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

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Fighting to Honor Workers

Friday, February 25, 2022

Beloved Community,

Minneapolis and St. Paul teachers recently voted to go on strike to demand fair wages and improved mental health resources. Our students deserve the highest quality education possible and a safe environment where they can learn and receive necessary mental health guidance. I stand with our education professionals and hope they receive the resources they need to educate our children properly.

The three police officers who participated in the murder of George Floyd were found guilty this week. This is the right ruling and it’s important that these officers are held accountable. But we have seen repeatedly that failure to change the greater system will lead to more death. We must continue to fight for true justice and peace.

Housing Stability for Families
The House Early Childhood Committee passed a bill that would expand the Homework Starts with Home program to children under 5 and their families. Almost half of the people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota are children or young adults. Children who experience homelessness or housing instability are more likely to face barriers to academic success, such as chronic absenteeism, changing schools, and learning difficulties. Since homelessness disproportionately impacts students of color and LGBTQ students, these additional barriers can exacerbate existing disparities and widen the opportunity gap.

This week in the Preventing Homelessness Division we heard a couple bills to address youth homelessness, including critical bills to support efforts to fight human trafficking. We must stand up for this most vulnerable portion of our society if we are to break cycles of poverty which lead to homelessness. I encourage you to watch the informative meeting here.

Affordable Housing for All

I have heard from many of you that housing affordability is a major concern. The House DFL is proposing major investments in housing to solve this crisis. We’re proposing to build more homes Minnesotans can afford, save the affordable homes we already have, provide pathways to home ownership and out of homelessness, and ensure landlords and renters are made whole. We have a golden opportunity this session to invest in solutions to create more housing options and lower costs throughout the state, which will in turn create more economic opportunity for families, businesses, and our state’s future.

Housing 1
Housing 2

No-Knock Warrant Limits

On Friday, the Public Safety committee advanced a bill to severely limit the use of “no-knock warrants.” This legislation is in response to the tragic death of Amir Locke, which reinforced that these warrants can put residents and officers in great danger. They are also largely unnecessary, though Minneapolis has requested dozens in the last few years.

Frontline Worker Pay

This week the Minnesota House passed the frontline worker bonus pay legislation HF 2900, which appropriates $1 billion for bonus payments to at least 667,000 frontline workers. The frontline worker bonus pay legislation builds upon the efforts of last year’s working group on this issue, and invests $1 billion in order to meaningfully recognize the Minnesotans who have worked on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Eligible workers would receive payments of up to $1,500.

Frontline Workers

In order to receive a bonus check, workers must meet the following individual eligibility requirements:

  • was employed in one of the frontline sectors in MN for at least 120 hours from 3/15/20 to 6/30/21
  • was not able to work remotely due to the nature of their work, and worked in close proximity to other individuals (not in the same household);
  • meet income restrictions. For workers providing direct care to COVID patients, max income is $350,000 (joint filers) and $175,000 (single). For all other workers, the limits are $185,000 (joint) and $85,000 (single); and
  • did not collect more than 20 weeks of unemployment benefits from 3/15/20 to 6/30/21.

Keep In Touch

As always, feel free to reach out with any feedback or questions you have for me! I always appreciate working in partnership with you. You can also follow me on my Facebook page. Everything is moving quickly right now so be sure to stay connected.

In solidarity,

Aisha Gomez