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

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Legislative Update - February 22, 2019

Friday, February 22, 2019

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


I want to give you a quick update on the news from the Capitol this week.

On Tuesday I presented my bill (H.F. 987) to the Education Policy committee to expand access to driver’s education for low-income students between the ages of 15 and 19. There was a time when taking driver's education was considered a rite of passage, and young drivers were often trained for free through the public school system. Today, a driver's education course can cost around $400. Driver's license fees are one of the hidden barriers that prevent low-income students from attaining their driver's license, and the mobility and opportunities that come with it. This bill is about equal access to education, employment, housing, and services for all.

Reminder: on February 26 from 6-9 p.m. I’m hosting, along with the United Black Legislative Caucus, a film screening and moderated discussion at the Minnesota History Center in honor of Black History Month. You can reserve a spot here. We hope to see you there!

Meeting with constituents is the best part of my day. I’m so inspired by the amazing students in our district every day. These youth are showing up and speaking up on the issues that matter to them most. Yesterday we discussed the need for sexual harassment and assault education in schools.

I had a very informative meeting with the Salvation Army this week. The organization provides a wide range of supportive services in our community ranging from affordable housing services, early childhood services, and income assistance programs. Our district is being served by the Saint Paul location on West 7th Street. For more information about the Salvation Army and it’s programs check out its website here.

I always enjoy the opportunity to connect with our school board members to talk policy, challenges, and opportunities. I had a great meeting with Mendota Heights School Board member Stephanie Levine discussing many topics from school safety grants to addressing our educational disparities.

I had the chance to learn about the role of veterinarians and the role they can play in the opioid crisis.

As a member of the Education Finance Committee I have the privilege of meeting with schools and districts across the state. The snow didn’t keep this amazing team from Duluth away. It is paramount that we invest in our public schools.

I connected with constituents on Catholic Day at the Capitol to discuss a number of important issues including investing in early childhood. I was grateful for the visit and the prayers.

I enjoy hearing from constituents on the issues that are most important to them. I had a great conversation this week on ending cruelty to animals.

I attended Disability Day at the Capitol. I got a chance to connect with two amazing youth self-advocates before they hit the stage to address the crowd. I have watched these two amazing people grow up and become powerful voices to raise awareness of invisible disabilities in our communities.

I was honored to testify alongside the Minnesota chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness and school officials on a bill to fund suicide prevention training for Minnesota teachers in every school district, charter school, intermediate school district, service cooperative, and tribal school in Minnesota.

Monday was a historic day in Minnesota as we convened for the first ever Sovereignty Day in the House Chambers of the Capitol. It was a day of education, reflection, and acknowledgment of the legacy of historical trauma.

I’m collaborating with Senator Kent on an early childhood voluntary pre-k bill to expand access.

It was an honor to be invited to the Governor’s residence with Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan and the POCI caucus to talk Policy.

Yesterday the House unanimously voted to repeal a rule that made an exception for “marital rape.” Several brave Minnesotans came forward advocating to change this law, which says that even if someone is drugged, raped, and videotaped, it is not illegal if the individuals are married. I was proud to vote to eliminate this loophole that allowed so much hurt and violence to Minnesotans. You can learn more here.

We also voted to allow the Secretary of State to unlock $6.6 million in federal funds to secure our elections and make them more accessible. This money is sitting in an account going unused, because the Secretary of State can’t use it unless it’s specifically approved by the Minnesota legislature. All 49 other states have begun using this money, and we know that foreign governments and other entities have been trying to influence our elections. I don’t know if the Senate will approve this money yet, but it’s something both democrats and republicans have said they are committed to approving. Being the only state in the country to not authorize this money makes us a greater target for hackers.

If you need anything, please reach out to me at or by phone at 651-296-4192. Have a great weekend.


Ruth Richardson

State Representative – District 52B