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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Hodan Hassan (DFL)

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Legislative Update - March 28, 2019

Thursday, March 28, 2019

As the weather gets warmer and the days get longer, the evenings at the Capitol go later into the night as we work to pass legislation to help Minnesota families.
Communication access one of the most important and yet most overlooked tools that people use to find housing, connect with potential employers, and coordinate social services. Without a phone or communication device, it’s nearly impossible to grow toward independence.
I’ve introduced and moved through the Housing Committee a bill to provide free voicemail services for homeless and low-income people throughout Minnesota. Everyone deserves reliable and consistent communication to help their search for affordable housing and a good job. The service will give recipients a phone number and allow them to connect to voice mail from any phone, anywhere. You can read more about that bill and my hearing here.

I also introduced a bill to expand eligibility for expungement of eviction record when it’s no longer a predictor of a tenant’s future behavior because too often one encounter with the law ruins a person’s chances at getting a good job and finding affordable, secure housing.
Mental Health
The lack of mental health services for families in our country is dangerous and inequitable. Any conversation we have about health care should include access to mental health treatment. Nearly one in five adults experience mental illness, and yet lack of access is still at the very root of the problem. My bill to help support a treatment center coming to our community is going through House committees. The bill would help construct a Family Tree Clinic to help low-income, LGBTQ, and the deaf and hard of hearing get the mental health support they need.
Stopping the Opioid Crisis
More than 400 Minnesotans died of opioid overdose in 2017 alone. That’s why I voted in favor of legislation to hold Big Pharma accountable for their role in creating this crisis. Minnesotans shouldn’t have to foot the bill for the tragedy that these companies have caused for our families and our state. The legislation would support a wide range of addiction prevention, education, intervention, treatment and recovery strategies.
You can read more from MPR here.

Safety on the Roads 
Distracted driving is a contributing factor in one in five car crashes. In Minnesota, it causes an average of 53 deaths and 216 serious injuries every year. Last week, the Minnesota legislature passed hands-free driving legislation which would require drivers to put down their phones and focus on the road. Yesterday, the Senate passed a similar version.
Sixteen other states and Washington, D.C. have hands-free cell phone laws. According to WCCO, crashes and fatalities on the road decrease when states have hands-free cell phone laws on the books, and it’s no mystery why. A driver who looks down for five seconds while driving 55 MPH has already gone the length of a football field. Minnesotans deserve to be safe on our roads.
Read more from MPR here and the Star Tribune here.
Child Care Assistance
For months, House and Senate Republicans have used unsubstantiated talking points to attack our communities. They used a false report as a tool to demonize a whole community, using fear mongering tactics to falsely claim misuse of funds in the Child Care Assistance Program.   
Recently, a nonpartisan report found that their allegations were false. Republicans have claimed that the Child Care Assistance Program -- a program that helps thousands of Minnesotans afford to go to their jobs and get training they need to build a better life -- was used for terrorism and $100 million in misuse of funds. I agree that any amount of wrongdoing should be looked into and stopped, but that is no excuse for the GOP to use child care to launch thinly-veiled Islamophobic attacks on our communities. I’m grateful for the report and for the Legislative Auditor’s thorough review of these fraudulent allegations.
As always, if you want to discuss something, don’t hesitate to reach me by email at and phone at 651-296-0294.


Hodan Hassan
State Representative – District 62A