It’s been another action-packed week here at the Capitol. I’m particularly pleased that three of the bills that I’ve introduced had public hearings! It’s exciting to see progress on these important issues.
Farm to Food Shelf Bill
Many folks rely on food shelves to access fresh produce and milk that they couldn’t otherwise afford. My bill (HF 1096) would provide food produced in Minnesota to these organizations, benefitting farmers, food shelves, and communities. It was heard in the Agriculture and Food Finance and Policy Division on Tuesday. You can watch the public hearing here.
Protecting Minors from Sexual Misconduct
The current statute regarding criminal sexual misconduct by people in authority positions over minors only applies to those who are in a direct position of authority when the offense occurs. My bill (HF 812) would expand that definition to include people who were previously in a position of power and create a 120 day look back period.
Prosecutors have previously been unable to hold teachers or coaches responsible for criminal conduct with students because those employees weren’t teaching or coaching the student when they assaulted them. Expanding the definition would eliminate this loophole and protect children. A video of this hearing is available here.
Resources for Teachers
I’ve also introduced legislation (HF 945) which would expand the definition of “textbook” used when calculating aid for private schools. This might seem like a small change, but this new definition would include teacher’s editions and guides and make it easier for teachers to access the resources they need to be effective in the classroom.
Land Stewardship Project Breakfast
On Tuesday, I attended the 14th Annual Land Stewardship Project breakfast. LSP is an organization that helps maintain and protect Minnesota farmland. They promote sustainable practices that are good for our agricultural communities and supply an abundance of healthy food. You can learn more about LSP at landstewardshipproject.org.
We also discussed the Forever Green Initiative, a program that would develop crops to improve water and soil quality. New winter annual and perennial crops would lead to healthier water and soil and produce food, feed, and fuel products that would help boost the economy. I’m a co-author of HF 962, which would invest in this important work. More information on the Forever Green Initiative is available at forevergreen.umn.edu.
Working Family Tax Credit
Tax credits for working Minnesotans living in poverty have been an extremely popular and effective tool for reducing poverty. I’m proud to be the lead author on HF 1465, which invests in what works by more than doubling the Working Family Credit. Working families would see an average increase of between $1,000 and $3,000 annually, providing real stability in their lives.
As always, please feel free to contact me with your questions and feedback.