Today marks the halfway point in the legislative session, and I’m proud of the progress we’ve made so far to improve the lives of Minnesotans and build a state that works better for all of us. Here’s a quick update on what’s happened over the past week.
On Friday my colleagues and I had a hearing on H.F. 1811 – a resolution urging the President to continue Deferred Enforcement Departure (DED) for Liberians, allowing our brothers and sisters who have lived, worked, and raised families here since the early 1990s to continue living peacefully here, at home. Hundreds of Liberians will lose their legal status at the end of the month if nothing is done. You can read more about the issue here.
Today I introduced a bill to support entrepreneurs and the development of new technologies. The bill would establish a Minnesota Innovation Collaborative to provide Minnesota’s entrepreneurs and emerging companies with business development and financial assistance.
It shouldn’t matter what background you have, whether you’re a woman or a man, or where in Minnesota you live, everyone should have equal opportunities to build and innovate. This program would provide classes, hold events that gather stakeholders in innovation, and conduct outreach and education on innovation, particularly for underserved communities.
Paid Family Leave
Minnesotans shouldn’t have to choose between caring for a loved one and missing a paycheck. That’s why my colleagues and I are committed to making Paid Family Leave a reality this year.
House File 5 has received approval from four different committees – it allows eligible Minnesotans to get up to 12 weeks of paid leave from their jobs in order to help a spouse recover from a serious accident, bond with a newborn baby, or care for an aging parent. This idea is broadly supported by working families and employers alike.
Click here to listen to chief sponsor Rep. Laurie Halverson talk about the bill.
Improving Public Safety
Without driver’s licenses, tens of thousands of Minnesotans can’t reliably get to their jobs, to school, pick up their kids, or get to the doctor. Often, in order to fully participate in civic life, those without licenses have no choice but to drive, endangering themselves and public safety. All Minnesotans used to be able to get their license without fear of deportation, until Gov. Tim Pawlenty changed the rule in 2003.
Minnesotans shouldn’t have to fear being permanently separated from their families for something as basic and necessary as driving themselves to work. It’s time to allow more people to get drivers’ licenses, to reduce the number of uninsured drivers, and make our roads safer and more equitable. My bill to expand drivers’ license rights has been making its way through House committees. I want to thank the many members of the community who have come out to support this bill.
Child Care Assistance
For months, the GOP has used unsubstantiated talking points to attack our communities, and today a nonpartisan report found that those allegations were false. Republicans have claimed that the Child Care Assistance program -- a program that helps thousands of Minnesotans afford to go to their jobs and get training they need to build a better life -- was used for terrorism and fraud. I agree that any amount of wrongdoing should be looked into, but that is no excuse for the GOP to use child care to attack our communities. I’m grateful for today’s report and for the Legislative Auditor’s thorough review of these fraudulent allegations.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve you in our State Legislature. Please feel free to reach out with any questions or comments.
State Representative – District 60B