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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Kaohly Her (DFL)

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Cannabis, Climate, and Community Events Update

Monday, October 07, 2019

Rep. Her

Neighbors,

I hope you're making the most of our transition from summer to fall! If you want some pointers on how to catch peak leaf colors, check out the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ fall color finder. 

Be Heard on Cannabis 

I want to make sure you know about an upcoming opportunity to share your thoughts and perspective on legalizing cannabis for adult use. We're holding a series of 15 town halls across the state - the first two were in Duluth and Minneapolis and the next will be in St. Paul on October 10!

  • When: Thursday, October 10, 7:00 PM
  • Where: Hallie Q. Brown Community Center, 270 Kent St, Saint Paul
  • Who: Hosted by Majority Leader Ryan Winkler, Assistant Senate Minority Leader Jeff Hayden, Sen. Sandy Pappas, Rep. Alice Hausman, Rep. John Lesch, Rep. Rena Moran, Rep. Dave Pinto, Rep. Jay Xiong, and a Community Leader Panel with Sina Black, Andrea Brown, and Julia Decker

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Legalizing cannabis for responsible adult use can increase access and affordability for people who rely on it to treat PTSD or chronic pain, allow law enforcement to focus their resources on more dangerous crimes, advance racial justice, and provide relief for the thousands of minor offenders who have been swept up in our criminal justice system - I hope you can make it. 

Climate Action

Young people around the world have been holding rallies to bring awareness to climate change and ask lawmakers to take action. My colleagues and I worked in partnership with young people participating in Climate Action Week in announcing a new Climate Action Caucus. The caucus is working on a plan to find solutions and establish Minnesota as a national leader in the fight against climate change, and I'm proud to be part of this work. 

Governor Walz also announced that Minnesota will implement clean car standards projected to reduce our state’s carbon emissions by two million tons by 2030. The new policy means that those who choose to drive clean cars will have more options and pay less at the pump. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency released a fact sheet with more information about these standards and how they will impact Minnesotans. It’s available here.

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Mini Session 

We took the legislature on the road! 

From October 2-4, we held a mini-session in and around Winona, including committee hearings, roundtables, and informative tours.

Though the Minnesota House doesn’t officially reconvene until February 2020, bringing our work to outside communities offers a chance for us to see our work through a different lens. The last mini-session was in 1997 in Willmar, and we’re hoping our work this year restarts the tradition of holding offsite hearings and making the Minnesota House more accessible. 

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The needs of our rural school districts are changing. Shifting demographics and economic factors bring new assets and challenges. Thank you Principal Sheila Berger for letting us visit your school on the first day of mini-session!

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We also went down in a cave! 

Events in our Community

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) works to fight against the stigma of mental illness and to bring awareness to mental health. I had the opportunity this weekend to participate in a walk for NAMI, which helps raise 1/4 of their budget. This past Legislative session, I carried HF1094 to expand mental health education in k-12 and though it didn't pass, I am committed to continuing to carrying this work forward. 

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In September I had the chance to participate in a brain injury town hall. I got to hear the testimony of those who have experienced traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and what legislators can do to support this community. The strength and courage of these individuals moved me. I am committed to continuing to learn about TBIs and how it informs my work.

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I also attended the 209th Mexican independence celebration hosted by the Mexican Consulate. Our Latinx community has been a huge asset to Minnesota. They have made many contributions and continue to shape our great state in a positive way.

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Had the opportunity to hear from women and minority owned businesses with MEDA (Metropolitan Economic Development Association) and SPACC (St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce). Government has made strides in improving relationships with women and minority owned businesses but we have much more that we need to do. We need to tighten our processes, make them more transparent and easier to navigate, and we need to provide greater access to a wider group of people. Thank you to the entrepreneurs who took time out of running their businesses to attend the forum.

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Apply for the Page Program!

Our House of Representatives High School Page Program is an awesome opportunity for students in their Junior year! Applicants can participate in a wide variety of activities to enhance their understanding of our state government and the legislative process. Some of the activities include:  

  • Assisting members and staff during House floor sessions in the House Chamber.
  • Participating in a mock committee hearing designed to develop students' leadership skills and to inspire them to think critically about the issues confronting our state.
  • Individual meetings with state representatives designed to allow students to discuss the issues that matter most to them.
  • Meetings with constitutional officers, members of the judiciary, lobbyists, and members of the media.

The programs are each 1 week long, and applications are taken until November 21st, 2019. Find more information here, and start an application here

I hope you're enjoying the fall weather and leaves turning! Reach out with questions and comments! 

Sincerely,

Rep. Kaohly Her 

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