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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Jim Davnie (DFL)

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Legislative Update- February 12, 2021

Friday, February 12, 2021

Rep. Davnie


Dear Neighbors,

I hope this finds you staying warm. With the subzero forecast sticking around for the next week or so, I want to share information about Minnesota’s Energy Assistance Program (EAP). No one deserves to be in the cold because they can’t afford their heating bills, and help is available with utility bills, to repair or replace homeowners’ malfunctioning furnaces, and to purchase fuel for delivery in emergencies. Homeowners and renters with young children, people with disabilities, veterans, seniors, and those experiencing unemployment or financial hardship because of the COVID-19 pandemic are especially encouraged to apply.

In 2020, the EAP helped nearly 118,000 Minnesota households. New applicants have until May 31, 2021 to apply, however funding is limited and administered on a first-come, first-served basis. More information is available from the Minnesota Department of Commerce. Additionally, the state’s Cold Weather Rule is in effect until April 15 which prevents utility shut offs if you sign up for a payment plan with your energy provider. More information on these protections is available from the Public Utilities Commission.

Here are flyers in English, Spanish, Somali and Hmong:

MN Energy Assistance Flyer - English

MN Energy Assistance Flyer - Spanish

MN Energy Assistance Flyer - Somali

MN Energy Assistance Flyer - Hmong

Minnehaha Post Office Update

The United States Postal Service (USPS) has made the decision to rebuild the Minnehaha Post Office in South Minneapolis at the same location, 3033 27th Ave S., Minneapolis, MN 55406. While there is not a current construction timeline, all services will continue to operate out of the temporary facility at 10 W. Lake Street, Minneapolis, MN 55408, until further notice. I will continue to keep you posted on construction updates and progress. I’m pleased that they heard community voices that see the return of the Post Office as an important aspect of rebuilding Lake Street.

Here’s an update from the Capitol:

Earned Sick and Safe Time

No one should have to choose between caring for themselves or a loved one and a paycheck and I’m fully supporting a new bill to expand Earned Sick and Safe Time. The House DFL-backed bill aims to provide an important short-term benefit to workers by allowing them to accrue sick time based on the number of hours worked. For many Minnesotans, the difficult choice between a paycheck and taking time off to care for a sick child is a real problem, especially for low-wage and service industry workers. This requirement has several key additional benefits, including healthier workplaces and schools, greater support for caregivers, and reduced health care costs.


Earned Sick and Safe Time


Increase Teachers of Color and Indigenous Teachers Act of 2021

I’m please to share that efforts are underway to recruit and retain more teachers of color and Indigenous educators in Minnesota. The Increase Teachers of Color and Indigenous Teachers Act of 2021 has moved through the Education Policy and Finance Committees and continues to make its way through the committee process. We can deliver a quality education and celebrate our diversity in Minnesota by recruiting and retaining more Indigenous teachers, and educators of color, so our classrooms reflect more of what our state looks like. You can watch Fox9’s coverage here.

Legislation to Address Catalytic Converter Theft

Catalytic converter theft is on the rise, and I’ve heard from many in our community who have been impacted. As a result, I’ve co-sponsored legislation to help crack down on these expensive crimes by making it illegal for anyone to sell a catalytic converter except a repair shop, auto recycler or vehicle owner with proof of ownership. The bill would also make it illegal for scrap dealers to pay cash for converters.  This takes the quick cash out of catalytic converter theft.

Minnesotans are already struggling enough economically with the ongoing pandemic- this shouldn’t be one more thing they have to worry about.

Adult-Use Cannabis Measure Introduced

Recently, my House DFL colleagues and I introduced legislation that would legalize adult-use cannabis in Minnesota. The bill, of which I’m a co-author, would create a regulated cannabis market while addressing concerns around youth access, public health, and road safety.

We know our cannabis laws in Minnesota are doing more harm than good. By creating a regulatory framework, we can address the harms caused by cannabis and establish a more sensible set of laws to improve our health care & criminal justice systems and ensure better outcomes for our communities across the state, especially our Black, Indigenous and communities of color.  If any state can get this right, it’s Minnesota. The bill’s first stop will be the House Commerce Committee on which I sit, and I look forward to its movement through the committee process.



The Minnesota House Public Safety and Criminal Justice Reform Finance & Policy Committee approved legislation this week creating the new SAFE (State Aid for Emergencies) Account, a fund making assistance available to local governments after unplanned or extraordinary public safety events that exhaust available local resources, including mutual aid. As Derek Chauvin’s trial is set to begin for his direct role in George Floyd’s death, it’s critical to ensure all of our cities are well-equipped to respond to bad actors or outside groups trying to infiltrate our state and destroy our businesses and livelihoods.

Minnesotans must also maintain their rights to peacefully gather and make their voices heard under the first amendment. Last summer, we saw individuals who were demonstrating peacefully, bystanders, and members of the press hit with pepper spray, shot at with rubber bullets, and experience other unjustified use of force at the hands of law enforcement at a time when members of our community were counting on our police officers to protect us from harm. The legislation includes an important measure to ensure all law enforcement agencies adopt a policy specifically addressing their responsibilities in response to public assemblies. This provision is necessary to help build trust within our communities, including within law enforcement, to protect the civil liberties of all Minnesotans. Balancing the need for public safety with rights to protest and accountability for police will be a difficult challenge.

Sadly, Republicans in the legislature seem only interested in politicizing the trauma our Twin Cities’ neighborhoods endured amid the civil unrest that took place last summer. My colleague Rep. Hassan spoke out to address this in committee on Monday and you can watch her powerful remarks here.

Riverview Theatre Receives State Grant Funding

I’m pleased to share that our beloved Riverview has received a state grant of $15,000 to help stay afloat during the ongoing pandemic. It’s no secret our local arts scene in Minneapolis has taken a significant hit over the last year, so I’m glad the legislature could get this support to Minnesota theatres and convention centers as a part of the measure we passed in December.

Keep in Touch

Please continue reaching out anytime at or 651-296-0173 with input, ideas, or questions. I appreciate hearing from you!

Thank you for the honor of representing our South Minneapolis neighbors at the Capitol.


Jim Davnie

State Representative