As our required adjournment date of Monday, May 17 approaches, we’re working to reach agreement on a new state budget. House DFLers have continued fighting for important investments that would help Minnesotans emerge from the pandemic and thrive after it ends. Investing in the things we all value – like education, healthcare, and economic security – will help make Minnesota a strong and equitable state where everybody has the opportunity to succeed.
Clean Cars Update
Minnesota will be the 15th state in the nation and the first one in the Midwest to adopt clean cars standards! Thousands of people submitted written comments or spoke in support of this rule after Governor Walz directed the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) to develop it in 2019. Last week, a judge ruled that the MPCA has the authority to enact it. When the standards takes effect, automobile manufacturers will be required to produce more cars that emit lower amounts of greenhouse gases and other pollutants.
This is a huge step forward because transportation is the largest source of Minnesota’s greenhouse gas emissions. Estimates indicate that by 2030, clean car standards could reduce our annual emissions by two million tons. The standards will give Minnesotans more access to low-emission and zero-emission vehicles like electric vehicles and hybrids. People who purchase them will save money on gas and maintenance, and all of us will benefit from having more clean cars on the road because they reduce air pollution as well as greenhouse gas emissions.
Preventing Unnecessary Encounters with Police
Last week, the House passed my bill to reduce the number of occasions where police take people into custody and lower the temperature of these interactions whenever possible. Under current law, judges often issue arrest warrants for Minnesotans who miss court appearances, even if that individual didn’t get a notice and doesn’t know about the court date. It’s unnecessary and a poor use of law enforcement resources.
I authored commonsense legislation to address this issue after Daunte Wright was killed by police. My bill allows judges to issue sign and release warrants instead of arrest warrants for people who miss court appearances for certain low-level offenses. When police encounter people with these warrants, they give them a new court date instead of arresting them. This simple step could have a big impact in promoting safety for both officers and the public. It might have saved Mr. Wright’s life.
COVID-19 Restrictions Winding Down
Governor Walz recently announced a three-step plan to end most of Minnesota’s COVID-19 restrictions. Several capacity limits and distancing requirements were lifted last Thursday, when the first step took effect. The remaining capacity and distancing restrictions will end on May 28. The final step of the governor’s plan – ending the statewide mask requirement – will occur once 70 percent of Minnesotans who are 16 or older are vaccinated or on July 1, whichever comes first.
Since many young people aren’t eligible for the vaccine yet, the Safe Learning Plan will continue until the end of the year. The eviction moratorium, a ban on price gouging, and eligibility exemptions for those who receive state services will also stay in place to protect Minnesotans.
If you haven’t been vaccinated yet, you should check out the COVID-19 Vaccine Connector. It can help you find opportunities to get the vaccine in your area. Many locations in our community are now accepting walk-ins as well.
Please continue sharing questions or feedback and let me know if I can be of assistance. You can reach me at email@example.com or 651-296-5375.