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

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Legislative Update 03.03.2023

Friday, March 3, 2023

Dear Neighbors,  

Since the beginning of the legislative session, my colleagues and I have been working diligently to advance Minnesota toward a more just and inclusive state. I am excited to share with you all the amazing work that is happening at the Capitol. 

 Conversion Therapy Ban  

I am incredibly proud that we voted to ban the harmful practice of conversion therapy last night. We need to affirm and celebrate all youth no matter their identity. Thank you to all the courageous advocates in the queer community who fought relentlessly to end this hateful practice. It is because of your relentless advocacy and determination that Minnesota will finally ban this dangerous and discredited practice. 

 Senate Votes to Pass Restore the Vote Legislation 

While I was disappointed by the court’s ruling that our current laws of disenfranchisement are constitutional, it was an affirmation that the legislature needs to set the standard for reinstating people and their inclusion in our shared democracy. The Senate passed the ‘Restore the Vote’ legislation to solidify the message that our state cares about the restoration of the basic dignity that comes with the right to vote. As we reflect on our history as a state and nation, we must acknowledge that voter disenfranchisement has been used as a tool to limit and restrict historically underserved and marginalized communities' participation in the political process. I am proud of Senator Bobby Joe Champion and Minnesota DFLers for making it clear, voting is not a privilege for some, it is a right for everyone. There were some amendments to the RTV legislation in which the bill had to be sent back to the House.  

Last night, my DFL colleagues also voted to concur with the Senate on the “Restore the Vote” version of the legislation.  

Pathway Home Act 

Last night, I voted ‘YES’ to pass the Pathway Home Act. The legislation significantly increases funding to critical state programs that support shelter providers across Minnesota in their direct response and service to Minnesotans who are currently unsheltered. The Pathway Home Act invests $150 million through 2028 to create new brick-and-mortar shelters throughout Minnesota to ensure more people can receive services and housing regardless of their background or zip code.    

The Pathway Home Act offers a strong foundation for the transformative work we continue to do to keep our future generations of Minnesotans housed. Minnesotans deserve equitable access to housing services and support systems in their communities.  

Sick and Safe Time 

I voted for sick and safe time for all workers in Minnesota. Everyone deserves the chance to rest and recover when they need to. I'm proud to support a bill which puts everyday workers first! It is inevitable that we all get sick or need to care for a loved one who is ill. As legislators, we should never put Minnesotans in a situation where they need to choose between their family and their paycheck.  

Catalytic Converter Theft 

On Monday, February 20, I voted ‘YES’ for House File HF 30. The bill seeks to crack down on the theft of catalytic converters by prohibiting anyone from possessing a used, unattached catalytic converter unless the owner has the vehicle identification number (VIN) for the vehicle, and the date the converter was removed from the vehicle. It prohibits the sale and purchase of catalytic converters by anyone other than registered scrap metal dealers and would impose a fine of up to $1,000 for unlawful possession and sale. 

Minnesota ranks in the top five for catalytic cover thefts. In November of 2022, a federal takedown of a catalytic converter theft ring of over a half-billion dollars included more than a dozen search warrants across Minnesota. It’s going to take all levels of government working together to address this issue, and our bill puts us on the right path. 

Office of Missing and Murdered Black Women and Girls 

On Monday, February 20, I also voted ‘YES’ for House File 55, which would create an Office of Missing and Murdered Black Women and Girls. I voted YES because families of Black families experience a lack of urgency from our public institutions when Black women and girls are reported missing. This new office will set strong standards for promptly sending alerts and supporting the community members closest to the pain of not knowing what happened to a missing family member or loved one. 

Modeled after the Office of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Relatives, the bill would enact recommendations in the December 2022 report of the Missing and Murdered African American Women Task Force and would be dedicated to preventing and ending the targeting of violence against Black women and girls. 

Universal Free Meals 

We passed a bill to provide free school meals for all students! We pride ourselves on our strong education system, but with 1 in 6 students trying to learn on an empty stomach we are not living up to our values. We have the resources to prevent student hunger and it’s our duty to step up and provide the food security families need and the high-quality education our children deserve. Children learn better when they are nourished and have the resources they need to successfully engage in their classroom.  

Child Care and Early Learning 

I voted with all my DFL colleagues to pass a pair of bills to deliver investments to stabilize childcare and early learning in the state. HF 13, would increase the maximum rates for all childcare assistance (CCAP)-eligible children from the 30th or 40th percentile to the 75th percentile of the most recent survey of provider rates. A review of state rates shows that Minnesota is currently near the bottom. The rate change would apply to Minnesota children of all ages.   

The second bill, HF 150, delivers $12.25 million in emergency investment in childcare stabilization grants. It also includes $40 million in early learning scholarships, with expanding eligibility to start at birth, rather than the current age of three. This will provide early learning and care to an estimated 4,000 additional children.  

The 2021 Legislature established the childcare provider stabilization grant program for monthly base grants to help providers stay open and continue to provide care and learning. 70% of the funds go directly to compensate childcare workers. But the size of the payments is currently scheduled to drop in half starting in March, threatening the fragile stability of providers. HF 150 would reverse this cut. 

Video of the floor debate can be viewed on the House Public Information’s YouTube Channel

 Keep in Touch 

Please continue to reach out anytime if you need assistance or have questions at or 651-296-4224. You can also follow my official Facebook page.  

In community, 

Rep. Athena Hollins 

Minnesota House of Representatives 

Legislative Assistant: 

Abdullahi Abdullahi