Activity continues at the Minnesota State Capitol with many committees continuing to hold informative overview hearings, giving us an opportunity to learn about various state agencies and hear from organizations with expertise in various issue areas. I’ve also enjoyed meeting with constituents visiting the State Capitol to advocate for causes that are close to their hearts including these students who stopped by this week.?
Justice for Sexual Assault Survivors
Next week in the House Public Safety Division we will consider a series of bills addressing sexual assault and other types of gender-based violence. I’ve authored two of the bills being heard next week and both have received support across the aisle. The Star Tribune, which last year had a comprehensive series outlining some of our state’s shortcomings regarding this issue, talked to me about this issue, and you can read the story here. Tonight, I’ll be appearing on TPT’s “Almanac” to discuss the topic. Tune in to watch at 7:00 p.m.
While some committees are diving into details about certain topics, others are already advancing legislation. One of these is the House Transportation Division which earlier this week approved a bill to require cellphones to be used in hands-free mode while behind the wheel. Distracted driving is estimated to cause about one in five crashes in Minnesota, on average resulting in over 50 deaths each year. The committee heard emotional testimony from family members of some of these Minnesotans who tragically lost their lives due to distracted driving.
With increased use of mobile devices while driving, we’ve seen an increase in collisions. Several years ago, I worked alongside other safety advocates to close loopholes in our state’s hit-and-run statute. The hands-free bill is a common sense, overdue measure which will save lives. I was glad to sign on to this bill and look forward to supporting it on the House Floor.
School Mental Health
Tuesday, the Education Finance and Policy Committees jointly met to learn about mental health concerns for students. I know of too many families that have been impacted by this issue, including some who have lost young family members.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness, teachers, school counselors, social workers, and nurses presented information highlighting that mental illnesses often begin at young ages. Without greater efforts to address this issue, more students will experience these difficulties.
This is an urgent issue and for school districts to fully address it, there will need to be added state investments. I’m in support of increasing school-linked mental health funding, as well as other innovative strategies like full service community schools. I hope we can come together to deliver these resources for all of our students.
Chat with Kelly
Here’s a reminder about the first “Chat with Kelly” this session coming up on Sunday. We will meet at Shore 96 in Shoreview (1056 Hwy 96 W.) from 1:30 – 2:30 p.m. We are having additional chats at the same time and place the fourth Sunday of every month during session. Your input is invaluable to me, and to do the best job I can representing you, I need maximum feedback from the community. This event is nonpartisan, nonpolitical, and everyone is invited to attend. I hope you can join us. If not, please don’t hesitate to call me at 651-296-0141 or email me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please connect with me on Facebook as well. Many people are also making appointments to see me at the Capitol; I welcome your visit.
It’s an honor to represent you at the State Capitol.