Lots of great things have happened since I last wrote to you, and I can’t wait to tell you all about it. We’ve made historic progress this month in the legislature, and as you read this email you’ll notice a theme: we’re going to make Minnesota the best place to raise a family. We are putting our youngest Minnesotans first and making sure they have the tools and resources they need to live and thrive. As a father of two young daughters, brightening their future is what drives me every single day. I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve accomplished so far, honored to be a part of it, and excited for all the work still to come.
A Great Start for our Kids
Childcare is a center of life issue for every Minnesotan. I was proud to vote for HF 13 last night to support working families and childcare providers. You can see my remarks on the House floor here. A lack of access to affordable, accessible childcare for working families is one of the most pressing issues Minnesotans are facing. Additionally, with low reimbursement rates, childcare providers are struggling to offer competitive wages, and in some cases, even keep their doors open.
On Monday, the House passed a pair of bills with robust investments aimed at stabilizing childcare and early learning. HF 13 increases the maximum reimbursement rates for all Child Care Assistance Program providers. HF 150 increases the amount of childcare stabilization grants – a key initiative launched during the pandemic – for childcare programs. The bill also expands eligibility for early learning scholarships to children under five years old.
Childcare and early learning are both crucial for kids to develop, grow, and learn, but also for family economic security. If a parent can’t afford daycare (if they can even find a daycare spot), they can’t join the workforce. If businesses can’t hire workers, then they can’t grow. This desperately needed investment in childcare and early learning will help to make sure our youngest Minnesotans get a Great Start.
Early Leaning Scholarships
These bills aren’t the only pieces of legislation that focus on our kids.
Last week, I presented my first bill in committee. HF 1277 invests close to a billion dollars in our Early Learning Scholarships and would make it possible for 31,000 more Minnesota kids to have access to quality childcare that isn’t prohibitively expensive. It would expand the program to cover kids up to 200% of federal poverty level, open it up to all kids under five, and cover the full cost of care.
This would be an historic, life-changing investment for Minnesota kids and families, and would have a huge payback for every Minnesotan. I am deeply grateful to the advocates and for the bipartisan support HF 1277 received in committee, and I look forward to updating you on our progress as it makes its way through hearings!
Fighting Food Insecurity
Last week, the House passed HF 5, a bill to ensure that every student in Minnesota can get breakfast and lunch.
Minnesota is a state that values education and wants to see every child succeed, but that is not possible when 1 in 6 students are trying to learn on an empty stomach. Food is as critical to learning as desks and books, and making sure that every student can count on having something to eat will make a huge difference for everyone.
Nobody in Minnesota should have to worry about where their next meal is coming from or choose between paying for groceries and paying rent. Addressing food insecurity both in schools and at home is vital to ensuring a safe and healthy community, but it is just one piece of the puzzle. We have more work to do, and DFLers are taking swift action to lift up struggling families and ensure all Minnesotans can live and thrive here.
Moms Demand Gun Sense Rally
Today, the organization Moms Demand Gun Sense gathered in the rotunda to advocate for gun safety legislation. I am a co-author of HF 14, a bill that would require criminal background checks for firearm transfers so that private gun sales have an extra layer of protection for our communities.
In the first 6 weeks of 2023, there have been 71 mass shootings in the United States – that's more shootings than days. It is our responsibility to do everything we can to prevent these tragedies from happening in Minnesota. Protections like these do not affect responsible gun owners and make a measurable difference in keeping firearms out of ill intending hands.
Children and Families Committee
One of the committees I am serving on this session is the Children and Families Finance and Policy committee. Last week, we reviewed the Great Start for All Minnesota Children Task Force report. This thorough report gives several recommendations on how we as legislatures can act to ensure Minnesota is the best place to raise a family. You can see my comments on the report in committee here.
Earned Sick and Safe Time
All Minnesotans deserve the opportunity to be successful, but too many must choose between work and taking care of a new baby, a loved one, or themselves. The time to act is now, and DFLers have been taking firm action to address these problems. This afternoon, we will be hearing legislation that would guarantee, at a minimum, one hour of paid Earned Sick and Safe Time for every 30 hours worked, up to at least 48 hours per year. I can’t wait to vote in favor of this bill. Having done this work in Bloomington, our community has seen firsthand how important sick & safe time is. I’m thrilled that we will be able to provide this for all Minnesotans.
To stay up to date with our important work at the State Capitol, you can see the Minnesota House of Public Information Services’ nonpartisan recaps of high-profile bills, committee hearings, and floor sessions with their Session Daily publication.
You can also stay up-to-date with the latest by following my Facebook page.
To share your input or ideas, or if I can ever be of assistance, please feel free to reach out at email@example.com or 651-296-4218, and I will be happy to help. If you were forwarded this email and you’d like to subscribe, click here. If you have a friend or neighbor who would be interested in receiving these, please forward this and encourage them to subscribe.
Thank you, as always, for the honor of serving you.