As we near the legislative “spring break,” the weather may be cold, but things are heating up at the Capitol. We are now in the week where the committees’ final omnibus bills are being publicly announced and discussed and it is invigorating to see so many important investments in education, climate action, healthcare, housing, and more as the House of Representatives presents its values statement on how we can invest in a thriving Minnesota.
Here are updates on my recent activities:
This week I presented a bill on the House floor to protect uniquely vulnerable immigrant children by creating a new guardianship procedure in juvenile court for youths aged 18 to 21. An underlying goal of this legislation is to align state and federal law with respect to special protections for neglected, abandoned, or abused immigrant youth.
As an immigration attorney, I take great pride in authoring bills that will ensure that our immigration laws function as intended in our state. This bill passed with resounding bipartisan support with a vote of 132-2. I am pleased that Minnesota will now be a state that ensures that these uniquely vulnerable young people receive the full measure of protection afforded to them under federal law.
This bill is now on its way to Governor Walz for his signature!
The Twin Cities region was grappling with surging homelessness before the pandemic, which exacerbated the issue. With state, local, nonprofit, and federal funding, Hennepin County has responded with significant investments to fund solutions. The County committed $91 million in American Rescue Plan funding to boost existing and create new programs run by nonprofit partners, and to increase affordable housing development. Of that, $45 million has gone to shelters and support services to swiftly move people out of homelessness and into new housing opportunities.
The federal funding is scheduled to end in 2024, but the urgent need for these programs and services to address homelessness and housing insecurity will remain well beyond. Homelessness is a statewide problem, and to solve it, we need a statewide solution. I have co-authored HF 4427 to provide the ongoing sustainable funding needed for improved shelter operations and homeless response to ensure that we have no gaps into the future. I recently presented this bill on its second committee stop in the Human Services Finance and Policy Committee.
Since March 2020, the demand for food shelf services has skyrocketed, making the need for a new facility urgent. In 2021, the Southern Anoka Community Assistance (SACA) provided 800,006 pounds of food to 49,115 individuals. SACA Food Shelf and Thrift Store in Columbia Heights provides basic needs services to the communities of Anoka County and Northeast Minneapolis. Their mission is to serve participants with dignity and respect and to provide a positive pathway to stability and self-sufficiency.
I authored a bill requesting $1.5 Million in state funds to predesign, design, construct, engineer, furnish and equip a new building that will help SACA continue its work to end hunger in Anoka County and Northeast Minneapolis. I will continue to advocate for this amazing institution at the Capitol.
I recently presented this bill to the Workforce and Business Development Finance and Policy Committee, and you can view the bill presentation on the House Youtube Page.
If you have questions, ideas, or feedback that you’d like to share, please don’t hesitate to reach out. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (651) 296-4331.