You’ve likely heard or seen on the news that Derek Chauvin was found guilty last week. While I’m relieved he’ll be held accountable for the death of George Floyd, this won’t bring Mr. Floyd back to his family and friends. The verdict is the first step towards justice, but there is much more work to be done.
To truly achieve justice, we need to address persistent inequalities in every part of society, starting with our public safety and criminal justice system. Black Minnesotans experience discrimination and negative outcomes in education, health care, housing, employment, and other areas far too often. As Minnesotans, we must come together to bridge these gaps, eradicate racist practices, and build stronger, more equitable communities where everyone can thrive.
On Wednesday, the House approved the Public Safety budget that I outlined in my last email. The omnibus bill contains funding for law enforcement and practical reforms to make Minnesotans safer and help officers earn the trust of the communities that they serve. The bill also strengthens Minnesota’s criminal sexual conduct laws. For example, it closes the “voluntary intoxication” loophole, one of the legal issues that prevents survivors of sexual assault from seeking justice.
Action on Budget Bills
The House passed several major bills last week, including part of the Early Childhood budget and the Environment and Natural Resources budget that I covered in my latest update. Here are some of the highlights:
Investing In Education
On Monday, the House passed our E-12 Education budget. While I’m especially proud of the investments that we’re making in early care and learning, there are plenty of things to be excited about in the bill. Many of our students have had a difficult year, and this bill provides the academic and emotional support they need to bounce back. It provides ongoing funding for every child in every public school, with additional funds to help close the opportunity gap and increase the number of teachers of color.
We also passed our Higher Education budget, which holds tuition flat at Minnesota State campuses, increases funding for the state grant program, expands the ranks of career and technical education instructors in our high schools, and more. Together, these two budgets will help prepare Minnesotans for success in school and in the workforce.
Protecting Minnesotans’ Economic Security
On Wednesday, we passed a budget that contains our Commerce and Climate and Energy proposals. The Commerce portion of the bill prioritizes consumer protection measures, which would shield Minnesotans from those who try to take advantage of others for their own financial gain. It addresses catalytic converter theft, protects borrowers from predatory pay day lending practices, establishes a Student Borrower’s Bill of Rights, prohibits price gouging of essential goods during times of emergency, and creates a Prescription Drug Affordability Board to help drive down prices. The bill also includes my plan to prohibit garnishment of COVID-19 stimulus payments.
Addressing the Climate Crisis
The Climate and Energy portion of the bill is an ambitious plan to address the climate crisis. As one of the fastest warming states in the nation, Minnesota needs to take action on this issue. Our budget puts Minnesota on a path to reach 100 percent clean energy by 2050 while creating good-paying jobs, affordable energy, and new industries. The bill ensures that all Minnesotans – especially those who are disproportionately impacted by climate change – will be able to access these benefits, and invests in several important initiatives, including energy efficiency, solar manufacturing, electric cars and buses, and home weatherization.
Please feel free to call or email me if you have any questions or feedback that you’d like to share. You can reach me at 651-296-3018 or firstname.lastname@example.org.