It’s been a busy work week for the Minnesota House. As we near the final weeks of session, conference committees made up of House and Senate members are in full swing. I’ve been busy participating in public hearings and deliberations as part of the State Government, Elections and Veterans conference committee, advocating for the needs of Minnesotans in negotiations with my Senate colleagues. As we approach the end of the legislative session, I’m fighting hard to ensure that our final budget prioritizes students, families, small businesses, and communities so they can recover from the pandemic and thrive once it’s behind us.
I stood with Indigenous lawmakers and community members at the Minnesota Capitol yesterday to honor and raise awareness for missing and murdered Indigenous women and their families. Indigenous women make up just one percent of Minnesota’s population, but make up eight percent of the women and girls who were murdered in the state between 2010 and 2018. The House recently passed Representative Heather Keeler’s legislation to help end this crisis by creating a Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Office. I was proud to vote for it, and I hope the Minnesota Senate will act this session so we can get this done.
Today, we pased a bill that two of my DFL colleagues introduced in response to the killing of Daunte Wright. The bill allows judges to issue sign and release warrants instead of arrest warrants for Minnesotans if they miss a court appearance for certain low-level crimes. Police who encounter people with these warrants would let them know about the missed appearance and provide a new court date instead of arresting them.
Under current law, arrest warrants are often issued for Minnesotans who miss court appearances, even if they’ve only been charged with a low-level offense. This can lead to unnecessary and dangerous encounters with police, like the one Mr. Wright faced last month. It’s dangerous and also a poor use of law enforcement resources. The legislation would prevent unnecessary interactions with police and allow law enforcement to focus on more serious issues.
Minnesotans have made it clear that they expect meaningful change this session, and House DFLers are listening. We’re fighting for overdue accountability and police reform measures. It’s time to put an end to the injustice that is harming our Black, Brown and Indigenous neighbors.
Senate Republicans have turned their back on Minnesotans to follow the disturbing national voter suppression trend. On Monday, they voted to impose voter ID laws and end same day registration as we know it. It’s disappointing to see elected officials doubling down on unpopular and harmful measures that voters resoundingly rejected when they were on the ballot in 2012. Restricting the freedom to vote would hurt Minnesotans and undermine our democracy.
As legislators, we were sent to the Minnesota Capitol to amplify, not silence, the voices of Minnesotans. House DFLers want to ensure all Minnesotans can exercise their freedom to vote - no matter where they live, what they look like, or who they vote for. I will keep fighting to strengthen, not restrict, participation in our democracy.
Today, Governor Walz announced a timeline to end most of Minnesota’s COVID-19 restrictions. The three-step plan begins tomorrow. The final step is lifting the statewide masking requirement once 70 percent of Minnesotans who are 16 or older get vaccinated or on July 1, whichever comes first.
Since the youngest Minnesotans aren’t eligible for the vaccine yet, the current Safe Learning Plan will continue until the end of the school year. The eviction moratorium, a ban on price gouging, and eligibility exemptions for people who receive state services will also remain in effect. You can find more information about the plan at staysafe.mn.gov.
Every Minnesotan who gets vaccinated brings us closer to the end of this pandemic. If you haven’t been vaccinated yet, please make a plan to do so. You can use the COVID-19 Vaccine Connector to find vaccination opportunities nearby.
Please continue sharing questions, ideas, and feedback and let me know if I can be of assistance. You can reach me by email at email@example.com or by phone at 651-296-4200.