I hope you’re having a good week. Our work continues at the Capitol. Here’s an update on some of the current issues moving through the House:
Relief for Frontline Workers
The Legislature recently passed, with my support, a bipartisan measure to extend the law providing a presumption that if public safety or health care workers contract COVID-19, they did so during their employment and are covered by workers’ compensation. The legislation passed on a vote of 124-8.
The previous law allowing for this presumption expired on December 31, 2021. The new bill would extend the presumption to January 13, 2023, and will impact firefighters; peace and police officers; paramedics; EMTs; health care providers, nurses or assistive employees in a health care, home care or long-term care setting who work with COVID-19 patients; correctional officers or security counselors at correctional facilities; and childcare providers who are required to provide childcare for the children of first responders and health care workers under the Governor’s Executive Orders.
After hearing from firefighters and their families across the state about higher incidences of cancer, cardiac deaths, and emotional trauma, we took bipartisan action last year to address the shortcomings they're facing in health care. Grateful to all our hometown heroes for their work to keep us safe. #ForAHealthyThrivingMinnesota
Hazard Pay for Workers and Economic Security for Small Businesses
The House Workforce and Business Development Finance and Policy Committee heard testimony on two key pieces of legislation last week: HF 2900, which provides hazard pay to thousands of frontline workers, and HF 1035, which would appropriate $1.2 billion to settle the state’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund debt. Both passed out of the committee. We know workers and main street businesses have made many sacrifices to keep us safe while risking their own safety and livelihoods. I believe we can and should deliver relief to both.
Public Safety Investments
The House recently wrapped up a series of public hearings for a public safety proposal to dedicate $100 million in ongoing investments for public safety innovation and law enforcement. That includes funding for hiring and retaining investigatory personnel and training them to analyze violent crime, specifically regarding the use of intelligence information of criminal networks, including gangs and geographic areas. Those funds could also be used to purchase evidence processing technology and equipment, and resources to victims and their families.
I was proud to join Shorewood Mayor Jennifer Labadie at a hearing about pedestrian safety in the House Transportation Committee. We were invited to discuss my bill to create a trail and safe passage along Galpin Lake Road/Hwy 7 to County Road 19 into Excelsior. Residents and the mayor and council have advocated for this project for years - let’s get it done and help make our communities safer and more walkable and bikeable!
Health Support in Schools
The House Education Finance Committee recently heard from educators and mental health professionals about the recent mental health crisis our students and school staff are facing. Although this is not a new issue, it’s critically important we invest in solutions to address these widening mental health gaps, which have grown over the past two years. I’m continuing legislative work to expand access and support kids’ mental health with legislation that offers annual mental health screening in school and increases school mental health staff like psychologists, nurses, counselors. I really appreciate the collaboration I’ve had with parents and school staff in our community and our shared commitment to getting our kids the resources they need to be successful in and out of the classroom.
Inspiring conversation with leaders from the School Nurse Organization of Minnesota! They live the intersection of education and health and play a critical role in kids’ educational experience and well-being. #ThankYouSchoolNurses #ForAHealthyThrivingMinnesota
Over 100,000 Americans died last year of drug overdoses and our kids are not immune. Having Narcan in our schools can prevent fatal overdoses, which is why I've authored legislation that requires schools to maintain a supply of opiate antagonists at each site.
We received compelling testimony from my constituent Colleen Ronnei to get naloxone in our schools to save lives from overdose. It passed 17-1 to go to its next stop on a strong bipartisan vote!
Keep in Touch
Please continue to reach out anytime at email@example.com or 651-296-4315 to ask questions, share input, or let me know how I can be of assistance.
It’s an honor to work with you and our community members at the State Capitol.