It is an honor to be representing district 52B at the Minnesota State Capitol serving my second term. Since the start of the legislative session, we have been hitting the ground running. With the trifecta, my colleagues and I are committed to moving legislation through the House to dismantle racism, uplift voices within our communities, and ensure we are taking accountability for the decision we are making that impact the lives of Minnesotans.
I have chief-authored several bills this session that truly build a stronger Minnesota for all. It is my hope you will join me in this long journey ahead. I chief authored these bills because am passionate about implementing laws that will support our youngest residents to our elders in Minnesota.
Paid Family Medical Leave
Every day in Minnesota, workers face the impossible choice of either going to work to earn a paycheck or staying home to take care of themselves or a sick family member. While some workers have jobs that provide paid sick leave, legislation on the issue is lacking, leaving thousands of Minnesotans without access to a single paid day off. Those in the lowest wage positions and our BIPOC community members face stark disparities. Nationally, over 80% of people support access to paid family and medical leave and over 70% of small businesses support access to paid family medical leave.
Preventing Catalytic Converter Theft
Catalytic converter thefts have seen a stark increase in the past two years, with law enforcement often unable to track these thefts or trace back the converters. We have seen Minnesotans and auto dealerships struggle with this rise, and that’s why House DFLers are working to urgently address the issue.
Bill would prohibit the possession of a detached catalytic converter with a few narrow exceptions and gives law enforcement the ability to address situations where individuals are found with multiple detached catalytic converters
The theft of catalytic converters tends to disproportionally affect people that keep their vehicles outside or in unsecured locations which means they are the least likely to be able to afford a $1000 repair for a stolen catalytic converter. Making it more difficult for thieves to sell and profit from stolen catalytic converters may help protect Minnesotans from this crime.
POCI Caucus Releases Priorities
I am proud to be welcoming a talented collective of new elected officials to the caucus. In solidarity, we announced our legislative priorities for the 2023-2024 legislative session on Wednesday.
The legislative agenda focuses on:
Equity in Economic Development
Public Safety and Justice Reform
The POCI Caucus is focused on ensuring the policies pursued in Minnesota are presented with an equity lens that addresses the needs of traditionally under-resourced and underinvested communities in Minnesota.
You can watch video of the press conference here.
Legislative Session Underway
Last fall, Minnesotans delivered a united state government with DFL majorities in the Minnesota House and Senate, while reelecting Governor Tim Walz. I’m incredibly proud of the bipartisan accomplishments we were able to deliver these past few years, but too often Republicans stood in the way of the meaningful changes Minnesotans deserve.
House and Senate leaders recently unveiled the legislative priorities to move Minnesota forward. My colleagues and I are ready to work hard, work together, and work quickly to deliver on the issues that matter most to Minnesotans.
To be clear: this isn’t an exhaustive list of everything we’re looking to accomplish, but these priorities represent our shared values as Minnesotans and ways we can make our state work better for everybody.
Protecting Reproductive Freedom
The Minnesota House of Representatives passed HF 1, also known as the Protect Reproductive Options (PRO) Act on January 19. The PRO Act protects Minnesotans’ right to contraception, the right to carry a pregnancy to term, and the right to abortion, and ensures the right to privacy for personal reproductive health decisions.
Minnesotans overwhelmingly support the fundamental right of individuals to make their own healthcare decisions. The recent overturning of Roe v. Wade sends a clear message that we can’t take these rights for granted. The PRO Act will codify these fundamental rights into law which is essential in guaranteeing reproductive freedom for the long term. We must act now to ensure a future state Supreme Court can’t take away the bodily autonomy of Minnesotans.
100% by 2040
The last eight years globally have been the hottest on record, and Minnesota is among the top states currently seeing rapid changes to our climate. Scientists know climate change driven by fossil fuels is impacting our environment, infrastructure, and our health. Minnesota has long been a leader in clean energy, but partisan gridlock in recent years has hindered attempts to combat climate change.
This Thursday, the House DFL majority passed the 100% by 2040 bill, a landmark piece of legislation to help our state address climate change head-on and prepare for a carbon-free future. Action at the state level is urgently needed to help the U.S. meet our climate goals. This legislation would require the state’s utilities to use entirely carbon-free sources for electricity production by 2040. This would put us on track with over 20 other states having also adopted similar goals.
Not only is this legislation critical to protecting our climate, but it also makes economic sense. Wind power is the cheapest form of electricity, and producing solar energy is cheaper than building new fossil fuel plants or importing fossil fuels from other states. This bill ensures we remove barriers to setting up carbon-free and renewable power sources and invest in jobs right here in Minnesota. I was proud to cast my vote in support of the 100% by 2040 bill on the House floor and will continue working to address and combat climate change this session.
Federal Tax Conformity
My colleagues and I worked quickly to pass a bill to update Minnesota’s tax code into conformity with federal law. This will result in over $100 million in tax cuts to a wide range of Minnesotans while simplifying future tax filings. This efficient and unified action is just the beginning of an effective legislative session under House DFL leadership. I’m encouraged the legislation passed unanimously!
By passing this bill within the first two weeks of session, the Department of Revenue will be able to incorporate these measures in time for this year’s tax filing season. While we moved swiftly to pass this bill, it doesn’t end our discussions at the Capitol about taxes. There are a lot of ideas out there, especially to help young families, homeowners and renters, and Minnesota seniors, and as the session progresses, we will take a hard look at these solutions.
Keep in Touch
Please continue to reach out anytime if you need assistance or have questions at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-296-4192. You can also follow my Facebook page.
Rep. Ruth Richardson
Minnesota House of Representatives