We’ve reached the halfway point of the legislative session! For the next two months, we’ll be focusing on creating a state budget that works for all Minnesotans.
On Monday, my House DFL colleagues and I announced a framework for the Minnesota Values Budget. Our budget includes investments in education, affordable health care, and safe and inclusive communities. These are things that Minnesotans have told us matter to them, and I believe the budget should reflect our values. Stay tuned next week for more details!
Investing in Early Childhood
We know that early childhood programs have positive impacts on children, families, and communities. As a member of the Early Childhood Division, I’ve spent months working to ensure that we pass good policy that helps all Minnesota kids off to a great start. Last night the committee approved two division reports – plans that contain several individual bills.
I’m proud that my proposal to offer grants to child care professionals (HF 2264) was included in one of the division reports! This plan (HF 1801, as amended) would increase child care funding to allow nearly 2,000 families to get off waiting lists. It would also help address Minnesota’s child care shortage by raising the reimbursement rate for providers and providing loans to expand child care facilities. The bill also contains measures to ensure program integrity and prevent misuse of funds.
The other division report (HF 2610, as amended) would preserve preschool access for 4,000 kids by making School Readiness Plus, which is set to expire, a permanent program. Increased early learning scholarships and support for programs to create college savings accounts at birth are also priorities.
I heard many concerns about school safety on the campaign trail. I’ve proposed creating school safety assessment teams to prevent violence and create a safer school climate for all students (HF 566). These teams would allow schools to be proactive instead of reactive and encourage nuanced discussion about threatening behavior. They would also connect students with underlying behavioral or mental health issues to the resources that they need to address them.
The Education Finance Division held a public hearing for this bill on Tuesday. Video is available here.
Supporting the Center for Victims of Torture
The Center for Victims of Torture (CVT) is an organization that provides survivors of torture with the care and resources they need to heal. I’ve introduced a bill to fund a collaboration between CVT and the Minnesota Department of Human Services (HF 1875). The legislation would expand a behavioral health program to three new sites in Minnesota and explore whether CVT’s social functioning tool can be adapted to work with individuals enrolled in the Medical Assistance program.
My bill to ban trichloroethylene (TCE), a dangerous chemical that has caused concerns in our community, will be heard on the House floor on Monday. You are welcome to come to the Capitol at 3:30 p.m. to see the vote in person or watch live here. I’m looking forward to presenting a bill to all of my colleagues for the first time and confident that they’ll support these efforts to protect the health of Minnesotans.
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