The legislature has returned from last week’s recess. We have really been busy at the Capitol, passing bills out of the House Ways and Means Committee and onto the House floor.
As Ways and Means Chair, our committee is the final committee stop to vet bills before they receive a vote on the House floor. The committee voted on a budget outline to use the state’s projected $9.3 billion budget surplus to make sure that no one is left behind, and give Minnesota a historic opportunity to catch up and keep up.
Last week, the Black Maternal Health Caucus held a roundtable to discuss the racial disparities in maternal healthcare in Minnesota. We were able to share our experiences and hear from other Black women. The stories I heard were painful and moving and speak to the amount of work that needs to be done.
Black and Indigenous infants in Minnesota are twice as likely to die before their first birthday than white infants. The disparity between infant mortality rates of Black and White babies is larger than the gap experienced under chattel slavery.
Furthermore, research demonstrates that when Black newborns are cared for by Black physicians, they are less likely to experience death in the hospital setting. According to the research, when Black newborns in the study were cared for by White physicians, Black newborns were approximately three times more likely to die in the hospital than White newborns. But when Black physicians cared for Black mothers, the excess mortality rate dropped by about 50 percent.
This is preventable and unacceptable. Here is a video of the roundtable:
In addition, here is an article from the Minnesota Reformer about the roundtable.
Minnesota has been facing a housing crisis that has only worsened with the pandemic. Minnesotans are struggling with rising housing costs and a shortage of homes and rental properties. This is why House Democrats are focused on helping Minnesotans avoid housing insecurity. The Housing finance bill delivers funds for emergency homeless shelters, housing infrastructure bonds, and the renter and homeowner tax credits and refunds. The bill also includes funding for a three-year pilot program establishing a first-generation homebuyer down payment assistance program. The bill also focuses on affordable housing by producing infrastructure bonds for eligible use, increasing the amount of affordable housing units to cost-burdened households.
House DFLers know BIPOC communities face a disproportionate number of eviction proceedings, that is why the bill would require landlords to provide 14 days’ notice before evicting someone for failing to pay rent. In addition, it also makes it easier to expunge an eviction case from a tenant’s record.
Having a safe and secure place to call home is critical for Minnesotans’ health, economic security, and opportunities for achievement. Stable housing is the foundation for success. Our Housing budget will produce more affordable housing in Minnesota as well as ensure Minnesotans have access to safe and stable housing.
Saint Paul Parks and Recreation and the Public Works team are hosting the 36th annual citywide spring cleanup on Saturday, April 23rd. There will be a cleanup of Frogtown Park and Farm. You can learn more about the event here and you can register here.
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.