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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Ami Wazlawik (DFL)

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Legislative Update - New Laws Taking Effect

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Dear neighbors,

I hope you and your loved ones are staying safe and cool! I wanted to provide a quick update from the Capitol and share some information that may be useful.  

Overview of the Commerce and Energy Budget  

Minnesota is in the midst of a heat wave and the worst drought we’ve experienced in years. Last week, air quality alerts were issued for most of the state due to smoke from wildfires in Canada and the western United States. This isn’t a coincidence; we’re experiencing more severe weather and natural disasters because of climate change. Minnesota is one of the fastest warming states in the country, and we can expect more consequences if we don’t take action.  

The Commerce and Energy budget legislators passed this session will help address the climate crisis and save Minnesotans money by investing in energy efficiency and clean energy initiatives. Highlights include legislation that:  

  • Creates a Solar on Schools program to help school districts install solar panels on their buildings, which will reduce schools’ electricity bills – often their second largest expense – and create educational opportunities for students 
  • Expands a solar manufacturing plant in Mountain Iron, which will make it the second largest in the nation 
  • Establishes an Energy Transition Office to support workers and communities impacted by the transition to clean energy  
  • Supports energy efficiency programs that reduce emissions and lower costs to households and businesses 

There are some notable provisions in the Commerce portion of the budget as well, including measures that:  

  • Address record-high rates of catalytic converter theft by creating new tools for law enforcement, scrap metal dealers, and vehicle owners to help keep Minnesotans’ cars intact and make it harder to sell stolen parts  
  • Protect students and their families from predatory loan servicers by establishing a Student Loan Borrower Bill of Rights 

This section of the budget addresses the climate crisis and protects Minnesotans from those who seek to take advantage of them. While there’s more work to do in both areas, we made meaningful progress this year.  

New Laws Take Effect on August 1  

Several new laws will take effect on Sunday, August 1, including legislation that:  

  • Permits Minnesota to enforce protection orders issued in Canada while the person under protection is in the state. This will help protect survivors of domestic violence on both sides of the border.  
  • Requires the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension to investigate criminal sexual conduct cases in the Minnesota National Guard. This law will help members of the National Guard who experience sexual assault at the hands of another Guard member to get justice.  
  • Allows incarcerated Minnesotans who give birth to spend more time with their babies. Under current law, newborns are taken away from their mothers after 48 hours, interrupting critical bonding time and creating unnecessary trauma for both of them. This law permits the Department of Corrections to conditionally release pregnant and postpartum inmates for up to one year.  
  • Requires notifying hospice providers if a patient under their care is a registered predatory offender. 

A list of all of the laws taking effect this weekend can be found here

Make Your Voice Heard  

Apply for the Great Start for All Minnesota Children Task Force 

The Great Start for All Minnesota Children Task Force, a nonpartisan working group that legislators recently voted to establish, has three primary goals: creating a system in which family costs for child care and early education are affordable; making sure a child’s access to high-quality early care and learning isn’t determined by their race, family’s income, or zip code; and ensuring early childhood professionals are qualified, diverse, supported, and equitably compensated regardless of where they work.  

The task force has several vacancies, including three seats for early educators, two seats for directors of licensed child care centers, two seats for family child care program license holders, and two seats for parents of children under five. This is a great opportunity to share your expertise with the rest of the state, and I encourage you to apply if you’re interested. You can find more details and information on how to apply here.  

Community Spotlight  

Many Faces of the White Bear Lake Area 

Many Faces of the White Bear Lake Area is a collaborative of 15 local organizations working together to strengthen our community. Created in 2018, the group focuses on creating opportunities for people to listen to and learn from their neighbors’ stories and to better understand the role all of us play in creating a more inclusive community. Many Faces has hosted conversations about equity, diversity, and inclusion and provided opportunities to learn about the history of our area and those who’ve inhabited it.  

I recently attended the first event in a four-part series on how Minnesotans experience and recognize racism. You can read an article the White Bear Press published about it here. If you’re interested, I encourage you to attend the remaining conversations. The next one is tonight from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Vadnais Heights Commons (655 East Cty Rd. F., Vadnais Heights, MN 55127). You should also check out the information and resources available on Many Face’s website.  

It’s an honor to represent our communities and to work with all of you. If you have questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out. You can contact me at or (651) 296-3018.  


Ami Wazlawik  
State Representative