Below are some recent updates on what I’ve been working on.
Prohibition on Lead Ammunition
A few weeks ago I announced an important environmental piece of legislation I’m carrying. HF 1356 would prohibit the use of lead ammunition for deer hunting. Lead is a neurotoxin that's unsafe at any level. When people eat venison shot by lead ammunition, it creates potential for lead consumption, which could be especially dangerous for children and breastfeeding mothers. In addition, every year we see untold numbers of bald eagles and other raptors poisoned by lead. To protect our children, our environment and wildlife, it’s important to make this change.
You can read my press release about the bill here “Becker-Finn Aims to Protect Venison, Bald Eagles.”
Protecting the Environmental Quality Board (EQB)
Last week in the Environment Committee we heard HF 1291, which would among other permitting changes, eliminate the Environmental Quality Board (EQB). The EQB is made up of nine state agency heads and five citizen members, and their duties include providing leadership and coordination regarding priority environmental issues such as climate change and silica sand mining. HF 1291 would eliminate the EQB altogether, which I oppose and voted against in committee.
HF 1291 would also allow those with more money the ability to pay for their own environmental reviews and the ability to pay for priority treatment over other permit-seekers. You can watch me voice my concerns in committee here:
Preemption Passes the House
On Thursday, the Minnesota House passed HF 600, which would pre-empt local governments from setting workplace policies for their own cities. If enacted, it would prevent local communities from setting pro-worker policies such as earned sick leave, paid family leave, fair scheduling, a higher minimum wage, and other policies. The bill would also roll back earned sick time for 150,000 Minnesotans, and prevent future wage and benefit increases in communities across the state.
Committee hearings on HF 600 drew strong criticism from a broad variety of Minnesotans including nurses, faith leaders, parents, labor leaders, city officials, neighborhood groups, and workers. Governor Dayton has said he would veto the legislation. While I voted against the bill, it passed 76-53.
You can watch my concerns about the bill here:
In the legislature we have a set of self-imposed deadlines for bills to make it through the committee process or they “die” for the year. The first deadline, for policy bills to be out of their policy committee, is this Friday at midnight. The next two Fridays bring the second and third deadlines. While a few committees aren’t subject to these deadlines, such as Taxes, we’re going to start to see many policy initiatives end for the year after Friday.
It’s going to be a busy month, but I’m excited to be your voice on the issues that matter to you. Please don’t hesitate to contact me about any issues or concerns you may have.
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