With less than six weeks left in the legislative session, we are spending long hours at the Capitol this week. Thank you to everyone who has visited my office in St. Paul. Meeting with constituents, and particularly students, at the Capitol is often the highlight of my day.
Meetings and Events
Yesterday morning I attended the 13th Annual Land Stewardship Project’s Family Farm Breakfast. LSP does great work to foster an ethic of stewardship for farmland, to promote sustainable agriculture and to develop sustainable communities.
(The group at our table included Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson.)
It was nice meeting with the constituents who dropped by this week. It was the Carpenters Union’s Day on the Hill on Tuesday and I had the pleasure of discussing legislative priorities and the importance of building trades with Jon.
Fundraiser for Local Family
I want to pass along information about a fundraiser for Gabe and Taylor McGuire at Jimmy’s Food and Drink from noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday, April 29th. In 2017, not long after Gabe and Taylor had their first child, Gabe was injured and paralyzed in a tree trimming accident. Friends and family are trying to help the McGuire family pay medical bills. You can find more info in the White Bear Press.
Equal Pay Day
April 10th marked Equal Pay Day. Equal Pay Day is the point in the year when the salaries of women finally catch up with men’s salaries from the previous year. In Minnesota, women earn 83 cents for every dollar a man makes, and the gap is much worse for indigenous women and women of color. We have a lot more to do to address this issue.
You can find more information here at the National Women’s Law Center.
Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Yesterday, Governor Dayton urged legislators to fund the Suicide Prevention Lifeline. He wants the legislature to fund a grant program that would help Minnesota nonprofits operate call centers for a Minnesota Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Right now, Minnesota only has one suicide prevention call center answering calls. When that call center reaches capacity, Minnesota calls are routed to other states, which can add an average of three minutes to call response times. About 45 percent of Minnesota calls were routed to other states last year. I support this proposal and hope we can make this funding a priority this year.
DNR Deer Management Plan Meetings
This week the DNR released their Draft White-Tail Deer Management Plan. Deer hunting generates nearly $500 million annually in total economic activity and nearly 15,000 licenses were sold last year in Ramsey County alone.
When the DNR released the draft plan, they announced a public comment period (open through May 9th) and a schedule of 35 meetings across the state to allow the public to talk to local wildlife managers about the plan and ask questions.
Unfortunately, there are currently zero hearings scheduled in Hennepin or Ramsey Counties. I joined with my fellow legislators calling on the DNR to rectify this oversight. I will continue to work on getting a meeting scheduled in Ramsey County so that residents of our area can meaningfully participate in the public comment period.
Top Priorities with Six Weeks Left This Session
We have a lot to do before we adjourn on May 21st. My top priorities will be to pass a robust public infrastructure (bonding) bill that invests in Minnesota, a tax bill that helps all Minnesotans get ahead, and a supplemental budget that invests in the things our community values.
One of those issues will be making sure we fix the Disability Waiver Rate System funding issues affecting people with disabilities. If we don’t address this need, some of the most vulnerable members of our communities will be severely impacted.
I’ve heard from you and I’m committed to making sure the people of our community and the things we value are front and center at the Capitol. Please continue to let me know about the issues you care about and remember to fill out my constituent survey.
Did you know?
One of our Iron Range parks – Hill Annex Mine State Park – is home to fossils, including shark’s teeth! We learned about this park in the Environment and Natural Resources Committee today and I wanted to share this fun summer vacation idea for family fossil hunts!
During these hunts, you’ll look for fossils that were formed 86 million years ago when a sea covered the area. Participants also get to keep anything they find! Tours start the Friday before Memorial Day and run each Friday and Saturday. You can find more info here.
Town Hall Meeting
You’re invited to join me for a Town Hall Meeting on Saturday, April 28. We’ll meet at Little Canada City Hall (515 Little Canada Rd E) from 9:30-11:00 a.m. It will be a good opportunity to share your priorities and get an update on the major issues left to address this legislative session. All constituents are welcome, and I hope to see you there!
As always, please don’t hesitate to contact my office with any questions or concerns.