Monday, January 28, 2019
I hope you had a restful weekend and that you will continue to stay safe while we brace for a polar vortex. The legislative session doesn’t stop for cold weather, and I want to update you on the things we have been working on.
Equal Rights Amendment
The issue of equal rights has not been discussed in the Minnesota legislature for a decade – until last week. An Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) bill received its first public hearing on Thursday and unanimously passed the Government Operations Committee. That means it goes on to the Ways and Means Committee and, if signed into law, would put a question on the 2020 ballot asking Minnesotans to include gender equality in our state constitution.
A second ERA bill, which would ask Congress to remove the deadline for passing an ERA in the U.S. Constitution, passed committee and will soon be debated on the House Floor.
I strongly believe in giving Minnesotans the chance to cast their ballot for equality and fairness. Equal rights cannot be assumed and all Minnesotans deserve equality under the law. You can read more about the ERA bills here.
St. Paul Delegation
Our St. Paul delegation hosted a celebratory welcome reception last week to meet with members of our community and fellow legislators – we discussed how we are going to work together to strengthen our St. Paul community and improve the lives of all our constituents. Thanks to our St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter, Visit St. Paul Foundation Board, and Minnesota Children’s Museum for a productive event.
Update on fuel spill at Battle Creek
Last week, I spoke with staff from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) who shared with me the impact of the fuel spill at Battle Creek. My office is monitoring this case closely and will give updates as we learn more. Here is the latest from MPCA:
The fuel spill came from a locomotive and occurred in Canadian Pacific’s (CP) rail yard. The release was medium size, however two contributing factors made its impacts larger.
1) Usually a release like this in a railyard stays contained in the pooling up and/or soaking into the soil (which can be removed). In this case, the fuel found a way to surface water (Battle Creek/Pig’s Eye Lake).
2) The surface water had a number of ducks and geese in it at the time of the release. Waterfowl covered in fuel is a very uncommon situation with a spill of this size; even one that reaches surface waters.
The MPCA will continue removal, treatment, and water sampling at Battle Creek and Pig’s Eye Lake. The MPCA and CP are working together to clean up and monitor the site. You can read more here.
I want to invite you to a community meeting on February 11 from 6:30-8:30pm about safety on McKnight Road. I will join the St. Paul District 1 Community Council, Ramsey County Public Works, and other county representatives to share information and answer questions at the Battle Creek Recreation Center in St Paul. You can find more details at the Facebook page here. I hope to see you on February 11!
Celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Last week I took time to reflect on the timeless values that unite us. The values of justice, peace, and doing right by all human beings. This legislative session, we are proud to be making history in the Minnesota legislature. We know this would not be possible without leaders like Dr. King.
I hope you’ll continue to follow along as we stir up good trouble in the legislature. I am here to elevate the voices of those who have been underrepresented or forgotten, and to make sure all Minnesotans have a say in our state government. Regardless of weather, Minnesotans love our state and we want to see one another succeed.