With our first month of the legislative session complete, the policies and investments we’ll be championing are beginning to take shape. Here’s the latest on our work in the Minnesota House.
The Impacts of Climate Change
As a member of the House Climate and Energy Finance and Policy Committee, last week saw two combined committee hearings where we were able to consider the impact and possible solutions to climate change in both the Preventive Health Division and the Capital Investment Committee.
Climate change has many direct and indirect effects on public health, as shown during last Wednesday’s Preventive Health Division hearing. Testimony from multiple medical and climate professionals drove home what is unfortunately still a debated topic at the legislature - the science around climate change is sound, and its impacts are very real. We will continue to see greater rates of asthma, allergies, heat-related illnesses, waterborne illnesses, and other health risks as our climate continues to change. This was an incredibly insightful hearing that laid the groundwork for future solutions. If you’re interested, you can watch that hearing here.
On Friday, we held a joint hearing with the Capital Investment Committee to view the funding of community projects through the lens of climate change. We’re currently experiencing low interest rates and an excellent bond rating for our state, both of which are good indicators that Minnesota is ready for a robust and climate-responsible bonding bill. Throw in that these projects would mean jobs and resources for our communities as we prepare to bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic, and there’s no reason to think Minnesota shouldn’t pass a bonding bill that also promotes climate change solutions this biennium.
The Democracy for the People Act
Minnesota is consistently among the leading states in the nation when it comes to voter turnout, but that doesn’t mean our elections system is without disparities and obstacles. This year, the House DFL is introducing the Democracy for the People Act, which aims to strengthen and protect our democracy by expanding voter registration and absentee voting, establishing more ballot drop box and return sites, prohibiting harassment and intimidation of voters and election officials, reducing the influence of corporations and dark money, and creating more opportunities for Minnesotans to get involved.