The 2020 legislative session began last week, and we’re off to a busy start! During my first week at the Capitol, I introduced new legislation, met with community members, and attended several events in addition to participating in committee hearings and House floor sessions.
Support for Public Lands
I was on a panel about public lands at Pheasant Fest this weekend! As a legislator, member of the Outdoor Heritage Council, and hunter who utilizes public lands, it was really rewarding to share my perspective. I also visited with members of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers on Thursday at a “pre-game” before Pheasant Fest officially kicked off.
New Plan to Protect Minnesotans from Toxic Chemicals
On Thursday, my House colleagues and I introduced a new plan to make sure communities are protected from companies like Water Gremlin in the future. With input from many community members, we assembled a package of legislation that protects workers, communities, and the environment. Our plan addresses many of the concerns that Minnesotans shared with us and other legislators whose communities were impacted by the problems at Water Gremlin. Here are some of the highlights:
- A statewide ban on trichloroethylene (TCE)
- Greater public access to information about environmental hazards
- Opportunities for community members to provide input on non-expiring permits and pending settlement agreements
- More frequent and rigorous testing and expanded reporting requirements for facilities with potential air pollutants
- Clearer authority and better tools that will help state agencies enforce existing laws and permits
- Stronger protections for workers
If you’d like to learn more about our plan, a fact sheet with more details is available here. You can read a WCCO article about it here.
Outdoor Heritage Fund Bill Passes First Committee
On Thursday, the Outdoor Heritage Fund appropriation bill I’m carrying passed out of its first committee! HF 3128 invests $137.5 million from the Outdoor Heritage Fund in 42 projects that would restore and protect prairies, forests, wetlands, and habitat across Minnesota. The Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council, a bipartisan group of citizens and legislators, recommended funding these high-priority projects after reviewing $324.6 million of funding requests. Click here for more information about the projects and how they’re chosen.
I’ve really enjoyed learning about the amazing projects funded by our state’s Legacy Amendment during my first year on the Outdoor Heritage Council, and I want other Minnesotans to have that same opportunity. I’m fighting to get all council meetings livestreamed and recorded so folks can follow our work and hold us accountable for the decisions we make. A MinnPost article about my efforts is available here.
Other Legislation I’m Carrying
New bills that I’ve introduced this session would:
- Create a trade-in program so Minnesotans could exchange lead fishing tackle for nontoxic alternatives (HF 3220)
- Require diaper changing stations in publicly accessible bathrooms (HF 3222)
- Modify membership requirements for the Board of Animal Health so it better represents the interests of Minnesotans instead of for-profit industry (HF 2973)
A full list of the bills that I’m carrying this biennium is available here.
Support for Early Care and Learning
All Minnesota children deserve a great start in life, but far too many families can’t find affordable, high-quality child care or access early learning opportunities that help kids succeed in the classroom and later in life. Early care and learning shortages prevent children from reaching their full potential and contribute to Minnesota’s persistent opportunity gap. On Monday, my colleagues and I unveiled one of our priorities for the legislative session – the Great Start for All Minnesota Children Act. This bill invests in early learning scholarships for our youngest Minnesotans, child care assistance, voluntary pre-K programs, and other proven strategies.
These critical investments would help thousands of Minnesota children get the great start in life that they deserve. They’re also good for our economy. The Great Start Act would help child care providers stay in business and ensure that parents can work, businesses can hire, and communities can thrive now and for years to come. You can read more about it here.
Stay in Touch
If you’d like to stay informed about what’s happening at the Capitol, House Public Information Services is a great, nonpartisan source for coverage of public hearings, information about bills, daily schedules, and more. You can sign up to receive regular updates here or follow them on Facebook and Twitter.
Thank you for subscribing to my email list! If you have any friends, neighbors, or coworkers who may be interested in getting these updates, please share this email and let them know that they can sign up here. As always, please feel free to share questions or feedback.