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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Samantha Sencer-Mura (DFL)

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Legislative Update: April 18, 2024

Thursday, April 18, 2024

Dear Neighbors,

We’ve reached the point in the legislative session where the bulk of our work is now focused on passing policy or budget bills coming out of committees. The House and Senate will pass their own individual proposals, and while our ultimate goals are often aligned with our DFL colleagues in the Senate, it’s usually expected these policy bills will have some differences, and a conference committee made up of House and Senate members will m craft a compromise bill to send to Governor Walz and be signed into law.

Thank you to all the constituents who have taken the time out of their busy lives to visit me in St. Paul. Please know my office is always open. Now is a critical time for our constituents to show up and advocate for the priorities of our district.


Visit to Congress

Last week, I was honored to be Congresswoman Ilhan Omar’s guest at the joint address to Congress by Prime Minister of Japan Fumio Kishida. I was proud to be invited to listen to the address in person because of my Japanese American heritage and my role as the first person of Japanese descent to be elected to the Minnesota legislature. While in DC, I had a chance to catch up with the Congresswoman to discuss our shared priorities of delivering for our district. 


Funding Habitats Across Minnesota

The Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council (LSOHC) has issued its annual Call for Funding Request from the Outdoor Heritage Fund. Approximately $150 million will be available for both metro and statewide grants to aid Minnesota habitat restoration, protection and enhancement.

This is a great opportunity for investment in the habitats that exist in our community and state! 

Requests are due to the LSOHC on Friday, May 24, 2024 at 4 p.m., with funds for approved programs signed into law during the 2025 legislative session being available on Monday, July 1, 2025.

Since the Outdoor Heritage Fund’s creation in 2008, $1.6 billion in on-the-ground habitat programs have been allocated by the Minnesota Legislature and over 1.4 million acres of Minnesota forests, prairies and wetlands have been restored, protected or enhanced. The latest set of funding recommendations totaling $180 million is currently before the Minnesota Legislature.

Proposal requirements and terms of funding are outlined in the Call for Funding Request. To view details or learn more, visit: For answers to specific questions, contact LSOHC Staff: If you have a potential project proposal but are unsure, LSOHC are there to help! 

Highway 55/Hiawatha Ave and Lake St Construction Update


About this project

There will be a reconstruction of the intersection of Hwy 55/Hiawatha Ave and Lake Street for a more pedestrian and bike friendly layout with accessible sidewalks, ramps, and curbs. When the work is finished, the new intersection will be safer and easier for pedestrians and bikers to navigate and use.

Summary of work

  • Reconstruct the Hiawatha Ave. and Lake St. intersection
  • Add new signal systems at Snelling Ave./Lake St. and 22nd Ave./Lake St. intersections
  • Improve accessibility for pedestrians, bikers, and transit riders
  • Reconstruct ramps to/from Hiawatha Ave. and Lake St.

Lane closures  - Wednesday, April 17 through October

  • E. Lake St. is reduced to one lane in both directions between 21st Ave. S. and Snelling Ave.

Ramp closures - Wednesday, April 17 through October

Do you have questions?

South High Student Newspaper Covers District Budget Cuts

While I am always happy to talk to any constituent, I enjoy talking to the young people in our district. I was recently interviewed by South High students for their school newspaper, The Southerner. The student-run publication devoted an issue to the current financial situation in Minneapolis Public Schools and its effect on South in particular, and I was invited to share my perspective on the role the state plays in funding our schools. 

From the article:

In the Minnesota State Legislature, Sencer-Mura has goals for how to improve education funding in the long-term. One way to provide more funding for MPS is to allocate more money from the state’s budget into education, however this can be tricky because it involves either taking money away from other sectors or raising taxes statewide. Another route is to modify the current funding formula, such as reducing special education bill backs from 80% to 50%, which Sencer-Mura recently proposed in a bill to the House’s Special Education Committee. This would relieve some of these costs from MPS and other school districts that suffer from open enrollment and instead put more weight on the state-level funding. In future sessions of the House, Sencer-Mura also hopes to challenge current open enrollment policies, which are widely unique to Minnesota.

“I think we should be putting pressure on every level of government. To me, the bedrock of a strong society is good schools and good public schools that can take every student,” said Sencer-Mura. “I think every elected official, every leader in Minneapolis should be deeply concerned about what’s happening in Minneapolis Public Schools because we know that if students don’t have good education, safe schools, buildings with people that they can trust, then that has a public safety implication.”

“One thing that I have really come to think about from being an elected official is that you pay for things,” added Sencer-Mura. “If you don’t pay for something now, you’ll pay for it later in a different way. So if you don’t pay for good education for young people now, you’ll pay with more public safety needs in the future… you’ll have more people who might be unemployed in the future, and then you’re having to pay welfare for them… more people might be homeless in the future, and then you’re having to invest in housing. We pay for things whether we like it or not.”

Fair Wages for Rideshare Drivers

As many of you know, the city of Minneapolis and state legislators continue to partner on policies to ensure our rideshare drivers receive a fair wage for their services. I am thankful that last week the Minneapolis city council voted to delay the implementation of their rideshare wage ordinance to July 1st to ensure more time for collaboration and implementation. 

I’m grateful the council continues to prioritize fair pay for drivers, minimal disruption for riders who rely on these services, and ongoing conversation with stakeholders across the state. As the council has reminded us again and again, inaction on this issue of fair wage is not an option. I also want to thank the residents who have written to express their support for drivers, and their deep concerns about losing access to rideshare services. I take your feedback seriously and am working with my colleagues to find a statewide solution. 

Promise Act Info Session- May 4th


Alongside other South Minneapolis elected officials from the city and the state, my office will be hosting an info session about the MN Promise Act grants and loans aimed at helping disadvantaged businesses reach their full potential. Funding was approved by the Minnesota State Legislature and signed into law by Governor Tim Walz during the 2023 legislative session and is overseen by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).. This program, through a few CDFI statewide partner organizations, will offer access to grants and loans to eligible businesses in specific communities.

The MN Promise Act is focused on distributing grants and loans to support the growth and repositioning of Minnesota small businesses who are located, or who operate in neighborhoods / communities adversely affected by: 

  • Structural racial discrimination
  • Civil unrest
  • Lack of access to capital
  • A loss of population
  • An aging population
  • A lack of regional economic diversification

Specific neighborhoods in Minneapolis, Saint Paul and greater-Minnesota have been selected as eligible for this funding based on the above criteria by MN DEED in partnership with community organizations.

Click here to see eligible Minneapolis - Saint Paul neighborhoods.

Keep in Touch

Please continue to reach out anytime if you need assistance or have questions at or 651-297-7087. You can also follow my Facebook page

In community,

Rep. Samantha Sencer-Mura

Minnesota House of Representatives