Proudly Serving District 46
As the 2013 legislative session draws to a close, it is time to reflect on what mark it will leave on Minnesota. If you had to sum it up in one word, I believe that word would be PROGRESS. We made a historic investment in our Education system, put in place policies to grow the economy and create middle class jobs, provided tax relieve for Minnesotans while making the tax system fairer and we set Minnesota on a path to future of stable budgets without shifts and gimmicks to fill the holes.
We also made history by becoming the 12th state to allow same-sex marriage. There were a lot of phrases being thrown around during this historic debate: “Love is Law”, “Right side of history”, “God made gays”. But the bottom-line is, Minnesota had a two-year long discussion with their neighbors and decided that any two people who love each other should have the same right to a civil marriage as any other two people. I was very proud to cast a yes vote on the Senate floor on May 13 and it will be one that I will always remember.
During the short five months we were in session, I was privileged to chair the Judiciary Committee and Finance Division and to work on some of my own individual pieces of legislation as well. I am particualarly proud my work filling in the gaps in our background check system to prevent more gun violence as well as my work with Rep. Steve Simon on the Child Protection Act. Please see my 2013 Session Reveiw (in the Newsletter section) for a more comprehensive list of what was accomplished this session.
As the Chair of the Judiciary Division, my main focus was to work on the Judiciary and Public Safety budget. This budget protects Minnesota families by investing in the critical components of government that ensure the public safety and justice systems are accessible and fair to all Minnesotans. These investments, in this $2 billion+ budget, will lead to greater government efficiency, ensure Minnesotans constitutional right to due process and invests in several departments that have seen stagnated funding in the past. The funding will provide for new hires that are necessary to cut down on incredibly high case loads for current judges and employee and improve on current inefficiencies in the public defense system, invest in methods proven to reduce recidivism and improve dated database systems. I was also happy that we could include money to fill the gaps in our background check system that is used when an individual purchases a gun. This will lay the ground work for a more comprehensive background check system to keep gun out of the hands of those who should not have them.
While we put Minnesota on the right path for improving the quality of life for the average Minnesotan, we still have work to do. I look forward to the discussions next session on increasing the minimum wage, investing more in early childhood, strengthening our gun violence prevention laws and investing in our public infrastructure with a robust bonding bill. Our state constitution created a part-time legislature so that we can spend time back in our districts to see how the laws we created are working for our friends and neighbors. The next legislative session starts on Feb. 25, 2014 at noon and will focus on policy and a bonding bill. I would like to thank you for the time, energy and thoughtfulness that you put into contacting me this session. Democracy is a two-way street and I cannot do my job effectively without you. I look forward to spending more time in the district during interim and look forward to hearing from you.