We hit the ground running when the 2020 legislative session began last week! Here’s the latest news from the Capitol:
Introducing the Great Start for All Minnesota Children Act
On Monday, my House DFL colleagues and I introduced the Great Start for All Minnesota Children Act, a bold plan to invest $500 million in our youngest Minnesotans. Children, families, and child care providers all stand to benefit from this proposal. Critical investments in early learning scholarships, child care assistance, and voluntary pre-K would give thousands of children the chance to succeed, both now and long into the future.
Investing in early care and learning benefits us all. Alleviating our state’s child care shortage would make it easier for parents to find affordable, high-quality care for their little ones. That means that parents who want to can work, businesses can hire, and communities can thrive. More information about the Great Start for All Minnesota Children Act is available here. You can also watch the press conference where we unveiled it here.
New Legislation to Address the Climate Crisis
My House DFL colleagues and I also introduced new legislation to address the climate crisis. I’m proud to be the author of part of the plan, a bill that provides grants to help Minnesotans make their homes more energy efficient. It would reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help people save on their utility bills. Other bills would benefit public schools, nursing homes, and local governments. A fact sheet with more information is available here.
Our plan was inspired by the series of community conversations that the Climate Action Caucus held during the recess. It includes feedback and suggestions that Minnesotans shared with us, and it allows people to participate directly in solutions that address the climate crisis.
Protecting Workers, Communities, and the Environment
Last week I introduced a plan to prevent problems like the ones that occurred at Water Gremlin. The plan contains multiple bills because it’s designed to address numerous concerns that community members shared with me and other legislators. I’ll continue to provide updates as these bills move through the legislative process, but here’s a list that you can use if you’d like more information about a specific bill:
- HF 3376: bans TCE statewide
- HF 3377: requires facilities with potential air pollutants to undergo more frequent and rigorous testing and expands reporting requirements
- HF 3378: requires community engagement before settlement agreements are reached
- HF 3470: creates a pathway for filing criminal charges against polluters and increases penalties for those found guilty of certain felonies, including some permit and rule violations
- HF 3471: protects workers and their families and stipulates that training for employees must be provided in a language that they understand
- HF 3472: offers incentives to encourage people to come forward if facilities are committing violations or putting workers and community members at risk
- HF 3473: asks schools to notify students, parents, and staff about environmental hazards that may affect their health
- HF 3057: provides opportunities for community members to share feedback and ask questions about nonexpiring permits
- HF 3058: calls for assessing cumulative impacts to communities when issuing air quality permits
The White Bear Press recently published an article about our plan. It’s available here if you’re interested. A few additional bills will be introduced soon, so please stay tuned for updates!
Make Your Voice Heard
Season Two of the Minnesota Values Podcast
The Minnesota Values Podcast is back for a second season! In the latest episode, my colleagues Rep. Liz Olson and Rep. Jamie Long interview a small business owner and a physician about what our future could look like if all Minnesotans had access to paid family and medical leave. Listen at https://anchor.fm/mnvaluespod or anywhere podcasts are available, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and Stitcher.
The Minnesota Values Podcast highlights the stories of Minnesotans because that’s what drives action at the Capitol and in our communities. Please feel free to contact me if you’d like to share your thoughts on paid family and medical leave or other issues that are important to you.