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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Heather Keeler (DFL)

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Legislative Update: MMIW, Climate, Reproductive Rights

Thursday, May 12, 2022




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Dear Neighbors,

Thank you for allowing me the privilege to serve you at the State Capitol. This week, I’ve been able to stand up and amplify your voice more than ever. I’ve been successful at getting my bills into the big supplemental budget bills, as well as voting down amendments that would harm our district. This work is a lot, but it’s always rewarding as I come back into our community to report on happenings at the Capitol. I hope that you’re having a lovely start to May, and here’s to warm weather this summer.


Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Awareness Day

I was happy to lead the Second Annual Legislative MMIW Awareness Walk last Thursday. It’s important that all elected officials are aware of this issue, and know enough to take action. I’m grateful for my colleagues who continue to show up and actively learn how to join us in this work.

If you haven’t already heard of this issue, here are some quick stats:

  • Indigenous Women and Girls are murdered 10x more often than all other ethnicities
  • More than 4 out of 5 Indigenous Women have experienced violence
  • More than half of Indigenous Women experience sexual violence
  • Many of these cases go ignored by the FBI and law enforcement

Let’s work together to end violence against Indigenous women and get justice for those already harmed. Here’s a video I put together for you!


Promote Health in Underserved Communities, Increase Affordability

We passed our Health and Human Services budget bill last week! The proposal delivers bold investments to address the high healthcare costs we are facing, along with solutions to attract, recruit, and retain dedicated professionals in fields such as direct care, long-term care, and behavioral health.

To expand affordable health care access, the budget includes the MinnesotaCare Buy-In, an option allowing individuals and families to access MinnesotaCare – the low-cost, high-quality health care program that Minnesotans have trusted for 30 years. The legislation also makes care less expensive by eliminating cost barriers for those enrolled in Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare. To prepare Minnesota for the future, the bill studies ways to reform health care delivery and financing.

I’m also happy to report that my biggest priorities to address homelessness passed in this bill, including:


Investing in Clean Energy and Solutions to Climate Change 

Scientists are telling us that the window to address climate change is closing. Minnesotans are urging lawmakers to act. House DFLers are listening. We passed an ambitious Climate and Energy budget on Monday.  

This bill will move us forward on clean energy. It invests in several renewable energy initiatives, creates a program to help local governments purchase and install solar panels on public buildings, and funds research and development of clean energy technology. 

We need to take action to preserve the climate for the next generation.


Ensuring Everyone’s Safety

All Minnesotans deserve to be safe, no matter where they live or what they look like. Access to justice is the right of every single person. House DFLers have worked hard to put together a bill that reduces crime, supports law enforcement, and ensures that the system works for everyone.

The package invests $200 million in proven, transformative and innovative solutions to help Minnesota tackle some of the largest challenges to keeping communities safe. Unlike the Senate approach, this bill isn't built to engineer political slogans for political gain while dividing our state along regional and racial lines. Instead it's built to prevent crime by providing law enforcement with additional investigators, analysts, state assistance from prosecutors, mental health crisis response personnel, probation monitoring, victims' services, embedded social workers, juvenile diversion programs, drug treatment facilities, equipment and much more.

Part of the package is also ensuring that every single officer has a body camera. Measures like this are essential to gaining back the community’s trust.

This conversation is also happening after a tumultuous month of public safety news, including a non-partisan human rights investigation coming up with appalling evidence of racism within the Minneapolis Police Department. I’ve said for a long time - the accountability measures that we’re trying to pass at the state level are in reaction to bad departments like MPD, and should not be seen as a reflection of our officers in Moorhead. We’re trying to ensure that every area in Minnesota is able to have the quality service that we have here.


Helping Those Who Need It Most

I have to say a bit of appreciation for our retiring leader in the other half of the district, Rep. Paul Marquart. He’s been a role model for me in this work. He has centered local and Greater Minnesota issues for years while doing what’s best for all of Minnesota, in a bipartisan fashion.

This year, under the leadership of Chair Marquart, Democrats in the House are proposing significant financial assistance to help reduce rising costs. We are especially concerned about the impact of out-of-control child care costs on family budgets, with some families paying as much or more than their monthly mortgage payments. That’s why we’re providing tax credits for families who cannot afford these rising costs.

The House Tax bill would reduce the cost of housing by making the biggest investment in property tax refunds and renter’s credits in decades. Democrats’ proposal expands eligibility and benefits, and makes it easier for filers to apply. As a result, more than 150,000 additional renters will qualify, with an average benefit of $700. Statewide, 30% of renter’s credit recipients are seniors or people with disabilities. In addition, more than 1.3 million homesteads that currently qualify for the market value exclusion will see an increased exclusion.

Most people will have more money in their pockets with this DFL bill. This is in contrast to the Senate plan, which provides permanent tax cuts that largely only benefit the wealthy and corporations. They’re also wanting to cut taxes in the name of “fairness” while drastically shorting our state Education budget. I’ve heard that this isn’t what our district wants, and I’m here to help those who need it.


Reproductive Rights in Minnesota

You’ve probably heard about the leaked Supreme Court decision from last week.

With this decision from SCOTUS, Minnesota could soon become the only state in the Upper Midwest where people can safely and legally access abortion care.

The decision overturns and questions not only Roe v. Wade, but also other precedents that over time have made our country a more just, inclusive, fair and welcoming nation to all people.

Abortion is preventive health. With extreme maternal mortality rates within some communities, forcing mothers to carry a fetus to term is unconscionable. Women deserve the freedom and power to control their own bodies and lives. This decision would especially affect people who already experience barriers to health care, like those with low incomes or communities of color.

Luckily, Minnesota is a unique state in that our Minnesota Supreme Court found that abortion is protected in our state constitution in 1995. While abortion is legal and protected in Minnesota, access to abortion care remains too restricted to accommodate everyone who may come to our state seeking an abortion. We will be doing everything we can to protect and expand reproductive rights.


Keep in Touch

Thank you for your attention to this e-update. Please let me know what you think, and keep in contact. You can always reach me at

In service,

Heather Keeler

State Representative




District 4A - 
431 State Office Building
St. Paul, MN 55155

Committee Assignments:
Vice Chair: Preventing Homelessness Division
Education Policy
Environment and Natural Resources Finance & Policy
Higher Education Finance & Policy