Spring is always a time of hope and renewal. As the new season begins this weekend, I hope you can enjoy our warmer temperatures. We’ve earned a respite from the cold! Here is an update from the Capitol.
Many of you follow our work on early childhood, and since I serve as vice chair of the House Early Childhood Finance & Policy Committee, I thought you may be interested in tuning in to the virtual listening session the evening of March 23 to learn about the Great Start for All Minnesota Children Task Force. You can learn the details here. Also, this recent article in the Star Tribune, and op-ed by Lori Sturdevant, talks about the urgent need to invest in early care and learning.
Wednesday in Health Finance & Policy committee, we heard a bill to fund safe harbor grants aiding young people, children as young as 10, who are victims of sex trafficking. We can all agree the trafficking of another human being is unacceptable and trafficking of a young person is especially egregious. Funding of this program would help fund navigators and others who can help stop this tragedy.
The House passed legislation updating the Hometown Heroes Assistance Program. Our firefighters face high incidences of cancer, cardiac issues, and emotional trauma. The new program, which lawmakers enacted in 2021, provides firefighters access to education, prevention, and care to address cardiac conditions, emotional trauma, or cancer diagnoses. The Hometown Heroes Assistance Program is the most comprehensive of its kind in the nation and offers free access for firefighters to emotional trauma resources, up-to-$20,000 from critical illness insurance policies, and ongoing health and wellness training.
Staffing for Long-Term Care
Thursday, the Minnesota House approved a bill allowing the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) to establish a temporary staffing pool for long-term care facilities and other facilities and programs experiencing an emergency staffing crisis. The bill also allows DHS and the Minnesota Department of Health to reinstate a series of waivers to provide flexibility and remove barriers toward delivering services. We are experiencing a critical workforce shortage in the areas of care where the most vulnerable rely on services. I voted to support our workers in care facilities who need assistance to care for our older loved ones or those with disabilities.
Women’s History Month We celebrate Women’s History Month in March, and you may be interested to read about several bills we are working on to improve the lives of women across the state:
While many mask mandates have been lifted, it’s still important to receive the COVID-19 vaccination and booster to keep you and your family safe. If you’re not feeling well, get tested. You can still order up to four free COVID tests for your household. Go to this link to order your test kits and many more resources.
Stay connected with the legislature
The Minnesota House of Representatives Public Information Services offers nonpartisan recaps of high-profile bills, committee hearings, and floor sessions with their Session Daily publication. Subscribe to receive these here. To track bills of interest through the legislative process, I encourage you to utilize the MyBills feature on the Minnesota House of Representatives’ website here.
Please continue to reach out with any input, ideas, or feedback about the issues important to you. I value hearing from you, so please don’t hesitate to call or email me any time. You can also connect with me on Facebook here. It’s an honor to represent you at the State Capitol.