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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Kim Hicks (DFL)

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Legislative Update: Environment, Elections and Veterans Budgets Approved

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

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It is only Wednesday, and it has already been a very busy week. On Monday, the Minnesota House approved the combined Climate & Energy and Environment & Natural Resources Budget bill. The legislation invests over $670 million in new funding for the environment and natural resources, funding the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, and the Board of Water and Soil Resources, as well as the Metropolitan Council Parks, Conservation Corps, Minnesota Zoo, and the Science Museum of Minnesota. Meanwhile, the Climate & Energy section invests over $348 million in new funding to lower energy costs, create more clean energy jobs, and address and combat climate change.

Yesterday, we passed the Veterans & Military Affairs budget bill by a unanimous vote of 131-0. The bill funds operations of the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Military Affairs, while including initiatives to support Minnesota veterans and their families. I am proud of my vote expressing gratitude to our brave veterans.

We also passed the Elections budget bill to make our elections safer, smoother, and easier to administer while ensuring our Democratic process is accessible to all eligible voters in Minnesota.  

Video of all hearings and floor votes are available on House Public Information Services’ YouTube channel

Literacy Day

Prompting from my third-grade teacher, Mr. Ask, resulted in a referral to the Reading Center.  I was lucky enough to know and be identified as dyslexic by Jean Osman.  After receiving this diagnosis my parents paid for one-on-one instruction for many years.  I not only learned to read but I developed a love of reading. As a teacher in training, I learned to teach reading using phonics-based instruction. My children have also benefited from the Reading Center and quality literacy instruction. This year I was honored to join Representative Heather Edelson as a co-author of the Read Act to make sure ALL children can learn to read, regardless of whether their parents can afford private tutoring.


The Capitol and the Community

This is a very busy time, both at the Capitol and in the community. Clockwise, I posed before the Capitol on the way to passing the Higher Education bill, which included the fostering independence measure to ensure foster children have access to higher education funding and supports to succeed. I met with We Choose Us advocates before their Capitol rally. My daughter Elle and I attended the healthcare round table. Two photos were taken at the community Muslim Student Association Iftar event at Mayo High School. And my friend Rebecca attended Latino Day at the Capitol.


Mental Health App

We know mental health challenges can affect anyone, anytime and many students face loneliness and stress. Mayo High School student Nandini Iyer and fellow classmates created an award-winning mental health wellness app called Safe Sphere Mind. She worked with health centers to make the app available as a resource. While the app is not widely available yet, she is exploring ways to increase access to improve mental wellness.

REMINDER: Medicaid Information 

During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, annual renewals for our public health programs – MinnesotaCare and Medicaid – paused. On May 11, the Covid-19 Public Health Emergency is ending and those on MinnesotaCare or Medicaid will need to update their information to determine their ongoing eligibility. If someone is no longer eligible for coverage under Medicaid, they should be able to get low-cost health insurance through the federal and state insurance marketplaces. You can watch a short video here for more information.


Stay Connected with the Legislature

It is easy to stay connected to news from the State Capitol. The Minnesota House of Representatives Public Information Services offers nonpartisan recaps of high-profile bills, committee hearings, and floor sessions with their Session Daily publication. Subscribe to receive these here. To track bills of interest through the legislative process, I encourage you to utilize the MyBills feature on the Minnesota House of Representatives’ website.  

Please continue to reach out with any input, ideas, or feedback about the issues important to you. I value hearing from you, so call or email any time. You can find my information on my House website. You can also like my Facebook page, and follow me on Twitter.

It is an honor to represent you at the State Capitol.


Kim Hicks

State Representative


Representative Kim Hicks

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

Phone: 651-296-4378
Email: (replies to this newsletter are not monitored)
Legislative Assistant: Chelsea Ray, 651-296-3806