With session in full swing, I want to take some time to provide an update on the highlights so far in the 2023 legislative session. I am honored to be starting my first term in the Minnesota House, and I look forward to serving as your State Representative. Last November, Minnesotans made their voices loud and clear and elected a DFL majority in the legislative and executive branches. Additionally, the news of Minnesota’s budget surplus shows that we will have a significant opportunity to improve lives and invest in Minnesota. This year, I am serving on the Agriculture, Commerce, Housing, and Legacy Finance Committees.
Here is an update from Saint Paul.
Minnesota Asian Pacific Caucus Releases Legislative Priorities
I joined my Minnesota Asian Pacific (MAP) Caucus colleagues to outline our legislative priorities. I am profoundly honored to serve as MAP Caucus Chair, and I am looking forward to working collaboratively with my colleagues to serve as an active, collective voice to meet the needs of Minnesotans. By viewing policy through a lens of equity and access, we will expand opportunities and participation for our diverse AAPI communities.
The last eight years globally have been the hottest on record, and Minnesota is among the top states currently seeing rapid changes to our climate. Scientists know that climate change driven by fossil fuels is impacting our environment, infrastructure, and our health. Minnesota has long been a leader in clean energy, but partisan gridlock in recent years has hindered attempts to combat climate change.
That is why the House passed the 100% by 2040 bill, a landmark piece of legislation that will help our state address climate change head-on and prepare for a carbon-free future. Action at the state level is urgently needed to help the U.S. meet our climate goals. This legislation would require that the state’s utilities use entirely carbon-free sources for electricity production by 2040. This would put us on track with over 20 other states that have also adopted similar goals.
Not only is this legislation critical to protecting our climate, but it also makes economic sense. Wind power is the cheapest form of electricity, and producing solar energy is cheaper than building new fossil fuel plants or importing fossil fuels from other states. This bill ensures that we remove barriers to setting up carbon-free and renewable power sources and invest in jobs right here in Minnesota. I was proud to cast my vote in support of the 100% by 2040 bill on the House floor and will continue working to address and combat climate change this session.
Free School Meals
Here in Minnesota, we value education and want to see every child succeed, but with 1 in 6 students trying to learn on an empty stomach we are not living up to those values. With our budget surplus, we have the resources to step up and provide the food security families need and the high-quality education our children deserve.
Last month, the House voted to provide free school meals for Minnesota’s students. Every child deserves a world-class education, but academic performance suffers when students are hungry. House File 5 will feed children so they can concentrate in the classroom and achieve their dreams. I’m happy to have voted for this legislation ??to slash grocery bills and help families save money.
Driver’s License for All
All of us deserve to be safe when we’re driving to work, dropping our kids off at school, picking up groceries, or going to the doctor. However, it’s difficult for tens of thousands of Minnesotans to reliably take care of these tasks because they can’t obtain a driver’s license. To help solve this problem, I was honored to vote for “Driver’s Licenses for All” on the House Floor, a bill to restore legal driving privileges for undocumented immigrants in Minnesota. Getting more people to pass a driving exam and become licensed ensures that motorists have a common understanding of the rules of the road and can safely operate a vehicle, while also being able to obtain auto insurance, all key steps to improving safety.
Passing this legislation was one of the most powerful moments at the Capitol in recent memory, and while it’s about safety, it’s also about dignity. This bill advancing is a testament to a years-long effort from one of the broadest coalitions imaginable including law enforcement, the business community, the agriculture industry, faith-based organizations, workers’ rights advocates and more. The legislation is currently working through the committee process in the Minnesota Senate.
A Great Start for Every Child
A lack of access to affordable, accessible child care for working families is one of the most pressing issues I’ve heard about since joining the Legislature. Additionally, with low reimbursement rates, childcare providers are struggling to offer competitive wages and in some cases, to even keep their doors open.
Earlier this session the House passed a pair of bills with robust investments aimed at stabilizing child care and early learning. HF 13 increases the maximum reimbursement rates for all Child Care Assistance Program providers. HF 150 increases the amount of child care stabilization grants – a key initiative launched during the pandemic – for childcare programs. The bill also expands eligibility for early learning scholarships to children age five or younger.
Child care and early learning are both crucial for kids to develop, grow, and learn, but also for family economic security. If a parent can’t afford daycare (if they can even find a daycare spot), they can’t join the workforce. If businesses can’t hire workers, then they can’t grow. I was proud to support these investments to help kids, families, and communities thrive.
Keep in Touch
You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-296-1147. You can follow me on Facebook as well. I appreciate the opportunity to serve our district in the legislature and look forward to hearing from you.