Neighbors and Friends,
I hope your summer is going well. Many of you are getting ready to send your kids back to school, but let’s enjoy our beautiful weather while it is still here! Here is an update from the Capitol:
New DHS Commissioner
This week Governor Walz named Lutheran Social Services Minnesota President and CEO Jodi Harpstead as the new Department of Human Services (DHS) Commissioner. DHS is a large and complex department and comprises the largest part of our state budget. I have had the privilege of working with Ms. Harpstead many times over the years on housing issues and she was an excellent choice for this position.
Insulin Affordability Roundtable
The high cost of insulin was the topic of a roundtable meeting this week at the Capitol. Emotional testimony was given by those directly impacted by the soaring cost of insulin. The Minnesota House passed a bill this session that would help diabetics afford insulin that they rely on to live. The Minnesota Senate did not approve the bill. Those attending the roundtable implored lawmakers to reach an agreement on how to provide assistance with purchasing insulin and supplies.
Restore the Vote
Restoring voting rights for felons who have served their time was discussed at a meeting this week at the University of Minnesota. Majority Leader Winkler and a bipartisan group of lawmakers heard from advocates, and those impacted about the next steps in the effort to restore the vote for Minnesotans who have served their sentences and are living in the community. Legislation to restore the vote was blocked by Senate Republicans during the 2019 session.
League of Minnesota Cities Award
I was honored to be named a League of Minnesota Cities Legislator of Distinction for 2019. The League sent a letter with the award stating that they are appreciative of my accessibility and consultation with them on legislation impacting cities, specifically efforts to champion resources for affordable housing programs utilized by cities.
If you would like to reach me during the interim, feel free to call my legislative assistant Blake Wilcox at 651-296-8803.
Thank you for the privilege of representing you in the legislature.