Skip to main content Skip to office menu Skip to footer
Capital IconMinnesota Legislature

Legislative News and Views - Rep. Athena Hollins (DFL)

Back to profile

Legislative Update: Coffee Hour Saturday! Also many other things

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a Web page.

Hollins header

Dear neighbors,

Thank you for your engagement with me on the issues that matter the most to you. I’m honored to be serving an active and diverse district. Please continue to communicate to me how you’re feeling about work at the state legislature; you can even just reply to this email!


Join me for a coffee chat on Saturday!

This Saturday from 10:00am-11:00am, I’ll be holding a virtual space for neighbors to chat about legislative issues and connections to state resources. Please email to RSVP!

Help me spread the word by sharing the Facebook event with your neighbors!



House Capital Investment committee focuses on BIPOC needs

Today, the House Capital Investment Committee heard a series of bills based on funding equity-focused projects for marginalized groups and communities throughout the Twin Cities. The hearing builds upon previous efforts by the DFL-led committee to include BIPOC and underserved communities that have often been excluded from state investment. 

“Minnesota has a great need for a robust capital investment bill this year, a need that’s even more prevalent in our Black, Indigenous, and communities of color that historically haven’t received the same attention from state funds,” said Rep. Fue Lee (DFL - Minneapolis), chair of the committee. “Our committee is focused on crafting a bill that every Minnesotan can benefit from, regardless of race or region, and it’s imperative we take advantage of this opportune moment to deliver meaningful, equitable investments for our state.”

You can find a video of the hearing here.



Increase Access and Transparency within the Minnesota PUC

I was happy to work with the Citizens Utility Board to present a proposal today to the Climate and Energy committee that would expand the ability for Minnesota nonprofits, tribal governments and residents to engage in Public Utilities Commission proceedings. The biggest criticism that the Commission has faced in recent years is that the work around the Line 3 permit was not transparent or accessible.

As a quasi-judicial agency, evidence offered in Public Utilities Commission proceedings needs to be developed based on substantiated arguments. To effectively represent constituents in those proceedings, public interest organizations need to advance positions based on Commission precedent, administrative rules, and statutes. In order to develop a comprehensive record, inclusive of low-income households, residential customers and other public interests, it is essential that the Commission consider a range of perspectives and expertise.

This bill promotes equitable access to the PUC’s process for establishing utility rates and energy-related practices and policies by ensuring that financial resources are available to appear on behalf of underrepresented communities and constituencies.



Weatherization Assistance Program

An adage about Minnesota is that the weather’s not bad, if you’re dressed for it. The same could be said about residences. Extra attention is required in a state where the winters can be bitter, the summers hot and humid. And if shortcomings in insulation and efficient heating and ventilation aren’t addressed, energy bills can be way higher than they need be.

That’s where the weatherization process comes in, which is designed to make investments that will save money once implemented.

So what could help the state’s program catch up? Several testifiers in committee said it needs stable, flexible funding, a larger workforce, and a way to serve the state’s households without getting bogged down in federal restrictions. Our proposal would put state money forward to allow grants for pre-weatherization, make the weatherization of multi-family homes easier, and foster workforce development in the fields of pre-weatherization and weatherization services.



Ban Harmful Chemicals

This week, the House Preventive Health Division heard proposals from Rep. Ami Wazlawik (DFL-White Bear Lake) and Rep. Carlie Kotyza-Witthun (DFL-Eden Prairie) to regulate use of harmful PFAS chemicals in cookware, skiing equipment, and children’s products. The health outcomes when PFAS gets into our bodies are terrifying, especially when we consider the effects on our children.

PFAS contamination is affecting communities and costing taxpayers money now. We can and should be a leader in preventing further human exposure and environmental contamination by banning the use of PFAS in these products.

You can read more about this issue here. You can find a video of the hearing here.



Hometown Heroes Assistance

Last week, the House passed a bill to update the Hometown Heroes Assistance Program. Our  firefighters face alarmingly high incidences of cancer, cardiac issues, and emotional trauma. The new program, which lawmakers enacted last year, provides firefighters access to education, prevention, and care to address cardiac conditions, emotional trauma or cancer diagnoses. The Hometown Heroes Assistance Program is the most comprehensive in the nation of its kind, and provides firefighters with free access to emotional trauma resources, up-to-$20,000 from critical illness insurance policies, and ongoing health and wellness training.

Prior to the program’s enactment, Minnesota was ranked 45th out of 50 states when it comes to investing in the fire service. I was proud to support this initiative for the heroes in our communities who make incredible sacrifices to keep us safe.



Keep in touch!

Public hearings are a great opportunity to learn and participate in the legislative process. All of them are live streamed on one of the House webcast channels, and you can view the agenda and materials that legislators receive on each committee’s webpage. If you can’t catch a hearing live, they’re usually uploaded to House Public Information Service’s YouTube channel later that day. I encourage you to check out the hearing schedule and get involved!  

For any questions you have on the resources available to our community or our work in the Minnesota House, please feel free to contact my legislative assistant Sonia Romero at or 651-296-4307. 

In Solidarity, 

Athena Hollins

Minnesota State Representative (House District 66B)