The 2020 legislative session is underway. It’s great to be back to work in Saint Paul and I’m committed to the priorities we all share, like world-class schools, economic security for working families, affordable health care, and safe, thriving communities.
Shortly before the legislative session, I sat down with House Public Information Services to discuss our district and my work at the Capitol. You can watch this video here.
Rail transportation is critically important to our economy, but we have an obligation to ensure the safety of those who work on trains, in railyards, and people living in communities near tracks, which often carry hazardous materials. Last week, I presented a pair of bills to the House Transportation Committee to strengthen rail safety in Minnesota. HF 2986 sets requirements for the state rail safety inspection program administered by the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) to monitor railroad safety and perform rail inspections. MnDOT would be required to establish a standardized process by which violations would be reported and investigated.
HF 2987 would require rail carriers to conduct at least two live evacuation drills each year. While rail companies also have developed plans for their rail yards in case of an emergency, the crews who work within those rail yards often don’t participate in emergency drills even though potentially dangerous materials come through those yards. During the committee hearing, one rail conductor noted that in 14 years on the job, he’s never participated in an emergency drill. Rail companies have a responsibility to maintain safe environments, and both of these bills will help ensure safety for both dedicated railroad workers and for our local communities.
All Minnesota children deserve a great start in life. Unfortunately, too many families find affordable child care spots limited, and early education opportunities aren’t keeping up with the demand. My House DFL colleagues and I have introduced the Great Start for All Minnesota Children Act which would boost investments in early learning scholarships, child care assistance, voluntary pre-K programs and other strategies to ensure our youngest learners are equipped to achieve in the classroom and succeed later on in life.
These investments aren’t just good for children, they are good for our economy as well. Too many child care providers are struggling to stay in business with low reimbursement rates, and a lack of access to affordable child care prevents parents from entering the workforce. For every dollar we invest in early learning, research shows a return of as much as $16 to our economy. All Minnesota children deserve the opportunity to have a great start in life and I strongly support this package of key investments in Minnesota’s future.
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Please feel free to contact me with your input and feedback. My phone number at the Capitol is 651-296-4308 and email is firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s an honor to represent you.