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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Aisha Gomez (DFL)

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Legislative Update - March 15, 2019

Friday, March 15, 2019

My Dear Community,
I’m so grateful to all of the community members who have driven to St. Paul to spend time at the Capitol for the last five committee stops of the Freedom to Drive bill, and those who have been here for the last 16 years.

Without driver’s licenses, tens of thousands of Minnesotans can’t reliably get to their jobs, to school, pick up their kids, or get to the doctor. Often, in order to fully participate in civic life, those without licenses have no choice but to drive, endangering themselves and public safety. All Minnesotans used to be able to get their license without fear of deportation, until Gov. Tim Pawlenty changed the rule in 2003.
Minnesotans shouldn’t have to fear being permanently separated from their families for something as basic and necessary as driving themselves to work. It’s time to allow more people to get drivers’ licenses, to reduce the number of uninsured drivers and make our roads safer and more equitable.

Equal Rights Amendment
Last week the DFL-led Minnesota House voted to pass the Equal Rights Amendment bill. It’s up to the Republican-led Senate to pass it now – if they do, there will be a question on the 2020 ballot asking voters to weigh in on whether they believe gender equality should be added as a permanent guarantee under our state constitution. I’m proud of our DFL caucus for rejecting transphobia and passing a question that will protect people of all genders. Fairness is a fundamental value to Minnesotans. Out state constitution should reflect that. Equality should not be taken for granted. 

 Sexual violence
Sexual violence victims often have no recourse once they’ve come to terms with their assault. Yesterday I presented my bill to repeal the statute of limitations on these crimes in its first committee hearing. The pain and suffering of survivors of sexual violence doesn’t end when the statute of limitations is up. The arbitrary dates set by the state only suppress the stories of survivors. We need to make a change and ensure anyone can come forward after experiencing trauma.

Click here to watch KMSP’s report on yesterday’s sexual violence committee hearing

Working Family Tax Credit 
Minnesota needs a progressive tax policy that favors hard-working families and raises revenue to make the investments that we need, by asking the rich to pay their fair share. I know that for many families when that tax refund comes, it goes towards tuition, to an unexpected doctor’s visit, repairs to the family car, or just to help keep the heat on. I’m working with Rep. Brand and Rep. Loeffler to introduce a package of progressive working family tax credits, so that when that check comes it can help with a little more.
Together, the three bills we introduced would increase credits for low-income people with and without children. These targeted tax credit programs have been proven to deliver benefits to struggling families who need it most, especially single mothers and children. These are tools we can use that are proven to lift Minnesotans out of poverty and improve health outcomes.
Read more here.
Closing the Revolving Door
Too many legislators turn their public service into profit – turning around after retirement from governing, to lobby their former colleagues. The state government should be accountable to you, the voters, not to lobbyists who get special access. I’ve introduced a bill to prohibit former legislators from lobbying the legislature for two years after leaving office.
Health Outcome Disparities 
Minnesota’s disparity between babies born to African American and Native moms, and those born to white moms, is one of the worst in the country. These disparities persist regardless of income, education, or location. Culturally competent doulas can help.
I am a co-author of a bill authored by Rep. Alice Mann to raise the medical assistance reimbursement for doulas. I’m also the chief author on a bill to allocate money to a culturally competent doula program focusing on people of color and Indigenous families.

Thanks to Doula Tonja Honsey and Executive Director of Ahavah BirthWorks, Clara Sharp for their advocacy 

This is just a short overview of the bills I’m working on – you can see a list of all the bills I’ve authored and co-authored here. And as always, please reach out with questions or comments.
Be well,
Aisha Gomez