Last month, Governor Tim Walz, Senate Majority Leader Kari Dziedzic, and House Speaker Melissa Hortman announced an agreement on key budget decisions, taking a major step toward finalizing the two-year state budget. The agreed-upon budget framework includes historic investments for kids and families, in housing, improving health and safety, clean energy, and tax cuts for low and middle-class Minnesotans.
We have been listening to Minnesotans, and we are drawing on thousands of face-to-face conversations we've had with people at their doors, listening tours, and town hall meetings over the last year. Whether it’s ensuring no child goes without breakfast and lunch in school, or providing some more economic security for families, this budget agreement centers the needs of our kids, families, communities and environment. This is a direct result of Minnesotans all over the state who entrusted the DFL with a governing majority.
Here’s an update about what we’ve been getting done in Saint Paul:
New PFAS Regulations
Recently the Biden Administration announced the Environmental Protection Agency will require utilities to remove PFAS from drinking water. It is estimated as many as 200 million Americans are currently exposed to PFAS chemicals through drinking water. The EPA regulation would include testing and filtering of six PFAS chemicals.
I’m incredibly thankful we will be seeing federal action on getting PFAS out of drinking water. Now, we need to take it a step further. It’s corporate greed that got us into this mess, and we need to turn off the faucet on PFAS in more than just water. These cancer-causing chemicals are found in products and packaging we use every single day, and they're actively harming our health, our families, and our future.
Banning Private Prisons
When private prisons are focused solely on increasing profits and cutting costs, what they sacrifice is safety, both for the inmates and the people who work there. Prison corporations put their profits ahead of public safety, and our criminal justice system deserves better.
This session, the Minnesota House of Representatives passed House File 1200, which would effectively ban private prisons in the state. A 2016 report by the Justice Department found that, in general, private prisons provide fewer correctional services at greater security and safety risk to inmates and staff, without producing substantial savings.
Minnesota joins at least five other states that have passed legislation aiming to reduce, limit, or ban private prisons. President Biden issued an executive order in January 2021 that will phase out the Justice Department’s use of private prisons, and Minnesota has not had any private prisons since the Prairie Correctional Facility in Appleton closed in 2010.
Investing in Clean Energy Projects
We passed a bill last month that ensures Minnesota is in the best position to unlock federal funds for clean energy projects, meet our climate goals, and transition to a cleaner future. The legislation invests $115 million to unlock billions in federal funds and will create good-paying union jobs, ensuring that everyone can benefit from this clean energy transition.
These federal funds would be available all across the state, in communities large and small. It aids tribal governments and disadvantaged communities, and it will make Minnesota competitive with other states to bring billions in clean energy dollars here. It will also help Minnesota meet our Climate Action Framework goals to deliver clean energy that is affordable, reliable, and safe.
Reproductive Freedom Defense Act
The House passed HF 366, the Reproductive Freedom Defense Act. The bill protects the privacy and rights of persons receiving or providing reproductive health care in the state against legal attacks and criminal penalties imposed in other states.
When some states are doing everything they can to restrict the rights of women, in Minnesota, we value the fundamental rights of everyone to access reproductive health care without any interference from partisan, elected politicians. The Reproductive Freedom Defense Act amends existing laws, including those regarding medical privacy, licensure, extradition, and prosecutorial procedure, to reflect the reality that some states consider reproductive health care a crime and Minnesota explicitly does not.
It is crucial to act now to protect patients and providers in Minnesota and those coming to Minnesota seeking care from the attacks enabled by last year’s Supreme Court decision.
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.