Minnesotans expect that our elections are conducted fairly, without foreign interference. Our state election system was one of 21 which Russians attempted to hack in the 2016 election which was, thankfully, unsuccessful. Following this, Congress approved $6.6 million of Help America Vote Act (HAVA) funding for Minnesota election security enhancements, including an update to our voter database software as well as election officer training. For the Secretary of State to access these funds, though, the Legislature and Governor need to sign-off on them. The first step toward this was on Thursday when the House passed a bill allowing this funding to be utilized. I hope the Senate can soon follow suit and we can protect our elections against foreign meddling.
Repealing the Marital Rape Defense
The Minnesota House on Thursday unanimously approved legislation to help to support victims of sexual assault by eliminating the state’s “voluntary relationship defense,” which shields perpetrators from prosecution if they are married to the victim. When the Public Safety Committee approved the bill, we heard the powerful testimony of Jenny Teeson of Andover. Jenny was sexually assaulted by her ex-husband and despite video evidence, she was unable to seek justice because she was married to her attacker at the time.
Jenny watched the vote from the gallery, and the standing ovation she received after the bill passed is a moment I will never forget. This legislation is one of several bills seeking to reduce gender-based violence, with another being my bill to create a working group to update our state’s criminal sexual conduct statute. The voices of survivors are powerful, and I appreciate the survivors who keep coming to the Capitol to testify.
Let’s Stay Connected
I am working on many important issues at the Capitol. Often I tweet about them or post them on Facebook. To see the bills I've authored and co-authored, please click here. To follow bills through the legislative process, you can use the MyBills service on the Legislature’s website. Additionally, Session Daily provides regular nonpartisan recaps of legislative activity. If you have any questions for me or concerns about issues, please feel free to email me or call to schedule a meeting. I'm also available at my monthly "Chats with Kelly" the fourth Sunday of each month during the session at Shore 96 in Shoreview. Finally, I hope you'll mark your calendar for our March 10th Town Hall.
It’s an honor to represent you at the Capitol.