I hope this newsletter finds you well and ready for another round of snow! I want to extend a warm thank you to our community members who made my first Community Conversation a success. Your words and questions are important to me; it helps guide my work for our neighbors at the Capitol. It was great to have Dakota County Commissioner Joe Atkins join us as well!
This Sunday at 10:00 a.m., Sen. Klein, Rep. Hansen, and I will be hosting a town hall meeting at the Inver Grove Heights Community Center (8055 Barbara Ave, Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota). We’ll start with a brief update from legislature and then go to questions. I hope you can make and look forward to hearing from you.
We’re working hard in the House to vet, amend, and pass bills ahead of our committee deadlines. These are in place to help us be efficient in getting our work done; Minnesotans expect and deserve this from their elected officials.
Here’s an update from the Capitol, including information about the bills I’m carrying for our communities:
Sovereignty Day at the Capitol
On Monday this week, the Minnesota House and Senate held Sovereignty Day at the Capitol. It was an educational opportunity for legislators that will include tribal history and culture, sovereignty, and the interplay between federal, state, and tribal law.
Acknowledging our own Dakota County is part of an expansive territory of the Dakota, Ojibwe (Chippewa) tribe, it was an honor to have the opportunity listen and learn more from the leaders of the eleven federally-recognized sovereign tribal nations in Minnesota.
There was also a timely public hearing on a bill this week that would require Holocaust and Indigenous People’s genocide history curricula to be offered in Minnesota middle and high school social studies classes. Dora Zaidenweber, a 99-year-old survivor of the Holocaust came to the Capitol to testify in support of the requirement. You can see the KARE 11 story here. Our kids deserve a well-rounded comprehensive education, and as a teacher I believe that must include accurate, factual information about our national and global history.
I’m carrying several bills to invest in our students, families, and communities. Here’s a look at a few of those:
Safe Schools Investments
Minnesota students, teachers, and staff deserve to be safe in school, no matter where they’re from or their zip code. My bill HF 1360 increases state aid to local school districts to create a safer environment for students, whether by improving building infrastructure, hiring more school security staff, or providing more counseling services. I’m pleased to share it’s being considered for inclusion in a future education package of legislation.
Great to visit with Inver Grove Heights Superintendent Dave Bernhardson about the great work he's doing for our students.
Enhancing Alzheimer’s Awareness and Resources for Families
According to the Alzheimer’s Association’s latest data from 2023, an estimated 6.7 million Americans age 65 and older are living with Alzheimer’s. I’m carrying bipartisan legislation to create a statewide public education program in Minnesota. It would support family members by outlining the benefits of cognitive testing, the early warning signs of cognitive impairment, and the difference between normal cognitive aging and dementia, and more.
Improving our Local Public Infrastructure
The Minnesota House has taken the first bipartisan step by approving nearly $1.9 billion in investments for local jobs and projects throughout the state. I was able to secure funding to fix Inver Hills’ Community College’s Business and Technology lab, build an inclusive, accessible playground for every child at Heritage Village Park, and the Dakota County Minnesota River Greenway. These infrastructure funding bills require a supermajority to pass; our legislation received strong bipartisan support. Now we need the Senate to come to the table and join us in getting this done.
Women’s History Month
March is Women's History Month! Let’s use this month to remember and honor all of the amazing women who paved the way for us. There is still a lot of work we need to do to stand up for equal rights in Minnesota and I am committed to pursuing this important work at the Capitol.
A couple of significant bills moving in the Minnesota House would expand insurance coverage for breast cancer diagnostics, enhance workplace protections for nursing mothers, and ensure access to Paid Family and Medical Leave.
Keep in Touch
Please continue to reach out anytime at email@example.com with questions, input, or ideas. I appreciate your engagement and feedback!
Mary Frances Clardy
Representative Mary Frances Clardy
529 State Office Building