The legislative session has ended, and it remains an honor to serve District 20B in the Minnesota House of Representatives. The House DFL has focused on delivering the resources our state needs to bounce back from COVID-19. We also know we need to be addressing the ongoing challenges of access to health care, climate change, and making sure our state government is working for everyone, not just the wealthy few.
Minnesota has the only divided state legislature in the nation, and compromise in today’s politics isn’t easy. The House DFL worked hard though, and I worked hard, to ensure that our state budget works for all Minnesotans and moves us in the right direction. Below are some of our hard-fought wins, as well as some of the legislation I worked on personally.
Historic investments in education
No matter what we look like or where we live, all students deserve a quality education, from cradle to career, especially after the struggles faced during the pandemic. The per-pupil funding increase is the largest in 15 years, making big investments in our students. We’re also preserving over 4,000 pre-K slots, addressing shortfalls in special education and English learner programs, and increasing the number of teachers of color in our schools.
Preserving and protecting our environment
Minnesota is one of the fastest warming states in the country due to climate change. We must take action to protect our health, our environment, our farms, and our infrastructure. This session, I secured new funding for farmers to enact more soil health building practices that improve the resilience of farmland. I also passed legislation for accelerated tree planting to sequester carbon and respond to the damage caused by the emerald ash borer.
Supporting those who care for us
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted how much Minnesotans count on access to quality health care. While in the legislature, I’ve worked to establish a new rate framework for Personal Care Assistants, ensuring that these essential care providers for people with disabilities and older adults are on the path to a living wage. This year, we were able to pass it.
Transportation for rural Minnesota
Minnesotans across the state deserve a safe and reliable transportation system. Our budget invests in every mode of transportation and every part of our state. Previously, cities with a population of 5,000 or less have been left out of critical state funding streams for road repairs.
This year, I wrote a new law investing $18 million for Small Cities Assistance, filling a transportation funding gap for the 705 Minnesota cities with populations under 5,000. Well-maintained roads and bridges are a crucial part of any community, and no Minnesota city should be left behind.
Our budget also contains more support for small businesses, frontline workers, high speed broadband, new accountability measures in public safety, and substantial reforms to sexual assault laws.
There are great successes from this year, and I will continue to work with you to build the state all Minnesotans deserve.