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

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Legislative Update - March 22, 2024

Friday, March 22, 2024

Dear neighbors,

I hope everyone is staying safe and making the most of our Spring snow. Here’s a look at what we’ve been working on in St. Paul this week:


Disability Services Day on the Hill

This week, I had the honor of speaking at a rally for Disability Services Day at the Capitol. As someone who worked for a disability services provider for 19 years, I know how vital these services are to ensuring that people with disabilities have the opportunity to live with dignity and self-determination.

DFLers are committed to centering the voice of people living with disabilities in our legislation, and we are working to ensure that they can get the support that they need to live with independence.


Legislative Town Hall

As a reminder, Rep. Andy Smith, Sen. Liz Boldon and I will be hosting a Town Hall on Sunday, March 24th, from 2:00-4:00 pm at 125 Live in Rochester. This event is an opportunity for you to share any thoughts or concerns you have about issues you care about. I hope to see you there!


Committee Hearings

This week, I presented a number of my bills in House committees. In the Human Services Committee, I presented HF 4528 which would modify membership of the Commission of the Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing, and help them more effectively fill their board seats. 

In the Education Policy Committee, I presented HF 4159 which would encourage, create, and embed instruction for our teachers around ableism and disability justice. It’s important to understand that disability is part of the human condition, that the disability community has its own culture, and that ableism is rooted in a lot of the discrepancies we see in our education system. We can’t solve a problem until we name it and start talking about it. We can’t change our world and we don’t move to full inclusion without acknowledging every part of it. Teachers alone won’t get us there, but this bill aims to take us closer. 


Building a Clean Energy Future

In 2023, lawmakers answered the call from Minnesotans of all generations to take urgent action addressing our climate crisis by enacting a goal of 100% carbon-free electricity by 2040. To achieve this benchmark – one of the most ambitious in the nation – we need wind and solar farms to generate clean energy and transmission lines to carry that energy to the electric grid. There’s a big problem though: too many clean energy projects are stuck in a slow approval process. Today, about 51% of Minnesota’s electricity comes from carbon-free sources, but according to research, to reach our 100% goal, Minnesota must double the current pace at which new solar and wind energy sources are being developed.

That’s why I support the Minnesota Energy Infrastructure Permitting Act. This legislation – which has earned broad support from Minnesota utilities, clean energy advocates, and our partners in labor – will eliminate redundancies, increase transparency, and make Minnesota’s permitting process more efficient and consistent. Given Minnesota’s unpredictable weather, shaving even a couple of months off the permitting process could mean a difference of an entire year when it comes to construction. As addressing climate change becomes increasingly urgent, saving this time is more critical now than ever. Without upgrades to our decades-old energy permitting laws to meet the challenges we face today, our carbon-free ambitions may not become reality. The Minnesota Energy Infrastructure Permitting Act will help us meet this critical moment and remove barriers to the clean energy future all Minnesotans deserve.


Stay Connected with the Legislature

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