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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Jessica Hanson (DFL)

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Legislative Update - February 3, 2023

Friday, February 3, 2023

Dear Neighbors,

It has been a productive few weeks at the Capitol. We are united and moving effectively and efficiently on our priorities to improve the lives of Minnesotans.

Our Progress

We’ve passed HF1, the Protecting Reproductive Options Act! This bill enshrines the fundamental right to reproductive health care in law. The Senate passed the bill last Friday evening, and Governor Walz has signed it into law by Gov. Walz. I was proud to vote for this bill and thank my DFL colleagues for their support for one of Minnesotans’ top priorities. 

Last week, the House DFL majority passed the 100% Clean Electricity by 2040 bill, a landmark piece of legislation that will help our state address climate change head-on and prepare for a carbon-free future. This legislation would require that the state’s utilities use entirely carbon-free sources for electricity production by 2040. This would put us on track with over 20 other states that have also adopted similar goals.

We also passed the “Driver’s Licenses for All” bill, allowing our undocumented neighbors to obtain a driver’s license. All of us deserve to be safe when we’re driving to work, dropping our kids off at school, picking up groceries, or going to the doctor. Until 2003, everyone could get a driver’s license. Having all of our neighbors pass a driving exam if they want to drive ensures that motorists have a common understanding of the rules of the road, can safely operate a vehicle, and can obtain insurance. This bill will make us all safer on the roads. Read about the bill from a local angle here.

I have heard directly from constituents all over Savage and Burnsville that we must take action on reproductive freedom, climate change, and a more equitable Minnesota. We heard you, and I look forward to more action on these both fronts this session. Here I am with some students from the South Metro advocating for 100% clean energy.

Further, I was proud to vote for and see the House pass a bill to make Juneteenth a state holiday. Juneteenth commemorates the liberation of African American freedom and emphasizes education and achievement. By learning from our past we can better address the harmful racial disparities of the present and build a state that is more inclusive and more just. Establishing Juneteenth as a state holiday is an important step forward on the long road to justice. We must continue to learn as a state and nation about the nuances of the Black diaspora while uplifting and affirming the experiences of Black Minnesotans. 

Lastly, this week the House passed the Restore the Vote bill. Voting is a cornerstone of a healthy democracy, and it ensures that citizens have a voice in decisions that impact their lives. Twenty-one states automatically restore voting rights after incarceration ends, including Red States like North Dakota and Blue States like Illinois. Restoring voting rights is an equity issue and a racial justice issue. Black Minnesotans account for 20% of those ineligible to vote, but make up just 4% of the state’s voting-age population. Indigenous Minnesotans are less than 1% of the voting-age population but are almost 7% of those ineligible to vote. Hispanic Minnesotans are 2.5% of the voting-age population but 6% of those with voting rights withheld. I was proud to vote for this bill and ensure formerly incarcerated Minnesotans are able to fully participate in our society. 

Local Angle

I presented two bills that will directly affect our communities in Savage and Burnsville. 

Firstly, I presented HF 180, to create a fund transfer for ISD 191 that moves general funds into their education budget. Our community has struggled through our school district's difficult decision to close schools. During that process, buildings were sold and the funds from the sale are limited to capital expenditure. Through the terrific advocacy from Superintendent Dr. Teresa Battle, we heard this bill to redirect those funds directly into our kids’ education by allowing local control to make these critical decisions. I thank other local Reps. Berg, Reyer, and Tabke for co-authoring the bill and the House Education Finance Committee for hearing the bill. You can see my and Dr. Battle’s testimony here.

Second, I presented HF 246, to lift the moratorium on the Dan Patch Rail Line and another rail line in Rochester. There has been a local movement to remove this moratorium so we can discuss and potentially study how this existing infrastructure could be used. To be clear, this bill only lifts the moratorium. This is important because the moratorium acts as a gag order, making it illegal for local and state governments to discuss the Dan Patch Rail Line entirely. I’m glad to say that the bill passed the House Sustainable Infrastructure Committee and now heads to the Transportation Committee. You can view the bill presentation here. The southwest metro is one of the fastest-growing areas of our state. I believe we should put all options on the table when it comes to infrastructure and transportation for our communities and return those decisions to the local level. We have been left out of these decisions to connect us to opportunities around the metro in the past. I’m committed to putting our needs at the center of this debate. (Also, we had some local advocates at the Capitol too.)

Beyond Bullying Bill

I’m bringing back our Beyond Bullying Bill to be heard in the House again this year. You’ll remember a slew of high-profile racist bullying incidents in Minnesota last year, including a particular incident in our own backyard that went viral on the internet. In response to that, I partnered with the Minnesota Justice Coalition and Minnesota Teen Activists to make our schools a more safe and more welcoming learning environment for all Minnesota students, no matter their race, religion, gender, sexuality, or disability. 

I’m glad that my bill was heard by the House Education Policy Committee and now awaits possible inclusion in a future omnibus bill.

Redistricting Update

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Stay in Touch

If you have questions, ideas, or feedback that you’d like to share, please don’t hesitate to reach out. You can email me at or call (651) 296-4212. For more regular updates, you can subscribe to these regular legislative updates if you haven’t already, here, and you can also “like” and follow my official State Representative Facebook page.


Jess Hanson

State Representative