Saturday, April 06, 2019
Even if my bracket doesn’t survive Final Four weekend, we have a lot to celebrate in news from the Capitol.
Driver’s Licenses for All
Yesterday, the Minnesota House finally debated and passed a bill to ensure equality and safety on our roads. No one should fear separation from their families for something as simple as driving to work or to the doctor. It was long the law that you didn’t need to show proof of citizenship to get a driver’s license, until then-Gov. Tim Pawlenty changed the rule in 2003. HF 1500 would make sure that no one is excluded from getting a license (or insurance) – this will increase insured drivers on the road and allow more Minnesotans to live safe, productive lives. I was glad to see support from law enforcement, the business community, labor unions, people of faith and community groups.
State of the State
On Wednesday night, Gov. Tim Walz came to the House chamber to give his first State of the State address. He told the story of Minnesotans who inspired his priorities, and who, because they have come forward to tell their stories, are helping shape our state government.
Jobs & Economic Development
On Thursday, the House Jobs and Economic Development Committee announced its budget priorities. Highlights of the bill include several pieces of legislation the House DFL identified as top priorities at the start of this legislative session. The Paid Family Leave Act (HF 5) and Earned Sick and Safe Time (HF 11) are included in this bill. Together, they ensure that Minnesotans are allowed time off work to care not only for their children and other members of their family, but also themselves.
Another priority bill included in the House Jobs budget is Rep. Mahoney’s legislation to establish and enforce wage theft prevention (HF 6). With 39,000 Minnesotans experiencing wage theft in some form every year, this bill would protect wages and hold employers accountable when they take advantage of workers.
Other key pieces of legislation in the Jobs omnibus finance bill include:
On Monday, the Highwood Hills Community Recreation Center on the Eastside opened to the public – a project that was 11 years in the making. It was closed in 2008 due to budget cuts. Spaces like this helps Eastsiders be part of the St. Paul community. Staffed youth spaces are constructive and have demonstrated that they cut down on run-ins with the law. This is a place for our kids to play and learn, and I’m grateful for the leadership of Council Member Jane Prince, Somali Parents Advisory Council member Amin Omar, and Mayor Melvin Carter.
Have a great rest of your weekend! Please reach out if you have any questions for me.