Friends and neighbors,
The 2019 legislative session began Tuesday. It’s great to be back at our State Capitol working on your behalf. Please stop by to visit my office any time.
As I walked into the Capitol on Tuesday, the atmosphere of the building felt different – I have not felt this much optimism for a legislative session since my first session back in 2013. We have the only legislature with divided partisan control in the country right now, and I truly believe this will encourage all legislators to work together in a more bipartisan fashion. I am excited to see what we can accomplish on behalf of all Minnesotans.
While our committees do not start meeting until next week, I wanted to take a moment to tell you about some of the things that are at the top of my to-do list this session:
Gun Violence Prevention Legislation
I joined members of Protect Minnesota, Moms Demand Action, and some of my Senate DFL colleagues on Tuesday as we kicked off the 2019 legislative session with a rally urging my fellow legislators to immediately prioritize gun violence prevention legislation. Currently, around 90 percent of Minnesotans support criminal background checks and gun violence prevention, so I am committed to continue my work on this issue. Now is the time to act, not when another tragedy has befallen us. You can watch a clip of me speaking HERE.
One top priority for both the Senate and House DFL caucuses this session is the establishment of the MinnesotaCare Buy-In. The MinnesotaCare Buy-In is a cost-effective solution to bringing down the cost of health care because the program would be funded by the premiums of those who buy coverage and would require no ongoing costs for Minnesota taxpayers. This is a smart investment that would give Minnesotans more options for high-quality, affordable health care at clinics and hospitals across the state. I have always said: paying for it now through preventative care is cheaper than paying for it later in the emergency room, so I hope some of my colleagues across the aisle join us to pass this monumental legislation.
Last biennium I authored legislation to modify how the state of Minnesota handles our redistricting process in order to make the process less partisan and more transparent. I plan on offering an updated version of this legislation this session, so stay tuned for more concrete updates on what this proposal will look like. It is important for the redistricting process to be nonpartisan in order to obtain an unbiased result, so we need to work together in order for this legislation to advance.
Paid Family Leave and Childcare
Right now, Minnesota is facing a childcare crisis as the cost of childcare continues to rise. This session, I look forward to working with my Republican colleague, Senator Bill Weber, to find affordable solutions for providers in the metro and Greater Minnesota. In addition, working families would benefit from a strong Paid Family Leave system – a fair, commonsense solution to help Minnesota workers take care of themselves and their families. By working together in partnership with businesses, families, and care providers, I believe we can craft a solution to benefit all working Minnesotans.
In addition to these proposals, I offered legislation to create a system for automatic voter registration this week in order to strengthen Minnesota’s electorate, and I will continue to be a strong advocate for increased funding for E-12 and higher education. Together, we can create a Minnesota that champions education, takes care of our workers and our families, and continues to build for a brighter tomorrow.
As I mentioned, I have a high level of optimism for this legislation session. I know we can find bold solutions to the challenges we encounter. As always, never hesitate to reach out with your ideas, questions, comments, or concerns. Schedule an appointment to come talk about what you would like to see accomplished or to just come say hi – my door is always open.