I hope you and your family are enjoying summer. For any of you who are students or who have family members in school, I hope the just-concluded academic year was successful. To those who have graduated: congratulations and best wishes on any future endeavors!
In the final days of the legislative session, a bipartisan group of lawmakers worked together to pass a sweeping package of investments and improvements for Minnesotans’ mental health. The legislation invested $60 million in the state’s mental health system which will increase hospital bed capacity, attract new mental health care professionals, and expand the use of mobile crisis units. This bill also includes $30 million in creating an improved system to better serve those involved in the criminal justice system who are found not competent to stand trial. Governor Walz has since signed the bill into law.
This legislation represents what’s possible when lawmakers identify a problem, set politics aside and work together to advance solutions. There’s certainly more work left to do, particularly related to student mental health. I supported bills to increase funding for more counselors and staff critical to student wellbeing, and I authored a bill to help school districts utilize best practices to ensure students and educators have the support they deserve.
Gun violence is now the leading cause of death for children in the United States. This is unacceptable and preventable. There are so many things we can and should be doing to keep guns out of the hands of people who should not have them. This year there were four bills DFLers in the House introduced to reduce gun violence: expand criminal background checks to all sales, allow for extreme risk protection orders (“red flags” law) to prevent access by someone presenting a threat, expand the safe gun storage law, and require reporting of stolen guns. I am the chief author of the red flags bill.
Gun owners in Ramsey County are encouraged to prevent accidental shootings by securing their firearms. Just a few minutes of prevention can save a lifetime of regrets. Through the Ramsey County Gun Safety Initiative community members can pick up a free gun lock at a community-based location with no questions asked.
Also this session, lawmakers agreed to invest $500 million toward bonus pay for frontline workers who were unable to work from home and who put their own health at risk during the darkest days of the pandemic to keep our state moving. Those eligible include health care workers, first responders, child care providers, food service and retail workers, and more.
Applications are now being accepted! Visit frontline pay.mn.gov to see if you are eligible and to apply!
I want to wish everyone in our community a Happy Pride Month! LGBTQ rights are human rights, and our LGBTQ community makes our state a more dynamic, vibrant place to live. I’m proud to fight for affirming legislation that will make their lives easier and am committed to building a more inclusive Minnesota where all people are welcomed as they are.
Please feel free to contact me directly with your viewpoints or if I can be of assistance. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org and my phone number is 651-296-0141. You can learn about bills that have been introduced here and keep track of the bills I’ve authored here.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve you.