Yesterday Governor Tim Walz released his budget for the next two years. I’m excited to see the Governor’s budget proposal reflect the values Minnesotans hold. It promotes both geographic and racial equity, commits to making Minnesota the “Education State,” and would ensure that all of our communities are safe, healthy, and inclusive.
Families in our community will benefit from the much-needed investment in affordable childcare, paid family and medical leave, and dependable transportation. Above all, the historic investments in housing for the lowest-income Minnesotans will provide housing stability to families with children and prevent family homelessness. When families have a safe place to live, our communities and our families prosper.
Monday was Sovereignty Day at the Capitol, and all 11 of Minnesota’s tribal nations were welcomed into the House Chamber for a historic, first-of-its kind conversation. It was a powerful day of presentations, and I look forward to continuing this conversation with Minnesota’s sovereign nations.
There is a significant crisis in our foster care system. That’s why I’ve authored a bill (HF399) to provide funding for Hennepin County to recruit and support foster families while developing a strategic planning model to meet its needs moving forward.
I presented the bill last week to the House Health and Human Services Committee. Hennepin County has the largest number of foster care cases in the state – almost 1,700 – and more foster families are needed to place children in culturally appropriate settings where caregivers understand their backgrounds and needs. Additional funding would allow the county to simplify the daunting administrative process, pursue nontraditional recruitment models, and provide incentives and training. The program would follow initiatives modeled in Anoka County, but also build on that success.
Restore the Vote
Minnesotans who’ve served their time and are living in the community should be allowed to vote. Felony disenfranchisement prevents Minnesotans with criminal convictions from having a stake in their communities, and a voice in decisions that affect all aspects of their lives.
Last week a bill to restore the vote for people who have completed their sentences passed the Government Operations committee. Denying the right to vote unfairly penalizes people battling addictions, and communities of color.
There is a lot of momentum behind this proposal at the Capitol this year, with high-profile supporters Gov. Tim Walz, First Lady Gwen Walz, and Secretary of State Steve Simon behind it. Read more from the Star Tribune here.
We also passed legislation to provide free public transit on Election Day. We should do everything we can to make sure people don’t sit on the sidelines in important elections.
Black History Month
Reminder: on the 26th I am hosting (along with the rest of the United Black Legislative Caucus) a film screening and discussion at the Minnesota History Center. Sign up for free here.
I will also hold a listening session with Attorney General Keith Ellison, Representative Hodan Hassan, and Minneapolis Council Member Abdi Warsame on February 27th at the Brian Coyle Center in Minneapolis. We will discuss issues we plan to address cooperatively, as well as their individual priorities at the municipal, legislative and statewide levels. All members of the community are invited to attend. You can find more information, and watch a video we put together here.
Please feel free to reach out if you have any comments, questions or concerns.
State Representative – District 60B