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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Andy Smith (DFL)

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First Bill Hearing – Funding SPARK!

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

First Bill Hearing – Funding SPARK!

Dear Neighbors,

The Minnesota Legislature is currently considering a Paid Family and Medical Leave bill, which would provide workers with up to 12 weeks of paid leave and an additional 12 weeks of medical leave every year. This time would be used by an employee unable to work due to a family member’s serious health condition, or the employee’s own pregnancy, pregnancy recovery, or serious health condition. Money paid into the state fund by employers and employees would vary depending on an employee’s salary. For example, someone earning $52,000 per year would pay $3.50 each week.

This bill is incredibly important, and that is why I would like to hear how it would affect you, your family, and our community. I am inviting you all to a Paid Family and Medical Leave Listening Session this Saturday, February 18, from 11:00 am-12:30 pm at Christ United Methodist Church (400 5th Ave SW, Rochester). You can register here, which is also posted on my official Facebook Page.

Bill to Fund SPARK Children’s Museum!

This Wednesday was the first time a bill I authored was heard in committee—and I couldn’t have chosen a better bill for my first presentation! My bill, HF 1024, would provide additional funding to SPARK, or the Children’s Museum of Rochester, to help them continue to provide their amazing programming to our kids. I was glad to be joined by SPARK’s director Heather Nessler who testified in support of the bill!

I presented my bill in front of the Legacy Finance committee, which uses money from the Legacy Amendment account to fund arts and cultural heritage projects throughout the state! You can watch my presentation in front of the committee here.

House Floor Votes

The pace here at the Legislature shows no signs of slowing down as we continue passing important legislation to help our state move forward! Last week, the House voted to pass two important bills aimed at addressing food insecurity in our schools and community. We passed a bill to provide free breakfast and lunch for all Minnesota school kids. One in four students who experience food insecurity do not qualify for existing free and reduced meal programs—this bill closes that gap and removes the stigma of being a part of these programs. We also passed legislation to deliver $5 million in emergency funding for food shelves considering record numbers of visits to food shelves last year. I was proud to support both bills!

This Monday, we voted on bills to improve access to affordable child care and early learning. Every family deserves access to affordable child care, but right now some families are paying as much as 40% of their income. That’s why we passed legislation to fund early learning scholarships while also raising the reimbursement rates for child care providers in the Child Care Assistance Program. Investments in the early years of a child’s life have the biggest payoff. House DFLers want all children to have the high-quality care and early learning resources they need to get off to a great start, with no exceptions!

Stay Connected!

Unfortunately, due to technological constraints, replies to this newsletter won’t reach my email account. To share your input or ideas, or if I can ever be of assistance, please feel free to reach out at or 651-296-9249, and I will be happy to help. If you were forwarded this email and you’d like to subscribe, click here. If you have a friend or neighbor who would be interested in receiving these, please forward this and encourage them to subscribe!


Andy Smith,
State Representative