Don’t forget: Daylight Saving Time begins this weekend! As you turn your clocks ahead one hour, it’s also a good idea to check your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors, and if necessary, change the batteries. Given how busy we are, this is an easy thing to forget about, so please take a couple of minutes this weekend and do this simple check to keep everyone in your home safe.
Harriet Tubman Bicentennial
Governor Walz proclaimed yesterday, March 10, as Harriet Tubman Bicentennial Day in the State of Minnesota to commemorate her 200th birthday. Her impacts are immeasurable, and it’s important we all continue to celebrate her contributions to help other slaves escape through the Underground Railroad to end slavery itself in this country, while supporting freedom and liberty for all.
Several of my colleagues joined me on the House Floor yesterday to read the proclamation.
New Economic Forecast
Minnesota Management and Budget officials recently announced a new state budget forecast showing a $9.25 billion budget surplus for the current biennium. The analysis does not incorporate inflationary costs and was assembled before various impacts of the Russian military invasion of Ukraine could be considered.
No matter the size of our budget surplus, families, workers, and small businesses are still counting on us to work together to ensure everyone can experience success and prosperity as we recover from the pandemic. House DFLers are committed to delivering solutions that will help Minnesotans overcome the barriers they continue to face – including rising costs day to day – as they navigate an economy that while improving, is tilted in favor of large corporations and the very wealthiest.
Legislation for Our Community
This time of the legislative session, much of our time is spent in legislative committees, which often have full hearing agendas. Here are a few of my bills on which I’ve had hearings recently:
Today, the House Workforce and Business Development Committee held a hearing on a series of bills to invest in proposed infrastructure projects. I presented several of them for our community including:
I’m hopeful we can come together to pass a strong capital investment package this session including many important projects to create new opportunities here in Saint Paul and across the state.
The agriculture and food production industries aren’t just major pieces of Minnesota’s economy; they are critical to ensuring we all have healthy, nutritious food to eat. Unfortunately, due to persistent drought conditions starting last year, many farmers and ranchers have faced enormous challenges. Yesterday, the House approved significant drought relief legislation to help them recover, with the funding targeted toward the smallest operations, including specialty crop producers who are unable to access federal crop insurance. Many of them are immigrants and those just starting out in agriculture, and have products for sale at our farmers markets.
We also need to recognize the impact of climate change, including extreme weather swings, so it’s imperative we invest in climate resiliency. The bill includes investments to help communities remove and replace impacted trees and prepare for future water challenges, replace seedlings on DNR-managed lands killed by the drought, and to help private forestland owners and tribal and county governments replace seedlings on their lands.
Women’s History Month
March is Women’s History Month! This month gives us an opportunity to celebrate the women who have paved a path to progress and opportunity, while recognizing the work we still have before us to achieve gender equality for all.
The State Government Finance Committee recently held a public hearing on my bill to update Minnesota’s laws to be in compliance with the federal Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). In January, the U.S. House approved a resolution recognizing, due to ratification by 75% of the states, the ERA as the 28th amendment to the United States Constitution. This is a straightforward bill, but it’s a bill that will have a profound impact on women everywhere who deserve equality under the law, under our constitution, and within our culture.
Please feel free to reach out to share your feedback, offer your ideas, or let me know if I can be of help. It’s an honor to represent you.