Sunday, April 28, 2019
This week has been hectic, long, and rewarding. Primarily because I won "who wore it best," three days in a row.
Joking aside, we passed budgets this week on our committee bills on health care, E-12 education, jobs, energy, agriculture, and housing. We worked tirelessly to vet and vote on these bills to improve the lives of ALL Minnesotans, and give everyone a fair shot to succeed.
E-12 Education The Minnesota House passed the E-12 education (HF1711) budget late Tuesday night. Under the bill, the St. Paul School District would receive approximately $600 in additional funding per student. Teachers and students are one of Minnesota’s greatest strengths and our students are our biggest investment for the future. Every child in Minnesota, no matter where they live or the barriers they face, deserves a great education
Minnesota struggles with one of the largest achievement gaps in the country. By including mental health support, providing funding to recruit and retain teachers of color and Indigenous teachers, along with the community support provided in this bill, we are working hard to change that. Our education investment will improve the lives and the opportunities afforded to our kids, to our neighbor’s kids, and to students around the state.
I was proud to vote for the Health and Human Services budget late Thursday night. It strengthens health care for all Minnesotans by lowering the cost of care, making drug prices more affordable by holding Big Pharma accountable, addressing health disparities, improving health care for women, and expanding coverage options for Minnesotans.The House DFL’s HHS budget addresses our state’s unacceptable health disparities. It increases funding for the Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP) for the first time in 33 years.
It also invests in cultural competency for mental health services, increases funding for child protection in our tribal communities, and includes grants to improve child development outcomes for children of color and American Indian children. Women’s health is strengthened through increases in family planning access, greater access to birth control, coverage for breast cancer screenings, sexual assault prevention grants, and doula services for Minnesotans with low incomes. The proposal also ensures mental health parity, as well as periodontal disease and asthma coverage for those with low incomes.
Jobs & Energy
This week (late in the night) the House passed the Jobs and Energy budget (HF 2208). It includes access to paid family and medical leave, earned sick and safe time for all Minnesotans, tougher protections for the 39,000 Minnesotans who report wage theft every year, and a pathway to adopt 100 percent carbon-free energy by 2050.
Included in the bill is Rep. Richardson's amendment to create a workgroup and incentivize utilities to increase diversity in the workplace and actual spending for female-owned, minority-owned, veteran-owned and small business enterprises. Energy is one of the key industries impacting economic development. Starting the conversation about encouraging a diverse workforce is about creating an equitable and healthy energy sector that benefits all communities in Minnesota.
Busy day, but had to step out for a visit with my former TRiO SSS Academic Advisor Joy Kluttz-Horton to talk work place diversity and inclusion!
Minnesotans are rightfully demanding that we take responsible environmental action right now and for generations to come. This budget makes sense for our environment and for our economy; creates jobs while protecting our water, air and land. The House DFL is listening to the overwhelming science that confirms that climate change is real and caused by humans. I was disappointed when the Republican response on the floor to the statement, "The Legislature finds and declares that greenhouse gas emissions resulting from human activities are they key cause of climate change," was to vote, almost unanimously, to deny climate change.
Thank you for following along. Please let me know if there are ways I can better serve you, and have a great rest of your weekend.
State Representative - District 67B