Thank you to everyone who joined us for my first Town Hall of the legislative session on Sunday, March 5. It was great to hear from you and provide an update on our work at the State Capitol. For those of you who were unable to attend, here is the latest:
Driver’s License for All Bill Signing
Thanks to the relentless advocacy of our fellow Minnesotans, the Driver's Licenses for All bill has been signed into law. To those who organized for two decades to make today a reality: this victory belongs to you and this change in law will make Minnesota a more welcoming place no matter your background. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Si´ se pudo!
Interview with Georgia Fort
I had the absolute honor to interview with award winning journalist, Georgia Fort. Since the inception of American media, Black people have been misrepresented. That’s why Independent Journalist Georgia Fort has dedicated her work to media reform & narrative justice.
In 2023, she’s doubling down on that effort by independently producing her own TV show. In our candid conversation, we talked about representation at the Capitol and the challenges posed when you're a strong woman of color who shows up and shows out for their people and community.
Tuesday, March 14, was the MN Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics Day at the Capitol. I am grateful for the outstanding work of the Minnesota Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. I had the opportunity to thank the phenomenal pediatricians and providers who traveled from across the state to join us in such a wonderful event. They are a leading voice on children’s health and well-being in Minnesota. MNAAP represents more than 1,000 pediatricians, pediatric providers, and pediatric trainees.
They are champions for the littlest Minnesotans.
Community Healing, Town Hall Event
Thank you to the Westside community for coming together and having thoughtful and healing conversations with my colleagues and me. I appreciate everyone taking the time out of their busy schedules to join us.
We heard three very clear themes: community, resources, and investment. You are holding us accountable for measurable actions and change and I’m working to ensure the bills I’m carrying will improve and benefit our Westside neighbors and their families. If you couldn’t make it, please don’t hesitate to reach out anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Muchas gracias a la Organización Comunitaria del Lado Oeste West Side Community Organization (WSCO), y a los Impulsores del Lado Oeste por organizar el evento.
Thank you so much to the West Side Community Organization and the West Side Boosters for hosting the event.
Minnesota Indian Family Preservation Act
Last week, The Minnesota House passed a bill to enhance child welfare protections under the 1985 Minnesota Indian Family Preservation Act, known as MIFPA. The legislation also affirms the state’s policy on Tribal-state relations, including the recognition of Tribes as sovereign nations and the recognition Tribes have the inherent authority to determine their own jurisdiction for Indian child custody or child placement proceedings.
This bill comes just in time, as there is uncertainty on the fate of the Indian Child Welfare Act, with the conservative-leaning US Supreme Court expected to rule on its constitutionality. This bill will ensure Minnesota remains a place that respects tribal sovereignty.
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 protect the right of women to safe reproductive health care.
Investing in Local Jobs and Projects
Last session, a bipartisan agreement was reached on the framework of legislation to invest in local jobs and projects throughout Minnesota, but like many important proposals, Republican leadership chose to walk away instead of completing this work.
The package of legislation we passed addresses hundreds of critical infrastructure projects gone unfunded for too long, including many in our community. There are leaky roofs in state buildings, an outdated campus chemistry laboratory, unstable riverbanks, kids taking unsafe routes to schools, housing that needs to be built for our most vulnerable and failing wastewater infrastructure. The bill also takes great strides to invest in Black, Indigenous, and Communities of Color - communities too often left behind when it comes to state investments.
These and other projects are crucial to communities throughout the state, and inflation is only causing them to go up higher in cost the longer we delay. This legislation requires a supermajority to pass, meaning the Senate, like the House, will need Republican support to get this funding over the finish line.
I hope you’ll join me in calling on Senate Republicans to swiftly pass this legislation. We need to finish the work of 2022 so we can move on to the business of 2023.
You can read more about this legislation and the path ahead here.