My thoughts are with the family and loved ones of Daunte Wright and all Minnesotans who are grieving his tragic death.
Last summer, in the wake of George Floyd’s death, the Legislature passed several police accountability and reform measures, including a tougher standard for when police can use deadly force, bans on “warrior training” and choke holds, a duty to intercede, investigation and arbitration reform, and expanded training. This was a start, but it’s not enough. We can and should do more to ensure that every Minnesotan - no matter where they live or what they look like – makes it home safely at the end of the day.
Members of the People of Color and Indigenous (POCI) Caucus and the United Black Legislative Caucus (UBLC) are leading efforts to determine our next steps. I’m standing with them to support measures that are contained in the Public Safety budget and additional steps that would help keep our communities safe by:
Developing a Strong, Equitable Budget
In addition to fighting for safe communities and a fair justice system, my colleagues and I are working hard to develop a strong, equitable budget for the next two years. Based on feedback from Minnesotans, House DFLers compiled comprehensive budget and policy proposals – often called “omnibus bills” - that contain individual bills we heard throughout the legislative session. We’re advancing detailed plans for each area of the budget (Education, Health and Human Services, Public Safety, and so on) that will help Minnesotans weather what’s left of the pandemic and thrive after it ends.
We’ve spent the past two weeks vetting the budget bills, adopting amendments, and, most importantly, hearing from Minnesotans. This week, we’ll start considering them on the House floor! If you’d like to learn more about our proposals, I recommend checking out the articles published by Session Daily. Each one has a nonpartisan summary of the bill and links to more information. You can also watch the public hearings we’ve held on House Public Information Services’ YouTube channel. I’ll continue sharing information about the various budget bills as well as updates on our progress, so please stay tuned.
Investing in the Youngest Minnesotans
Increasing the availability of early care and learning is one way that we can help close Minnesota’s persistent opportunity gap and ensure that all children have the chance to succeed. Our Early Childhood budget invests in high-quality child care for young Minnesotans who need it most. It contains funding for early learning scholarships for low-income children, support for child care providers, and more. I’m happy to report that several bills I authored were incorporated, including:
Protecting Minnesota’s Environment and Natural Resources
I’m also excited about the budget that I helped put together as Vice Chair of the Environment and Natural Resources Finance and Policy Committee. The Environment and Natural Resources budget addresses several significant threats to our state, including COVID-19, climate change, pollution, and invasive species. It contains funding to protect our air, water, land, and wildlife, as well as Minnesotans’ health and wellbeing. It also contains legislation I introduced, including:
There are also provisions in the bill that could help prevent a Water Gremlin situation from happening in another community, including language that strengthens the MPCA’s ability to enforce permit terms and stipulation agreements. If a facility is polluting, the MPCA would be able to shut it down until the agency determines they’ll stop. The agency could also shut down facilities, revoke permits, or take corrective action if a facility falsifies records or is repeatedly noncompliant. The legislation contains funding to further evaluate the use and reduction of TCE and identify its potential health effects, bolster the MPCA’s permitting and regulatory processes, and purchase air emissions monitoring equipment as well. Finally, the bill requires parties who enter into a negotiated agreement with the MPCA to reimburse the agency for oversight costs associated with implementing it that exceed $25,000. Several of these provisions came out of conversations with the Neighborhood Concerned Citizens Group (NCCG) and other community members.
Stay in Touch
Finally, I’d like to thank everyone who participated in my virtual town hall on Saturday. I appreciate the questions and feedback that you shared! If you weren’t able to join us, you can watch the entire event here.
Please feel free to share questions, ideas, and feedback. You can contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 651-296-3018.