It’s been a busy few weeks at the Capitol. The first committee deadline is on Friday, with more deadlines in the following weeks. Committees are meeting long hours to work through bills. See below for information on several issues and two upcoming chances to connect.
Chat with Dave – Sunday, March 17
The next Chat with Dave – an informal conversation with neighbors about legislative issues – will be held on Sunday, March 17 from 1:30 - 3:00pm at Highland Park Community Center, located at 1978 Ford Parkway in St. Paul. Please join us!
Senate District 64 Town Hall – Saturday, March 23
Less than a week after the Chat, please join Sen. Dick Cohen, Rep. Kaohly Her, and me for a Senate District 64 town hall. It’ll be on Saturday, March 23 from 9:30 - 11am at Central High School, located at 275 Lexington Parkway N. in St. Paul. We’ll share updates from the Capitol and answer questions.
Historic Progress for Gun Safety
For several years, I’ve advanced two proposals to help keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people. One (HF 8) would require criminal background checks on all gun sales. The other (HF 9), now authored by my colleague Rep. Ruth Richardson, would authorize temporary court orders to remove firearms from individuals proven to be a significant danger. I’m delighted to let you know that these proposals have now advanced through House committees – the first time in years that such strong action has advanced so far. You can watch the moving testimony from the public hearing of the Public Safety and Criminal Justice Reform Finance & Policy Division here.
Addressing the Crises in Early Care and Learning
On March 1, the Early Childhood Finance & Policy Division – which I chair – held a joint hearing in St. Cloud with the House Jobs & Economic Development Committee to hear testimony on the child care crisis affecting families and economies throughout Minnesota. This was the first time that committees focused on early childhood and jobs have held such a joint hearing. A video is available here.
In the meantime, the Great Start for All Minnesota Children Act (HF 1) continues to move forward. This proposal would invest in prenatal care, expand home visiting programs, and increase support for early learning and development. Much will depend on budget targets, to be announced on March 25. Stay tuned for more then.
Revised Budget Forecast Shows Tighter Finances
The major work of this legislative session is establishing a two-year budget starting July 1, 2019. This work got a little more difficult with the recent release of a revised economic forecast showing about a $1 billion surplus on the bottom line – one-third less than the nearly $1.5 billion budget surplus projected in November. Note that the state doesn’t factor inflationary costs into its budget projections; inflation is expected to be more than $1 billion, exceeding the surplus.
Equal Rights Amendment
Finally, another historic achievement. Late last week, the House approved a proposal (HF 13) for a statewide vote on an Equal Rights Amendment – an amendment to Minnesota’s constitution to provide for equal protection under the law on account of gender. I was proud to speak on behalf of the amendment, emphasizing the responsibility of men to speak up for an equal partnership with women. Check out the video and this great photo of my colleagues gathered before the vote.
As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns. Thank you for the honor of serving our community.
State Representative, District 64B
439 State Office Building