I hope you and your loved ones are enjoying the beautiful spring weather!
At the Legislature, we’re working hard on a new state budget. House DFLers are fighting for a budget that meets the needs of all Minnesotans, especially those who were hit hardest by the pandemic or struggling before it began. We know investing in priorities like education, healthcare, and economic security will help people and communities rebuild and thrive for many years to come. We’ll continue fighting for these critical investments.
We’re still working on many of the issues I’ve covered in previous emails, including public safety, housing, taxes, and health and human services, but we haven’t yet reached a broad, bipartisan consensus. I will keep you updated once we have more clarity on these topics. This week, however, I’m going to focus on the groundbreaking legislation we passed last night.
Legalizing Adult-Use Cannabis
Yesterday was a historic day in our state legislature! For the first time, Minnesota lawmakers voted on and approved a bill that would legalize cannabis for adult use. I had the opportunity to be on the House floor to cast my vote and speak in support of the bill. You can watch the speech I gave here.
I support this bill because our current cannabis laws are doing more harm than good and perpetuating racial inequality. Despite similar usage rates, Black Minnesotans are more than five times more likely to be arrested for cannabis possession than white Minnesotans. Legalizing adult-use cannabis and expunging the records of people convicted of nonviolent, cannabis-related offenses would help address these disparities.
Enforcing low-level cannabis offenses requires a significant amount of time and resources. Legalization would allow law enforcement to focus on more serious issues. It would also make it easier and more affordable for Minnesotans living with chronic pain, PTSD, and other serious health issues – including many veterans – to get the care they need. The bill we passed would create a responsibly regulated cannabis market and address concerns about youth access, public health, and road safety. While it passed in the House with bipartisan support, it’s expected to face obstacles in the Republican-led Senate.
Statewide Mask Requirement Ends
The CDC announced yesterday that fully vaccinated individuals – people who received their final vaccine dose two or more weeks ago – no longer need to wear masks. In response, Gov. Walz announced he would lift the statewide mask requirement. Starting today, Minnesotans will no longer be required to wear masks indoors or outdoors.
Since many young people aren’t eligible for the vaccine yet, masks will still be required in schools and child care settings. Masks will also be needed in medical settings, on public transportation, and in businesses or cities that choose to keep requiring them. If you’re unvaccinated, scientists strongly recommend continuing to wear a mask. Please enjoy our progress while staying mindful, careful, and considerate of others.
It’s an honor to represent you. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or feedback.