Progress as Lead Author on Bills
The legislative process moves rapidly as the many puzzle pieces that move a bill to becoming law fall into place. I’d like to share a few updates on bills I am “carrying” in the legislature this week.
U Visa Certification Bill - I have presented this bill, which advances the interests of victims of domestic violence and other serious crimes and of law enforcement simultaneously, in the Public Safety and Judiciary Committees. At the Judiciary Committee, the bill was passed with 100% bipartisan support due to its importance for victims, and also the fact that it facilitates the important role of law enforcement in identifying, investigating and prosecuting perpetrators. At present, I am seeking a Senate author, and looking at other strategies to navigate this bill forward.
Veterans Restorative Justice Act - This week, I will present this bill in the Veterans Committee alongside Veterans who have successfully undergone the restorative, rehabilitative treatment that led them back to the community of law-abiding citizens. This bill creates an important model policy and statewide continuity in how we work with Veterans who have committed low-level criminal offenses for reasons related to their service to our country. This restorative approach not only fulfills our obligation to these Veterans, but it also saves the state money - an estimated $1.3 million in its first year of implementation. I am extremely proud of this ambitious bill, which has bipartisan support and is making progress in the MN Senate with a Republican lead author. This bill is scheduled for a hearing on Wednesday, February 17th, at 3 PM. You can catch the live broadcast on the Minnesota House YouTube Channel here.
Bills introduced to support our schools - I have introduced a number of bills that address our students’ and schools’ needs that are awaiting hearings. These bills provide important funding for suicide prevention training to teachers, for online music instruction to supplement music programs in our public schools in collaboration with the MacPhail Center for Music, and adjust the funding formula to target funds where they are most urgently needed.
I am honored to be the lead author on these and a number of other bills that reflect key priorities - supporting our schools, supporting our immigrant communities and victims of domestic violence, and expanding access to justice so that our criminal legal system functions in a way that is thoughtful and humane.