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Legislative Update- March 19, 2024

Tuesday, March 19, 2024
Rep. Xiong

Greetings Eastsiders!

My apologies that you’re receiving this update today, and not Saturday- it’s been a busy couple of weeks as we wrap up our work ahead of committee deadlines, dedicating our efforts to passing legislation that grows the middle class, strengthens our communities, and makes life more affordable for our Eastside families. I recently had the chance to appear on the Hmong American Weekly show to talk about the $125 million in investments we passed last year and how they’re helping our Eastside small businesses now. You can watch the clip by clicking on the image below. 

American Hmong Weekly Show


Here’s a look at what we’re working on in the Minnesota House:

Expanding Access to Affordable, High-Quality Health Care


All Minnesotans deserve to live healthy lives with economic security, and DFLers at the Capitol are committed to expanding access to affordable, quality health care. Unfortunately, too many Minnesotans currently can’t afford health insurance or have health insurance they can’t afford to use. Working families without employer-based insurance often face outrageous premiums and other out-of-pocket costs. For instance, many plans on the individual market have annual deductibles of $7,000 or higher. This puts Minnesotans in an impossible predicament, which leads to people avoiding care and results in poor health outcomes – sometimes with tragic consequences.

One plan to solve this problem impacting middle-class Minnesotans is the MinnesotaCare Public Option. It would allow all Minnesotans to access comprehensive health insurance coverage – with vision, dental, and more – with low out-of-pocket costs and a large network of quality medical providers. People enrolled in the Public Option would pay their own premiums – with significantly lower prices than what’s available currently on the individual market – determined on a sliding scale based on income.

MinnesotaCare has been a nation-leading, highly successful, and trusted health insurance program serving low-income working Minnesotans for over 30 years. The bill creating a MinnesotaCare Public Option – which would expand affordable health insurance to thousands of more Minnesotans – is advancing through the committee process in the House. 


House Approves 101 Environmental Projects 

Minnesotans take pride in our legacy of environmental stewardship, which is why DFLers passed legislation earlier this month to fund 101 projects across our state that protect our wildlife, water, air, and soil. 


The funding, which comes from the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund, uses a portion of our state lottery proceeds to ensure our environment and natural resources are protected for generations to come.


Economic Security for Striking Union Members

Last week, the House Workforce Development Committee, which I chair, discussed legislation that would allow union members to access Unemployment Insurance while on strike. This is a nation-leading piece of legislation comes on the heels of a new report that found in 2023 there were 451 strikes nationwide, compared to 414 in 2022 and 270 in 2021. The report also showed the average CEO-to-worker pay ratio is now 344:1, compared to 21:1 in 1965. By allowing Minnesotan workers who are striking to access unemployment insurance, this bill will create a more level playing field between corporations and workers.


Connected to Community

I appreciate it when our SEIU neighbors from the Eastside visit and share their personal experiences with me. Their stories are always enlightening and serve as a powerful reminder of why I do this work and the importance of community and solidarity.



I had a fantastic time catching up with VajZeng, a fellow Eastsider and former student of mine who is now a young leader making a difference. He held a family fundraiser to support the Lee community recently at our Eastside's Cups-N-Cheers, and it was a huge success.



The Harding Senior High School Auditorium is now the JoAnn Clark Auditorium after a dedication ceremony was held recently during the annual Thinking Career and College Early Fair. Ms. Clark has served St. Paul Public Schools for 35 years as a volunteer in a variety of ways. Thank you, JoAnn, for your service and your love for our students. Our community is a better place because of your work. 

The Thinking Career and College Early Fair is designed to help youth in grades 6 through 12 understand and look forward to their options after high school. There were more than 70 representatives present from colleges, technical education and trades, and community organizations. SPPS counselors, school and department staff were also there to answer questions and be of assistance.

School Celebration at Harding


I had the pleasure of meeting with Karen leaders from the Karen Organization of Minnesota, who have made their home on the east side. They shared valuable insights about their various career programs for youth and adults. I look forward to supporting their pathway programs.

Karen organizers


I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Rachel Herring, a fellow Eastside resident and distinguished professor at Century College. Her remarkable leadership in championing workforce development and language accessibility is truly admirable!

Ms. Herring


I had a great conversation with Eagle Lee, a Hmong sister who is making a tangible impact on the east side by advocating for early childhood education.

Eagle Lee


My neighbor Shannon drops by every year to remind me of the urgent need to address kidney disease and the flaws in our healthcare system. Her personal story is a powerful reminder of the impact of these issues on real people. I am grateful for her advocacy and commitment to making a difference.

Neighbor and Rep. Xiong


It's always great to catch up with leaders on the Eastside who are driving real change. Together, we're working tirelessly to forge new and exciting career paths for Minnesotans.

Constituents advocating for strong career paths


Keep in Touch

Please continue contacting me anytime at or by calling my office at 651-296-4201. Your input and questions are important to me- feel free to reach out anytime.

Thank you for the honor of representing our Eastside neighbors in the capital city!

In solidarity,

Jay Xiong
State Representative 

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