It’s been an incredibly busy week at the Legislature, with committees continuing to have full agendas. Here’s an update from the State Capitol.
This week I dropped a bipartisan bill in the “hopper” (the location at the State Capitol where legislation is officially introduced) to help survivors of sexual assault who are members of the Minnesota National Guard. Sheyla's Law, named for a member of our community, would transfer criminal sexual conduct investigations involving a crime perpetrated by one National Guard member upon another from local jurisdictions to the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.
On Thursday the House Judiciary Committee held a public hearing on another bill of which I’m chief author, which would have Minnesota join six other states in recognizing orders for protection issued in Canada. Four Canadian provinces already recognize and enforce these orders from Minnesota, and because many people travel freely between both countries, this reciprocity is important to keep victims of domestic violence safe. This bill passed committee with unanimous support.
In 2019, the Legislature created a task force to review our state’s Criminal Sexual Conduct code. With numerous loopholes, contradictions, and ambiguities, too often survivors go without justice. This taskforce has recently completed its report and has offered a series of recommendations. Their work has been focused on amplifying the voices of survivors while keeping fairness and equity in mind. Soon, I’ll be introducing legislation to advance these initiatives critical toward our goal of keeping Minnesotans safe from all forms of gender-based violence.
While we pride ourselves on offering a world-class education to all students, unfortunately Minnesota is home to some of the worst racial disparities. While COVID-19 has negatively impacted all learners, it’s widened our already vast, unacceptable opportunity gap. On Monday, our Education Policy Committee hearing was devoted to addressing this topic. I invite you to take some time to watch this interesting discussion about the challenges we face in ensuring all Minnesota students receive an excellent education, no exceptions.
This hearing was just a small part of our focus this session to eliminate systemic racism following last year’s work of the House Select Committee on Racial Justice. This panel recently issued its report with findings regarding the root causes of racial inequities and over 80 recommendations on how to eliminate them. There’s a lot to learn from this report and it’s worth your time to check out.
Earlier this week, Governor Walz announced his proposal for a new two-year state budget focused on helping us recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. His proposal is aimed at supporting small businesses and driving our economic recovery, ensuring students can catch up on learning opportunities lost over the past year, and supporting working families struggling during this crisis.
In the coming days and weeks, lawmakers will dive deeply into the governor’s recommendations and following that, develop our own budget. While it’s just a starting point, I’m pleased Governor Walz has worked to address many of the urgent challenges many people in our state continue to experience, while positioning us for a stronger future over the long term.
I value hearing from you, and I hope you’ll be in touch with your input, ideas, or if I can be of assistance. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org and phone number is 651-296-0141. If you have neighbors, friends, or family who you think would find these updates valuable, please share this with them; they can subscribe here. I also encourage you to “like” or “follow” me on Facebook.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve you.