It’s been a busy week at the Capitol with committees in full swing hearing bills including hands-free legislation, electronic monitoring in nursing homes and assisted living facilities, higher education capital investment needs, and requiring a personal finance course to graduate from high school.
There were also a number of press conferences held this week, kicking off with the 100% clean energy press conference, a discussion on wage theft, the announcement of a new United Black Legislative Caucus, and a press conference on tax filing. MN Second Chance also held a press conference and the Joint Religious Legislative Council (JRLC) held their Day on the Hill.
The House and Senate released committee deadlines for the 2019 legislative session. Bills must move out of the house of origin by March 15, and the second deadline of March 29 is for committees to act favorably on bills or companions of bills that met the first deadline in the other chamber. Committees must approve appropriation and finance bills by April 12. The deadlines do not apply to the House committees on Capital Investment, Ways and Means, Taxes, or Rules and Legislative Administration, nor to the Senate committees on Capital Investment, Finance, Taxes, or Rules and Administration.
Youth climate activists and faith leaders joined Minnesota Senate and House legislators at a press conference to discuss legislation that moves Minnesota towards 100% clean energy. The proposal would prompt Minnesota to transition away from power sources that rely on fossil fuels in favor of renewable methods like wind and solar.
In honor of Black History Month, members of the Minnesota Senate and House of Representatives announced the first ever United Black Legislative Caucus at a press conference this week. The goal of the caucus is to elevate and advocate for issues relating to Minnesota’s black communities.
Several legislators joined the Coalition to End Wage Theft – a united group of workers, contractors, and businesses who have been harmed by wage theft – to voice their support for a bipartisan bill seeking to create rules to prevent wage exploitation and penalize employers who attempt to cheat workers out of promised compensation. At the press conference, speakers from a variety of professions shared personal stories of instances in which they were denied wages for hours worked – often for sums totaling in the thousands of dollars.
The Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault’s (MNCASA) Action Day took place this week and gave Minnesotans the opportunity to gather in solidarity with survivors of sexual violence, including those whose voices are not often heard. Dozens of survivors, advocates, and allies of the sexual assault community joined together to raise awareness and propose legislation for increased accountability in our laws regarding sexual assault.
Even through a snowstorm, dozens of citizens came to the Minnesota State Capitol to take part in Second Chance Day on the Hill. The Minnesota Second Chance Coalition is a bipartisan non-profit consisting of hundreds of non-profit member organizations and individuals. The group strongly advocates for second chances for persons who have been punished for crimes so they can earn the opportunity to live, work, and grow to be fully contributing members of their communities.
The United States has a gun death rate 10 times greater than other high-income nations, and by early February, more Americans are killed with guns than are killed in our peer countries in an entire calendar year. That’s the sobering statistic guiding the inaugural “Gun Violence Survivors Week”, running from February 1 to February 8.
The Agriculture, Rural Development and Housing Finance committee heard a presentation from the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency (MHFA) regarding its 2019 Affordable Housing Plan.
Two bills heard in the E-12 Education Committee would provide training for teachers to help them define and understand dyslexia and provide training and resources to help students.
Bipartisan legislation on electronic monitoring, otherwise known as granny cams, was heard this week in the Family Care and Aging Committee.
The Greater Minnesota Business Development Public Infrastructure Grant Program was first developed in 2002.
The Senate Judiciary Committee heard two bills this week that would increase penalties for using a cell phone while driving.
A bill was heard this week in the Senate Transportation Committee to extend Metro Mobility services to the city of Lakeville through the Met Council transit taxing district.