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

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Legislative Update - March 15, 2019

Friday, March 15, 2019

This week was a whirlwind. I worked to advance several bills important to me and our community, and met with constituents to talk about how we can work together to improve education, move towards equitable workforce development, and increase economic prosperity for all Minnesotans.   
Clean Energy and Workforce Equity
In the House Energy and Climate Committee on Thursday I presented a bill that would encourage all Minnesota utilities to increase the diversity of their workforce and suppliers. We all know that energy is important to the world, to our country, and our state. It is one of the key industries impacting economic development. Starting the conversation about encouraging a diverse workforce is about creating an equitable and healthy energy sector that benefits all communities in Minnesota.
This would benefit female-owned, minority-owned, veteran-owned and small business enterprises.

Early learning experiences have a critical impact on the development of young children. Missing out on those experiences leads to more suspensions and more missed learning opportunities down the road. It doesn’t address the root cause of the behavior that triggered suspension or expulsion and ultimately it contributes to the cradle to prison pipeline. This week I presented a bill that would prohibit a school district from expelling or suspending prekindergarten children, expanding a policy that Minneapolis Public Schools adopted in 2014. I was honored to have former Minneapolis Public Schools superintendent Bernadeia Johnson, testify on behalf of this bill and its success in Minneapolis.

I also presented a bill which would authorize charter schools to provide deaf and hard-of-hearing services to students at early ages.
In the Higher Education Committee on Tuesday, I presented a bill that would protect students’ data. The bill classifies student data as private, unless it is part of a legal proceeding.
A safe home for all Minnesota children
On Wednesday I presented the Homeless Youth Act and a Foster Care Bill in the Health and Human Services committee. The Homeless Youth Act would make it easier for homeless youth to obtain their birth records and Minnesota ID cards, and appropriate money for shelter-linked youth mental health grants. The foster care bill would provide insurance to licensed foster home providers.

Constituent Shout-Out
Each week I meet with constituents and advocates who demonstrate the diverse needs, as well as the diverse solutions, facing our community. Every day I’m reminded how lucky I am to represent such passionate, smart, and forward-thinking people. Below is a sample of the people I met with and spoke to this week and the topics we covered.

Met with neighbors and union advocates on issues including increasing access to students to trade careers.

I’m very passionate about disability rights. I was honored to host so many neighbors from the district on Disability Day at the Capitol.
Meeting with neighbors and representatives of the MN Psychological Association on issues related to the provider’s tax and mental health parity.

I had the opportunity to speak at a rally for the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Met with a neighbor to talk about the importance of after school programming.

Meeting with constituents and advocates for Homelessness Day at the Capitol.

Had a great meeting with parents, students, staff, and school board members from District 196 on the importance of fully funding education.

We are moms and neighbors working on common sense gun safety legislation. I also had the chance to speak at the Moms Demand Action rally to talk about community safety.

Met with a constituent from the district to talk about the need for affordable housing.

I was honored to be invited as a panelist at the Safe Harbor Protocol Development Conference. As we work to address human trafficking and sexual exploitation we need to center the intersectional voices of the survivors and victims that are closest to the pain.

It was so much fun meeting with these two awesome college students from the district to talk about the benefits of higher education.

Had a big crowd of constituents for Arts Day at the Capitol. I’m excited to support their efforts.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend and a happy St. Patrick's Day! As always, reach out if you have a question or concern. 


Ruth Richardson