Legislators and advocates rally to support “great start” bills

SAINT PAUL, Minn.—Today at the Capitol, a bipartisan, bicameral group of legislators, joined by advocates for health care, mental health, and early childhood, announced support for prenatal care and home visiting proposals, initiatives that would improve the wellbeing of parents and children at the beginning of life. The announcement immediately followed a legislative hearing on the home visiting proposal.

“Prenatal care and home visiting services are part of a broader legislative effort to help make sure that every child gets a great start in life,” said Rep. Dave Pinto (DFL—St. Paul), chair of the House Early Childhood Finance & Policy Division. “The House, Senate, and Governor are all prioritizing early care and learning. This is the session to do right by the youngest Minnesotans.”

While Minnesota leads the nation in many aspects of health care, too many African-American and American Indian women die from pregnancy-related causes. Black and Native women are three to four times more likely to die during pregnancy compared to their white counterparts, and their infants are more than twice as likely to die as white infants. Rep. Kelly Morrison (DFL—Deephaven) and Sen. Jim Abeler (R—Anoka) have introduced companion bills, HF 909and SF 855, to expand access and utilization of prenatal care and decrease racial and ethnic disparities. Read More

Legislators and advocates rally to support prenatal care and home visiting

SAINT PAUL, Minn.—Tomorrow, February 21, a bipartisan group of legislators will be joined by advocates from the health care industry, mental health organizations, early childhood coalitions, and supporters for a press conference to announce their support for prenatal care and home visiting programs.

What: Prenatal care and home visiting press conference


  • Rep. Dave Pinto (DFL—St. Paul), Early Childhood Finance and Policy Committee Chair
  • Rep. Carlie Kotyza-Witthuhn (DFL—Eden Prairie), Early Childhood Finance and Policy Committee Vice Chair
  • Sen. Jerry Relph (R—St. Cloud), Family Care and Aging Committee Chair
  • Rep. Kristin Bahner (DFL—Maple Grove), bill author
  • Rep. Kelly Morrison (DFL—Deephaven), bill authors
  • Sen. Jim Abeler (R—Anoka), bill author
  • Professor Katy Kozhimannil, University of Minnesota School of Public Health
  • Tee McClenty, Northpoint Health & Welness Center
  • Pat Dale, Headway Emotional Health
  • Ann Mullholland, MinneMinds

When: Thursday, February 21 from 9:30 – 10:00 am

Where: Room B971, Minnesota State Capitol, 75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Saint Paul, MN 55155

Strong suburban showing puts DFL in control of House

The DFL will control the Minnesota House of Representatives in the 2019-20 biennium.

Winning a number of key races in the Twin Cities suburbs, the DFL picked up 18 seats in Tuesday’s elections and will hold a 75-59 advantage when the House convenes Jan. 8, 2019.

Much of the change occurred in the Twin Cities suburbs, especially near and just off the Interstate 494-694 corridor, where DFL candidates beat incumbent Republicans in places like Burnsville, Eden Prairie, Edina, Lakeville, Plymouth, Rosemount, Stillwater and Woodbury.

Three races were within 250 votes: Rep.-elect Carlie Kotyza-Witthuhn (DFL-Eden Prairie) beat Rep. Jenifer Loon (R-Eden Prairie) by 241 votes with 20,577 votes cast; Rep.-elect Kelly Morrison (DFL-Deephaven) beat Rep. Cindy Pugh (R-Chanhassen) by 216 votes with 23,372 cast; and Rep.-elect Shelly Christensen (DFL-Stillwater) beat Rep. Kathy Lohmer (R-Stillwater) by 137 votes in a race where 22,630 votes were cast.

View the complete November 7 article by Mike Cook on the Minnesota House of Representatives Public Information Services’ website here.

State Representative Melissa Hortman headed to Paris climate talks

36BState Representative Melissa Hortman (DFL – Brooklyn Park) is traveling to international climate talks in Paris as part of a delegation from the University of Minnesota.  The United Nations meeting in Paris is the 21st meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).  President George H.W. Bush signed the treaty in 1992.  According to the United Nations, the objective of the 2015 Paris conference is to achieve, for the first time in over 20 years of UN negotiations, a binding and universal agreement on climate from all the nations of the world.

Rep. Hortman chaired the Minnesota House Energy Policy Committee from 2013-2014 and is currently co-teaching an undergraduate climate policy class with Ellen Anderson, executive director of the University of Minnesota’s Energy Transition Lab, and former state senator.

“Minnesota has been a leader in clean energy and climate action policy,” said Rep. Hortman. “Starting with the renewable energy standard in 2007, which mandates that 25% of Minnesota’s electricity be generated by renewable resources, to our Next Generation Energy Act which set aggressive greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals, and most recently with our nation-leading solar energy law of 2013, we have shown that subnational governments can lead and make a real difference on climate policy.”

According to the state’s Environmental Quality Board, Minnesota has spent $4.3 billion on natural disasters since 2000. The Risky Business Report, released earlier this year, noted that among other risks the state faces, future corn harvests are at risk from changes in climate.

“The cost of inaction is greater than the cost of taking action.  Our leadership has provided significant economic benefits for the state. Not only has Minnesota changed the trajectory of our greenhouse gas emissions, but jobs in our clean energy sector have increased 78% since 2000,” said Hortman.

While in Paris, Rep. Hortman will be finding ways to bring the climate talks back into the classroom at the University of Minnesota. She noted that her students will be the future leaders of governments, businesses and non-profits who will be grappling with the impacts of climate change and leading future mitigation and adaptation efforts. Rep. Hortman also plans to connect with other subnational leaders from around the world to learn what actions others have taken to reduce the climate impact of states and cities.

Rep. Hortman will depart for Paris 12/3 and return 12/13. She can be reached in Paris via email at rep.melissa.hortman@house.mn and can arrange telephone calls following email contact.