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

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Legislative Update from Rep. Hodan Hassan

Friday, February 10, 2023

Friends and neighbors, 

It’s been a busy couple of weeks in Saint Paul as we’ve made big strides of progress for Minnesotans. But first, some exciting news about a new addition to our streets.  


Welcoming Blizzo 

All the “Rumors” are true... The people of Minnesota have spoken, and heading out into the streets this winter is our “Special” newly named metro area snow plow, Blizzo.  

Around this time of year, we’re all wishing for spring. Unfortunately, the “Truth Hurts” -- we have a little longer to wait until the snow stops flying. Luckily, Blizzo will be out on the streets trailblazing a path for those behind her. 

Addressing Food Insecurity  

Last night, the Minnesota House voted to pass two important bills aimed at addressing food insecurity in our schools and community. HF 5 would create a state program for schools to provide up to two free meals per day to all students, and HF 213 would provide an investment of $5 million for food shelf programs in light of record numbers of visits to food shelves last year.  

Too many families are struggling to meet basic needs, with black and brown communities being hit the hardest. Nobody in Minnesota should have to worry about where their next meal is coming from or choose between paying for groceries and paying rent. Addressing food insecurity both in schools and at home is vital to ensuring a safe and healthy community, but it’s just one piece of the puzzle. We have more work to do, and DFLers are taking swift action to lift up struggling families and ensure all Minnesotans can live and thrive here. 


Driver’s Licenses for All 

Last week, the House passed Driver’s Licenses for All off the floor. The rotunda was absolutely electric as people rejoiced, their lives one step closer to drastically changing for the better.  

The opportunity to earn a driver’s license is a human right, and a necessity for all of our communities to be safe commuting and traveling on our roads. It’s time to allow all Minnesotans to earn a driver's license – regardless of documentation status.    


Restoring Voting Rights & Recognizing Juneteenth 

As we begin Black History Month, I want to highlight two bills that we passed last week. We passed the Restore the Vote Act, which would restore voting rights to individuals convicted of a felony upon completion of any incarceration imposed and executed by a court for the offense.  

Restoring voting rights is both an equity issue and a racial justice issue. In Minnesota, 20% of those deemed ineligible to vote are black, while black Minnesotans of voting age make up just 4% of the population.  

We also passed a bill to officially declare Juneteenth a state holiday, which was swiftly signed into law by Governor Walz. 

I’m glad we were able to move both of these bills forward as we begin Black History Month. This is just the beginning of the work we are committed to doing to rectify racial disparities in Minnesota. 

This month, people across the country will celebrate and recognize Black History Month in many different ways. Here in Saint Paul, it is me and my colleagues’ responsibility to work towards economic equality for black and brown communities, so that all Minnesotans may live and thrive in our beautiful state.  

My pledge to you is to continue working towards things such as closing the wealth gap. Minnesota recently ranked third in the nation for the worst racial wealth gap, with only our neighbor, Wisconsin, and Washington D.C. being rated as worse off, coming in second and first place, respectively.  

I pledge to continue efforts to boost and encourage people of color to start small businesses, and to help black families overcome the redlining that is deeply engrained in our communities so that they can finally have a reasonable path towards homeownership to build generational wealth. 

With the DFL trifecta, I am hopeful that we will finally be able to work towards repairing some of the damage that black and brown communities have endured for generations.  


Lifting Up Small Businesses & Building Community Wealth 

Last week, legislation I authored that would establish a community wealth-building grant program was heard in the Economic Development Finance and Policy committee, which I chair. The bill, HF 318, would allow Minnesota small businesses to receive targeted, culturally and regionally specific technical assistance from an expert business advisor. It would also help institutions provide low interest loans to cooperatives, employee-owned businesses, and commercial land trusts that are at least 51 percent owned by people who are Black, Indigenous, People of Color, immigrants, low-income, women, veterans, or people with disabilities. The bill was laid over for consideration in a broader package of economic development legislation later this session. 

On Friday, I also attended the first-ever Black Entrepreneurs Day at the capitol, where Black small business owners met with legislators to discuss unique challenges they face & find ways to better build Black wealth in Minnesota. 


Prioritizing Education 

This session, DFLers have introduced many impactful bills aimed directly at helping improve and support Minnesota’s education system. I am the lead author on HF 320, which will strengthen the Teachers of Color Act so that diversity of Minnesota’s students is better reflected by those teaching in the classroom. Here are more exciting bills we're working on: 


There are a lot of exciting things on the horizon this session, so be sure to follow my Facebook page for timely updates.   

Please continue to share your questions, ideas, and feedback with me throughout the legislative session. You can reach me by email at You can contact my Legislative Assistant, Elijah, at 651-296-1761 or via email at  

I am incredibly honored to get to work for you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for trusting me with this honor.  


In solidarity,   

Rep. Hodan Hassan