I hope you’re having a good week. It’s been a long week here at the Capitol. Yesterday, the House, Senate, and Governor reached an agreement on legislation to deliver hero checks to frontline workers who sacrificed their health and their families’ safety to protect us during the height of the pandemic.
The deal also includes replenishing the Unemployment Insurance trust fund, preserving our small businesses from a massive tax increase as they are just getting back on their feet.
We’ve been working hard in the House on getting this done since January, and I’m grateful our Senate colleagues decided to join us at the table to find compromise for Minnesota workers and businesses, so everyone can thrive.
This week, we had a flurry of activity on the House Floor, passing supplemental budget bills that invest in our students, schools, agriculture, natural resources, transportation safety and infrastructure and more. Here’s an update on our progress in the House:
Invest in Students and Teachers
Minnesota students deserve every opportunity to succeed. The House education bill addresses the key funding shortfalls that have been identified by our local school boards. When I meet with our local school boards, they raise the same issues every year - we’re not supporting our students and teachers enough.
Minnesota currently has one of the worst highest student-to-counselor ratios in the country. Especially after how hard the pandemic has been on our kids, we need to make sure that mental health resources are available and accessible. Our bill includes dedicated investment to hire additional mental health counselors.
Our communities have always been proud of our outstanding public schools and these investments will enable them to continue to succeed with less pressure to increase their local property tax levies. Let’s make sure that every Minnesota student, no matter what they look like or where they’re from, is able to access a high-quality education. This is a good investment in our students and while I’m glad it passed, it was disappointing to hear LGBTQ rhetoric and hate from my GOP colleagues on the House Floor. You can find more details from Kare11’s news coverage here.
Our next generation deserves access to quality, equitable education. The investment in Indigenous students present in our Education bill is crucial. We’ve worked hard to make sure that our schools are fully funded, make sure that our teachers reflect the diversity of our students, and make sure that our education system is culturally competent. We’re succeeding with the passage of this bill, and I hope to see the Senate approve these important measures.
Ensure Stable, Affordable Housing for All
Having a safe and secure place to call home is essential to public health, educational achievement, and economic security. We’ve worked hard this session to put together a Housing bill that invests in first-generation homeownership, supports our renters, and prioritizes keeping unsheltered Minnesotans safe. Many of my proposals to end youth homelessness and provide a path to stable shelter are included in it. I’ve detailed these proposals in my past e-updates, you can always find those here. You can find more details about the Housing bill from our non-partisan House news coverage here.
Expanding Broadband Access
Broadband is vital to the success of rural communities, but there are too many unacceptable service gaps throughout the state. For many years, House DFLers have been committed to ensuring all Minnesotans have the high-speed internet access they expect and deserve. Our broadband bill continues this effort and will make sure that you will have fast internet no matter which part of the state you call home.
Being a community with three higher education institutions, learning from home was a barrier for greater Minnesota students because of the lack of accessibility to reliable internet. To ensure that our rural communities succeed, we need to be empowered to participate in the online world. Happy to vote “yes” on broadband investment this week.
Free 2-Year College, Important Support for Students
We also passed our higher education bill this week, including a historic proposal that will provide free 2-year college for students. Our students have struggled under predatory loan policies and the high cost of living and learning. Students today are often the working poor. Here’s a clip of Rep. Noor’s floor remarks.
Support our Infrastructure, Ensure Equitable Transportation
We’ve put forward a balanced transportation bill that funds roads, bridges, and EV charging infrastructure; as well as improved customer service in Driver and Vehicle Services and a safer public transit system. I’m committed to making sure that our roads remain smooth and driveable.
The transportation sector is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions. We’re tackling the climate crisis by making critical investments supporting the transition to electric vehicles. You can find more details from our non-partisan House news coverage here.
Keep Minnesota Air, Water, and Land Clean
As Minnesotans, we’re proud of our clean air, water, and soil and the many plants and animals that call our state home. The environment bill will preserve these valuable resources. We are also funding innovative climate solutions and taking action to reduce lead contamination and exposure to dangerous chemicals like PFAS. You can find more details from our non-partisan House news coverage here.
Support Free and Fair Elections
Minnesotans regularly lead the nation in voter turnout, thanks in part to our exceptional elections system. We’re building upon that success by investing in our elections infrastructure, expanding the security and integrity of absentee ballots, and protecting our local elections officials. There are also significant investments in upgrading our outdated core administrative software systems and beefing up our cybersecurity capabilities. Here’s a clip of the discussion.
Caring for Our Veterans
Too many families have had to deal with the unimaginable grief of losing a loved one to suicide. We’ve let our veterans go unsupported for too long. The House DFL’s Veterans budget includes a variety of solutions to tackle this epidemic and better address veterans’ mental health difficulties. We also include provisions to end veteran homelessness and provide additional economic security for veterans who need it. As the daughter of a veteran, this work is extremely important to me.
I was really happy that my Fisher House proposal was approved along with this bill. Here’s a video with my thoughts.
Supporting Small Farmers and Soil Health
Investing in sustainable agriculture is one of the quickest ways to support our climate and environment. This includes new investments in the soil-healthy grain Kernza and other emerging soil and water-friendly crops. House DFLers are delivering new investments in farmers and food producers so we can maintain a strong Ag Economy. We also take measures to improve urban agriculture and to help new farmers from diverse backgrounds get into the industry.
Next week, we’ll be taking up our Health and Human Services bill on Tuesday and the Tax bill on Wednesday. I’ll be sure to fill you in on those details when we pass the bills.
Keep in Touch
Don’t hesitate to reach out if I can provide any assistance. You can always reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please follow me on my Facebook page for further updates and invite your friends and family to do so as well.
Thank you for the honor of representing you at the Capitol.