I hope you’re having a great week!
We’re working efficiently and quickly to get results for Minnesotans by advancing bills through committees and passing them off the House Floor. I was pleased to have my first bill heard in the Veterans and Military Affairs Committee this week.
You can read more about it, and what else we’re working on below:
Investing in Minnesota Children
A lack of access to affordable, accessible child care for working families is one of the most pressing issues I’ve worked on since joining the Legislature. Additionally, with low reimbursement rates, child care providers are struggling to offer competitive wages and in some cases, to even keep their doors open.
On Monday, the House passed a pair of bills with robust investments aimed at stabilizing child care and early learning. HF 13 increases the maximum reimbursement rates for all Child Care Assistance Program providers. HF 150 increases the amount of child care stabilization grants – a key initiative launched during the pandemic – for child care programs. The bill also expands eligibility for early learning scholarships to children age five or younger.
Child care 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. According to the Minnesota Department of Human Services, in 2022, 2,588 children and 1,371 families were enrolled in the Child Care Assistance Program in Dakota County. I was proud to support these investments to help kids,families, and communities thrive.
Black History Month
February is Black History Month, a time to reflect on the achievements and contributions of our African American ancestors, as well as celebrate the rich cultural heritage and history of the Black community. The Governor and Lieutenant Governor recently signed the CROWN Act into law, which explicitly prohibits racial discrimination based on natural hair texture and hairstyles such as braids, locs, and twists. I’m also pleased to report they’ve signed a bill establishing Juneteenth as a state holiday to commemorate June 19 as the official end of slavery in the United States, in line with the federal government’s enactment of the holiday in 2021.
Expanding Mental Health Access for Veterans and Their Spouses
As I mentioned above, one of my bills received its first committee hearing this week. The legislation increases funding and expands the scope of the Veterans Resilience Project to make Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy for veterans and to include their spouses. As civilians, Minnesotans, and Americans, it’s our responsibility to ensure everyone who has served our country, including their spouses, can have access to the Post Traumatic Stress therapy they deserve. I’m pleased it’s being considered for future inclusion in a larger package of veterans-related legislation.
Connected to Community
From the classroom to the Capitol! I was delighted to have Carmella, my former first grade student, visit me with her daughter Ava this week. We even had the chance to catch up with Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison. Ava has big plans- she wants to be a judge when she grows up!
This is what it's all about: empowering the next generation and ensuring we have the resources they need in school to achieve their dreams.
It was so fun to connect with Inver Grove Heights resident Paul Mandell, a longtime State Capitol-area planner who was instrumental in the recent redesign of our Capitol.
I appreciated the physical therapists from our district who also stopped by this week to share their legislative priorities.
Keep in Touch
Please continue to reach out anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-296-3533 with questions or input. You’re also invited to follow me on my Facebook page for more community and Capitol updates.
I'll be kicking off my first Community Conversation with Rep. Clardy on March 11 at 2:00 p.m. at Amore Coffee (879 Smith Ave S, West St Paul, MN 55118). Stay tuned for more details and future events.
Enjoy the weekend! Thank you for the honor of representing you in St. Paul.
Mary Frances Clardy
Representative Mary Frances Clardy
529 State Office Building