Legislators are working on a new, two-year budget that will help all Minnesotans recover from the difficulties of the past year and lay the foundation for long-term success. We’ve passed six bipartisan budget bills in the House, and several other bills are finished and ready to head to the floor for debate and passage. Please continue reading these updates and following my official Facebook page for the latest news on our progress.
Supporting Clean Energy and Consumer Protections
As one of the fastest warming states in the country, Minnesota is already experiencing impacts of climate change. To address this crisis, our Commerce, Climate and Energy budget invests in several clean energy initiatives. I’m particularly excited about Solar on Schools, a new grant program that will help school districts install solar energy systems on their buildings. This will reduce schools’ electricity costs – which are often their second largest expense – and create educational opportunities for students. The clean energy initiatives and energy efficiency projects that the budget funds will help the Minnesotans most impacted by climate change, lower costs, and create well-paying jobs.
The Commerce portion of the budget addresses catalytic converter theft, an issue that’s come up in conversations with community members. It creates new tools for law enforcement, scrap metal dealers, and vehicle owners, like adding identification numbers and unique markers to deter theft, and establishes a pilot program to identify the vehicles most likely to be targeted. This will make it harder to sell stolen parts and help keep Minnesotans’ cars intact. The budget also includes a Student Loan Borrower Bill of Rights that will protect students and their families from predatory loan servicers and lending practices. I was proud to cast my vote for this portion of the budget!
Did you know that an estimated one out of every three bites of food we eat exists because of pollinators like bees, butterflies, and bats? To say thanks, we can plant native plants, support local farmers, and educate others about the importance of pollinators! This week – Pollinator Week – is a great time to start. If you’d like more information about protecting our pollinators, I encourage you to visit the Board of Water and Soil Resources’ website.
On Monday, my colleagues and I distributed pollinator-friendly plants in honor of Pollinator Week.
This week, I’m introducing a new feature – Community Spotlight – where I will highlight some of the people and places that make our community a great place to live, work, and play. Today, I’m spotlighting Zeus Electric Chassis. I had the opportunity to visit this White Bear Township-based company that manufactures electric work trucks last week. Zeus has created jobs in our area, and they work with companies that provide good-paying jobs in other Minnesota communities as well. I was able to speak with several employees and see one of the vehicles in action during the tour. Learning more about their plans for the future and the clean vehicles they make was fascinating!
Make Your Voice Heard
Join a Community Conversation
Many Faces of the White Bear Lake Area is partnering with the Minnesota Humanities Center to host a series of conversations about how community members experience and recognize racism. The goal is to learn how racism impacts our community and how we can educate ourselves and lead efforts to create a more welcoming and inclusive community for all.
I attended the first conversation in this four-part series last night. If you’re interested in listening to and learning from neighbors of color, I encourage you to consider going as well. You can find dates and more information about each conversation here. Registering in advance is encouraged.
Please continue to reach out with questions or ideas. I appreciate hearing your input.