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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Mary Frances Clardy (DFL)

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Legislative Update- March 27, 2024

Wednesday, March 27, 2024
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Dear Neighbors,

I hope you're staying warm and safe with our latest spring snowfall! We’re nearing the halfway point of the 2024 legislative session. Last Friday marked our first internal deadline to advance bills out of the committee process. Hundreds of bills have been introduced and committees have been working hard to vet and fine tune legislation to lower costs and help improve Minnesotans’ lives. This work must be completed by our constitutionally required date to adjourn, which is May 20.

Here’s a look at some legislation moving forward and what I’m working on for our community:


Expanding Access to Affordable, High-Quality Health Care

All Minnesotans deserve to live healthy lives with economic security, and DFLers at the Capitol are committed to expanding access to affordable, quality health care. Unfortunately, too many Minnesotans currently can’t afford health insurance or have health insurance they can’t afford to use. Working families without employer-based insurance often face outrageous premiums and other out-of-pocket costs. For instance, many plans on the individual market have annual deductibles of $7,000 or higher. This puts Minnesotans in an impossible predicament, which leads to people avoiding care and results in poor health outcomes – sometimes with tragic consequences.

One plan to solve this problem impacting middle-class Minnesotans is the MinnesotaCare Public Option. It would allow all Minnesotans to access comprehensive health insurance coverage – with vision, dental, and more – with low out-of-pocket costs and a large network of quality medical providers. People enrolled in the Public Option would pay their own premiums – with significantly lower prices than what’s available currently on the individual market – determined on a sliding scale based on income.

MinnesotaCare has been a nation-leading, highly successful, and trusted health insurance program serving low-income working Minnesotans for over 30 years. The bill creating a MinnesotaCare Public Option – which would expand affordable health insurance to thousands of more Minnesotans – is advancing through the committee process in the House. 



Local Investments for Dakota County

Mental Health Support

For over thirty years, Dakota County has provided phone and mobile mental health crisis response, intervention, and stabilization services. Due to growing needs, the county has expanded its crisis services to respond to direct transfer calls from Dakota 911 and provide more frequent and timely mobile crisis response. The expansion of services has largely been funded via one-time aid, but the demand continues to outpace the funding needed to continue these expanded services. 

Last week, I presented legislation to help enhance Dakota County’s responses with these mental health crisis services, including help for a mobile crisis response, and follow-up and stabilization services. My legislation would also ensure social workers can be present to assist with local public safety agencies.

Rep. Clardy and Commissioner Halverson

Thompson Park Updates

Our Thompson Park is a well preserved regional gem we all value in our community- especially families with young children, seniors taking advantage of the walking trails, people gathering with loved ones for a special event, and more. Last year, we secured $2 million in preliminary design and planning funds and the bill I’m carrying this year would appropriate $10 million in investments to improve public access to the Thompson Park Center, construct sensory gardens, enhance pollinator habitat, an inclusive play area, a ravine overlook, and accessible trail upgrades. Dakota County will match the state aid of $10 million to make this project a reality for our residents.

More Support for Underrepresented Teacher Applicants 

I also presented legislation recently to get more teachers of color in Minnesota’s classrooms by making more scholarships available for underrepresented teacher candidates, and expanding more efforts to recruit and retain more of these teachers. This comprehensive proposal will close opportunity gaps and help more kids in Minnesota see themselves represented in the classroom. You can read more about my legislation from the nonpartisan office of House Public Information here.


Expanded Eligibility for Bonuses for Veterans Serving Post 9/11

As a member serving on the House Veterans Affairs Committee, I want to make sure you know about the expanded service bonuses for veterans serving post 9/11. In 2022, legislators invested in service bonuses for veterans serving post-9/11. Last year, we expanded eligibility to this program. Veterans who were previously denied the bonus or are now eligible for a larger bonus can reapply based on the changes that were made in the 2023 session. The application opened July 7, 2022 and will run until June 30, 2024, or until funds have been exhausted. You can visit the application portal, review and answer the initial pre-screening questions to assist in determining eligibility.

post 9/11 service poster


Connected to Community

Seeing so many passionate voices advocating for what they believe in is truly heartening. 

From advocates seeking to end homelessness to folks wanting to help others achieve economic security, I appreciate these opportunities to learn more about what's working in our communities and what we can do better to make sure everyone has a chance to thrive.

Capitol Visitors

Local visitors advocating on housing, economic security, and more. Thank you for making your voices heard!


Mental health advocates


Mental health advocacy

Mental health care IS health care. By investing in accessible support, we can empower our neighbors and loved ones to manage stress, build resilience, and thrive. Grateful for these mental health champions in our district who came to visit and have their voices heard.


Delta Sigma

Thank you for inviting me to your Day on the Hill, @Delta Sigma! Great to hear about the good work the sisterhood is doing to uplift women in our communities across the state.


Disability Day

All Minnesotans deserve the opportunity to live with dignity and self-determination. Thank you for visiting me at the State Capitol to share your stories and strong support for access to high-quality disability services.


WSP at the Capitol

Great to see WSP Councilmember Lisa Eng-Sarne at MN Cities Day at the Capitol!


Keep in Touch

Please continue to contact me anytime with input, questions, or ideas at or 651-296-3533. I appreciate hearing from you!

You’re also welcome to follow me on my official Facebook page for more updates here

The legislature will recess to observe Easter, Passover, and Ramadan on Thursday through Monday. If you’re celebrating, I wish you a blessed holiday!


Mary Frances Clardy
State Representative

Representative Mary Frances Clardy

529 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55155

Phone: 651-296-3533
Email: (replies to this newsletter are not monitored)
Legislative Assistant: Jacob Hooper, 651-296-9467