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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Ruth Richardson (DFL)

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Legislative Update - February 15, 2019

Friday, February 15, 2019

Rep. Ruth Richardson Email Banner - Photo of the Minnesota State Capitol

Dear Neighbors,

It’s been another busy week in Saint Paul and it’s time to share some highlights.

Meeting You Where You Are

Dakota County legislators convened for the annual legislative workshop. We received updates on issues related to affordable housing and economic stability, transportation, natural resources, and environmental protection. We also enjoyed a light moment when my son’s photo at the Dakota County Library showed up in the PowerPoint.

This photo of my son popped up in the Library power point!

I was honored to be invited to visit with residents and staff at the REM River Bluffs and BrightSpring Health homes in Inver Grove Heights. We talked about the pending 7% cut to waiver program rates and the harm it will cause to people with disabilities. We are working hard to ensure waiver programs are supported and I am proud to be a co-author with Rep. Laurie Halverson.

I participated in a Judicial ride-along with Judges Messerich and Pugh in Dakota County, which gave me a view from the bench. Our courts are busy with people experiencing homelessness, substance use disorders, and mental health issues. We need community-based responses and strategies to address these complexities.

ISD 197 Legislative Roundtable

Our schools need investment to be part of the strategy on mental health issues, homelessness, meeting the needs of students with disabilities, & racial equity issues. I was glad to join a roundtable focused on issues facing our school district with Rep. Rick Hansen.

Chaplain of the Day

Each week in session a different chaplain visits us. It was wonderful to have Pastor Denise Dunbar-Perkins from Inver Grove Heights serve as chaplain this week and open our session with a prayer. She is a treasure and brings hope and comfort wherever she goes.

Opportunities with Solar

This week I ran into several constituents in the hallways of the State Office Building. It was a great to have a chance to discuss solar and renewable energy issues

Youth Leadership

This week it was wonderful to have a high school student, Myah, come join us for a day from Kelliher High School. Myah is a 9th grader and great leader. She has been working to educate her peers on safety issues including distracted driving and seat belt use. Myah — along with 35 peers — had the chance to see a day in the life of a legislator. What an amazing group of youth that are developing into leaders.

Upcoming Hearings

On Tuesday, February 19th I will be testifying on two bills. The education finance committee will hear HF 813 focused on suicide prevention teacher training. Also, in the education policy committee HF 987 will be heard to establish driver education grants for students facing financial barriers.

Recently I worked with Mayor of Inver Grove Heights George Tourville and Fire Chief Judy Thill on a bill hearing that would reimburse the city for sales and use tax on the new Inver Grove Heights fire station. I am also working with Commissioner Joe Atkins to pursue similar legislation for the new Smart Center in Inver Grove Heights and am excited to report that I am working with the City Manager of Mendota Heights Mark McNeill on a similar bill in Mendota Heights. A big thank you to George Tourville for his leadership on the issue. Each of these initiatives, if passed, will save local tax payers hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Finally, on February 26th I will be hosting a film screening along with the United Black Legislative Caucus at the Minnesota History Center, to honor Black History Month. We will watch the movie and have a moderated discussion of the film. You can reserve a spot and get all the details at the event page here.

Have a great weekend. Sincerely,

Ruth Richardson