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

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Legislative Update - Driver’s Licenses for All

Friday, February 3, 2023
Howard Banner

Dear Neighbors, 

For two decades, our undocumented neighbors have been unable to obtain a driver’s license in Minnesota, making it ??difficult for tens of thousands of Minnesotans to reliably get to their jobs, school, and errands without risking themselves or their families. On Monday, we took steps to change that. 

With cheering, singing, and dancing advocates in the halls of the Capitol, we passed the “Driver’s Licenses for All” bill off the House floor, righting a wrong and ensuring all of our neighbors have the right to test for and obtain a license. We got to this point because of tireless, unrelenting advocates. They weren’t willing to give up the fight. They weren’t going to be pushed aside. They were saying this is our home, and we belong.

This is your home. You do belong. And the sounds of joy that we heard in the People's House that night was the sound of a victory for the people.



Taking on Minnesota’s Housing Crisis

In the Housing Committee this week, I handed things over to Vice Chair Agbaje and moved to the other end of the committee room to present my bill that would provide $1 billion in state bonds for housing investments, both to build new homes and improve the ones we already have. Minnesota is facing a housing crisis, but as of right now, only 0.4% of the overall state budget is allocated to solve this problem. That needs to change. 

Minnesota’s housing crisis is even more pronounced for our disability community. In partnering with amazing advocates, we’re working to increase the supply of accessible and affordable housing. Big thanks to Judy Moe for planting the seeds and cultivating this legislation, and to Justin Smith for sharing his journey to find accessible housing. Our Housing Committee is ready to move this important bill forward!

Housing Advocates

Thanks to The Arc Minnesota for their leadership on this issue!

You can read more about our bill and the problems it seeks to solve here



Restore the Vote

On Thursday, we passed our “Restore the Vote” bill off the House floor, which I co-authored with my colleagues. Voting is a cornerstone of a healthy democracy, and it ensures that citizens have a voice in decisions that impact their lives. Twenty-one states automatically restore voting rights after incarceration ends, including red states like North Dakota and blue states like Illinois.

It’s time for Minnesota to join them.

Not only does the status quo disproportionately disenfranchise Minnesotans of color, it’s counterintuitive to the engaged citizenry we should strive to foster. People who commit a serious crime should face serious consequences, including incarceration, but when the goal is to re-enter society, that should come with restored voting rights. Restore the vote.  




Another bill we took up last night would establish Juneteenth as an official state holiday, and since the Minnesota Senate beat us to pass this bill first, it’s now on its way to Governor Walz to be signed into law!

Juneteenth - June 19 - commemorates the liberation of African American freedom and emphasizes education and achievement. By learning from our past we can better address the harmful racial disparities of the present and build a state that is more inclusive and more just.


If you have any questions about the bills I’ve brought up, or any of our legislative work, please feel free to reach out!

In partnership, 


Michael Howard