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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Nathan Coulter (DFL)

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From the Desk of Rep. Nathan Coulter

Friday, March 1, 2024

The 2024 legislative session is officially here! While we get to work for you, I want to make sure I get to hear from you along the way, so I want to extend an invitation to my next Community Conversation on Wednesday, March 27th at Atonement Lutheran Church. I hope to see you there! 

This session is already shaping up to be a great one for Minnesota. I’m proud to serve on the House Elections Committee, and over the course of this biennium, I’ve introduced several bills related to improving the accessibility and strength of our elections system, and several of those bills are now law. Our democracy belongs to the people of Minnesota, and it works best when we all have a say in the decisions impacting our lives. I want to highlight some of the things DFLers accomplished last year to expand voting rights and ensure more Minnesotans have the opportunity to participate in elections. 

Just over one year ago, Governor Walz signed Restore the Vote into law, returning the right to vote to an estimated 55,000 Minnesotans. This law affects individuals who have been completed their term of incarceration after being convicted of a felony. This mean that folks who are back home with their families, communities, and lives can make their voice heard when it comes to the government that serves them.  

Last year, we also expanded time off for voting. All Minnesotans are entitled to time off to vote, but now, that applies to early voting as well so you can go cast your ballot when it’s convenient for you. We also now allow our Tribal partners to request a polling place on Tribal land, helping to bridge an access gap for many of our Native neighbors. 

When it comes to voter registration, we made major moves to make it easier and added pre-registration for 16- and 17-year-olds, so when they turn 18, they’re registered and ready to vote in the next election. We also strengthened the safety and security of our elections by cracking down on harassment and intimidation of election officials at polling places.  

We’re not done improving our elections system – this year, we have a host of great bills up again to build upon the work we did last year. I’m working on a bill to ensure Political Action Committees (PACs) that spend on local races like school board and city council will have to file, register, and disclose information the same as they do for state races. Minnesotans deserve to know who is spending to influence local elections. 

My colleague, Rep. Emma Greenman, is carrying The Minnesota Voting Rights Act, which would prohibit voter suppression through closing or shifting polling places, language access denial, inadequate voter registration efforts, notary requirements, and/or off-cycle non-standard election days. It also prohibits the adoption of or preserving legislative maps that dilute the power of minority voters. This would ensure Minnesotans can vindicate these essential protections to combat racial discrimination in voting and strengthen them to respond to the threats faced by voters of color today. It improves upon the Voting Rights Act by establishing streamlined and predictable causes and actions that will reduce the need for and the cost of litigation. 

I'm also excited about a bill to end prison gerrymandering is being led by Rep. Esther Agbaje. Currently, inmates in Minnesota prisons are counted in the census as residents of where they are incarcerated, which results in inaccuracies in data. This bill would make sure incarcerated Minnesotans are counted where they last resided instead, ensuring their communities have an accurate representation of residency. This affects things like redistricting, which Minnesota does every 10 years in accordance with census data. 

The 2024 legislative session has just begun, and there’s so much more work to do. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at To stay up to date, be sure to subscribe to my legislative newsletter and follow my official Facebook page.