Happy new year! I hope 2023 finds you rested and joyful. I am thrilled to be starting my first term in the Minnesota House, and I look forward to serving as your State Representative. Last November, Minnesotans made their voices loud and clear and elected a DFL majority in the legislative and executive branches. Additionally, the news of Minnesota’s budget surplus shows that we will have a significant opportunity to improve lives and invest in Minnesota. I look forward to serving on the Education Finance, Transportation Policy and Finance, Workforce Development Policy and Finance, and Agriculture Policy and Finance committees this session.
Moving Minnesota Forward
DFL legislative leaders unveiled our legislative priorities to move Minnesota forward. My colleagues and I are ready to work hard, work together, and work quickly to deliver on the issues that matter most to Minnesotans.
You can watch House and Senate leaders discuss our shared priorities here.
Driver's License for All
The opportunity to obtain a driver’s license is something that should be available to all members of our community, regardless of immigration status. A driver’s license is often essential for economic security, and a necessity for all of our communities to be safe commuting and traveling on our roads. Our bill to provide driver's licenses for all was recently heard in the Transportation committee. Community members shared powerful testimony on this issue, and I was proud to vote to move the bill forward.
I am so grateful to all of the advocates and our community members who have fought for this critical legislation for almost two decades. We have a real opportunity to improve the lives of communities that have been ignored for far too often, far too long, and I look forward to doing everything I can to fight for them in the House.
You’re Invited to a Town Hall
On January 21, my SD63 colleagues and I will be having a town hall at At Hiawatha School Park (4305 E 42nd St, Minneapolis, MN 55406). The event will be from 1-2:30 pm. We are always wanting to hear your opinions. It helps us to do our jobs better!
Federal Tax Conformity
My colleagues and I worked quickly to pass a bill to update Minnesota’s tax code into conformity with federal law. This will result in over $100 million in tax cuts to a wide range of Minnesotans while simplifying future tax filings. This efficient and unified action is just the beginning of an effective legislative session under House DFL leadership. I’m encouraged that the legislation passed unanimously in both chambers!
By passing this bill within the first two weeks of session, the Department of Revenue will be able to incorporate these measures in time for this year’s tax filing season. While we moved swiftly to pass this bill, it doesn’t end our discussions at the Capitol about taxes. There are a lot of ideas out there, especially to help young families, homeowners and renters, and Minnesota seniors. As the session progresses, we will take a hard look at these solutions.
The CROWN Act
Our second bill to pass off the House floor also attracted considerable support from both sides of the aisle, and it’s a bill the House has passed twice before. The Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair (CROWN) Act updates the definition of “race” in the Minnesota Human Rights Act to include “traits associated with race, including but not limited to hair texture and hairstyles such braids, locs, and twists.” This is one of many proposals we’re championing to build a more inclusive Minnesota.
Protecting Reproductive Freedom
As a mother who experienced medical complications during pregnancy, I strongly believe that politics have no place in a doctor’s office. However, last year the U.S. Supreme Court unraveled a half-century of legal protections guaranteeing the right to an abortion. The Protect Reproductive Options (PRO) Act has received its final committee hearings in the Minnesota House. This bill protects Minnesotans’ right to contraception, the right to carry a pregnancy to term, the right to abortion, and ensures the right to privacy for personal reproductive health decisions. It also prevents interference by anti-choice politicians who seek to enact or defend medically unnecessary barriers to comprehensive reproductive health care. The PRO Act will codify these fundamental rights into law which is essential in guaranteeing reproductive freedom for the long term. I look forward to voting for the PRO Act.
Funding to Home Care and Assisted Living Providers Available
Funding is now available to Home Care and Assisted Living providers to promote the social connection of vulnerable adults living in provider settings. The Home Care and Assisted Living Provider Advisory Council under the Department of Health will be providing grants of up to $5,000 for each applicant selected. Funds may be used to purchase devices used for virtual visits and establishing/strengthening social connections.
More information can be found here, on the Department of Health website. Applications are due February 2 or earlier if funds run out. Applicants must submit their SWIFT Supplier/Vendor ID number, an MDH Applicant Conflict of Interest Disclosure form, and a completed grant application.
2023 Housing Tax Credit Program
Minnesota Housing is now accepting applications for round two of the 2023 Housing Tax Credit (HTC) Program. The Housing Tax Credits webpage will be updated if additional HTCs become available. The deadline is Friday, February 24
MDH is offering free at-home rapid COVID tests. This is the final chance for Minnesotans to get free tests before the program ends. Order your free at-home rapid tests online. The website is available in English, Hmong, Somali, and Spanish. Food banks, local public health agencies, community groups, and other community health organizations may also provide free testing.