Rep. Frank Hornstein, Sen. Scott Dibble, and I are holding an in-person town hall next week – our first one since the pandemic began. While I’m glad we were able to connect through virtual events, I’m looking forward to seeing your faces now that we can gather safely. I hope you can join us at the Lake Harriet Bandshell next Wednesday, July 28 at 7 p.m.!
Legislators Pass New Two-Year Budget
Minnesota legislators finished passing a state budget a few weeks ago. While the compromise budget we developed following negotiations with Senate Republicans doesn’t include everything we would’ve liked, it provides critical support for Minnesotans, including students, workers, families, and small businesses. We took meaningful steps to make Minnesota a safer, healthier, and more equitable place for everyone, no matter where they live or what they look like. There’s more work to be done, but I’m proud of the progress we made and of the work we did with Minnesotans to make sure the new budget was as strong and inclusive as possible.
Addressing the Climate Crisis
Our state is in the midst of another heat wave and the worst drought we’ve experienced in a decade. Earlier this week, air quality alerts were issued for most of Minnesota due to heavy smoke from wildfires in Canada. We’re seeing more severe weather and natural disasters in Minnesota because it’s one of the fastest warming states in the country.
As chair of the House Climate and Energy Finance and Policy Committee, I worked hard to find solutions to climate change. My colleagues and I crafted an Energy budget that helps Minnesota transition to clean energy, promotes energy efficiency, and supports workers and communities throughout this transition by:
- Establishing a Solar on Schools program to install solar panels on K-12 schools and state colleges and universities. Solar energy systems will save school districts and colleges money and create educational opportunities for students.
- Expanding a solar manufacturing plant in Mountain Iron, which will make it the second largest in the nation.
- Supporting a program in North Minneapolis that helps young people obtain the skills and training to pursue careers in clean energy.
- Creating an Energy Transition Office to support workers and communities impacted by the transition to clean energy.
- Investing in energy efficiency initiatives that reduce emissions, lower costs, and pave the way for renewable energy.
These investments will create well-paying jobs, help those most impacted by climate change, and lower energy costs. We need to do more to ensure communities can withstand and adapt to climate change and prevent further consequences, but this budget is a significant step forward.
If you’d like to learn more about these accomplishments and what we hope to tackle next, I encourage you to check out a recent interview I did with the Center for American Progress. I appreciated this opportunity to highlight the great work that’s happening in Minnesota!
Improving Public Safety and Our Justice System
House DFLers, led by members of the People of Color and Indigenous (POCI) Caucus, fought for police reform and accountability this session. While Senate Republicans blocked a number of the provisions we passed in the House, we were able to make some meaningful changes, such as:
- Establishing an early warning system to keep problem officers off the streets.
- Enabling trained crisis teams – not just police officers – to respond to calls for mental health assistance.
- Providing more funding for community organizations working to prevent violence, facilitate healing, and perform youth outreach.
- Restricting the use of no-knock warrants.
Several bills I championed were signed into law as part of the Public Safety and Judiciary budget, including the Hardel Sharell Act. This legislation makes significant changes to inadequate health and safety standards in Minnesota jails, and it will save lives. You can read more about the bill and the dedicated Minnesotans who advocated for it here. Legislators also approved my bill to prevent unnecessary and potentially dangerous interactions between Minnesotans and law enforcement by expanding the use of sign and release warrants, which you can read about here, and my bill to end the use of shackles and other restraints on children. More details are available here.
More Information about the Budget
If you’d like to read more about the new budget, the following links will direct you to nonpartisan summaries House Public Information Services prepared for each budget bill: Legacy; Agriculture and Broadband; Higher Education; Commerce, Climate, and Energy; Transportation; Housing; Environment and Natural Resources; Jobs and Labor; E-12 Education; Health and Human Services; Public Safety and Judiciary; State Government, Elections, and Veterans; and Taxes.
Please continue sharing questions, ideas, and feedback with me whether or not you’re able to attend the town hall next week! You can reach me via email at email@example.com or by phone at (651) 296-5375. I look forward to hearing from you.