I hope you’re enjoying the first few days of spring! It’s been an exciting week here at the Capitol. Here’s an update on the progress we’ve made, including details on some of the important bills that we passed in the House.
Action on TCE from Governor Walz
Governor Walz released his revised budget recommendations earlier today. I was pleased to see the addition of funding to reduce the use of TCE across the state and address public health concerns. The governor proposed conducting a statewide evaluation, working with facilities with permits to reduce or eliminate TCE use, and increasing oversight of these facilities when appropriate. The state will also work with communities like ours to develop better outreach and health screening tools.
I’m supportive of these goals, and look forward to working with Governor Walz to protect the health of Minnesotans.
Protecting Minnesotans from Sexual Harassment
More than 80 percent of women report being sexually harassed in the workplace. Our current sexual harassment laws don’t do enough to protect Minnesotans where they live and work. Yesterday the House considered legislation to change the high “severe or pervasive” threshold that often keeps those who’ve experienced harassment from seeking or receiving justice (HF 10). Changing the definition of sexual harassment will remove the barriers to holding perpetrators and workplaces accountable and make us all safer. I was thrilled to be able to vote yes on this bill and to see it pass the House!
Rep. Kelly Moller, the author of HF 10, shared a heartbreaking story about a woman named Ami who inspired her to work on this issue.
Addressing the Opioid Epidemic
The number of opioid-related deaths has risen every year since 2010, and the opioid epidemic is only getting worse. It’s time we take action to address this crisis and prevent further fatalities. On Monday, the House voted in favor of investing in prevention, treatment, and recovery services and asking the opioid manufacturers and distributors who created this crisis to be a part of the solution (HF 400).
Minnesotans who have lost loved ones to addiction or distracted drivers came to the Capitol to support these bills.
Distracted Driving Prevention
The House also passed legislation to curb distracted driving (HF 50), which is a factor in one in five crashes according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. The bill would require drivers to use their cell phones in hands-free mode, ensuring that their attention is on the road. Hands-free cell phone laws have successfully decreased accident and fatality rates in other states. We should adopt them in Minnesota and make our roads safer for everyone.
Please continue to share your thoughts as the legislative session continues.