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

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Legislative Update

Friday, January 24, 2020

Rep. Her

Neighbors,

I hope your new year is off to a great start! I don't know about you but mine has been a whirlwind. Here's an update with what you need to know about the upcoming legislative session, Real ID, voting in the Presidential Primary, the Census, and some community highlights. 

The 2020 Legislative Session is just around the corner 

I'm counting down the days to the 2020 legislative session. We made real progress last year, but there is so much work we have to do to improve education outcomes for our students, invest in affordable housing, bring down the cost of health care and prescription drugs, fight for solutions to climate change, and enact common sense gun legislation. 

Thank you to all who have been part of my journey as your legislator throughout 2019. I look forward to continuing our work and moving our progressive agenda forward in 2020! Do you have thoughts, priorities, or suggestions for this legislative session? Send me a note! You can reach me at rep.kaohly.her@house.mn or 651-296-8799. 

Real ID

It seems like almost everyone has a question about Real ID. Here's what you need to know: beginning October 1, 2020, Minnesotans who are 18 or older and have not gotten an updated "Real ID" will not be able to get on flights or enter federal facilities using their Driver's License - you would have to have a Passport instead. People without driver’s licenses can get state ID cards that comply with the Real ID requirements.

Only about 10% of Minnesotans have done this, which is why you are encouraged to do it soon in order to receive your new ID in time. 

  • What you need: One document to prove identity and date of birth, such as an unexpired passport, a certified copy of a birth certificate or a certificate of citizenship. You must also show proof of having a Social Security number by presenting a Social Security card, a W2 form showing taxes withheld from a paycheck for the current year, or a pay stub with name, address and Social Security number. To prove Minnesota residency, applicants must show two documents, such as an unexpired Minnesota driver’s license, a credit card or bank account statement less than 90 days old, or a federal or state income tax return from the most recent filing year. A utility bill will not be accepted if two different names are on the bill. 
  • The Cost is approximately $32
  • The Deadline is October 1, 2020
  • The old IDs will remain valid forms of ID for driving and activities such as cashing checks
  • Waiting time is 4-6 weeks after you order the ID

There is a checklist available here, and a good overview of Real ID from the Star Tribune here

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Work for the Census

The U.S. Census Bureau is recruiting people to assist with the 2020 Census count. They need to hire 7,600 people across the state to complete the count, which occurs once every 10 years. Temporary census positions are a great opportunity to earn extra income while also helping your community. The Census is incredibly important! 

The census provides critical data that supports our community. Every year, billions of dollars in federal funding go to hospitals, fire departments, schools, roads, and other resources based on the Census. Click here to download a fact sheet with more information, or here to watch a short video.

A Presidential Primary is Coming Up

For the first time this year, Minnesotans will participate in a presidential primary, rather than a caucus. No matter what your party affiliation is, it's important to cast your vote and help ensure our government is representative of our shared values. 

Absentee balloting for the 2020 Minnesota presidential nominating primary has begun, which means you can vote any time. You can order an absentee ballot or update your voter registration here. Still have questions? Here's a short Q and A:

When will the presidential nomination primary take place?

March 3, 2020, with early voting beginning on January 17th.

Will all parties be on the same ballot?

No, each major party will have a separate ballot.

Will any other offices be on the ballot?

No, only presidential candidates from a major party will appear on the presidential primary ballot. Other offices with a primary will be on the primary ballot in August.

Will parties have to abide by the primary results?

The presidential primary results must bind the election of delegates in each party.

Will there still be precinct caucuses?

Yes, precinct caucuses and local and state nominating conventions will still take place to conduct other party business. 

Community Highlights

On Wednesday, I got to hear immigrant and refugee communities share their stories of how the shortage of affordable housing impacts families. The lack of funding to support housing work forces non profits already struggling with general funding issues to constantly re-evaluate if they can continue their work even though there is great need. It is imperative the legislature appropriates more money for housing support.

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I also had the chance to visit District Energy, one of the only facilities left that takes tree waste and turns it into energy. The facility process 1.7 tons of waste just from Ramsey county. That’s 6 years of fuel that is generated from over 200,000 trees. Though the facility does important work, I have many questions about carbon emission from this process, distribution of energy and government subsidies to for-profit entities.

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I honored the 47th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision by listening to stories of Reproductive Justice from pregnancy, parenthood, abortion and adoption. In Minnesota, there is a perception that we are progressive and prochoice. The truth is, we have many laws on the books that restrict a woman’s right to decisions about her body. We need to work harder to over turn these laws.

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Thank you to the Minnesota Youth Council for the thoughtful and engaging conversations around mental heath, public safety, education, the environment and civic engagement! Youth are speaking up and taking action. 

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I could have spent the entire evening hanging out with this group of Girl Scouts. The troop and I talked about everything from my child marriage bill, to puppy mills, to legislation hypothetically proposing year round schools.

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This is a lot of information but there is a lot going on! Thank you for your continued partnership, advocacy, and feedback.

I hope you have a great weekend. 

Sincerely,

Rep. Kaohly Her