Joe made headlines last summer when his lemonade stand raised over $10,000 for Gillette Children’s Hospital’s adaptive bike program, which helps kids living with cerebral palsy, like Joe, get out and get some exercise (ideally when it’s not -20). This was in addition to the $6,000 he had raised in previous years.

You can follow Joe’s story here. Long may he reign. 



Stay Connected

The legislative session is picking up speed, and the House Public Info page is a great resource for the latest legislative news, with items from this week including the Clean Energy First Act heading to the House floor, testimony on legislation that trains police to better help with people with dementia, and a House panel approving $30 million for Minnesota’s disaster assistance account

If you have any questions or comments on our work in the Minnesota House, feel free to contact me at or (651) 296-7158. I look forward to hearing from you. 

In partnership, 


Michael Howard