Policy Updates

Legislative Report Jan '23

Submitted by Jenny Arneson, LGSW, Legislative Consultant

Mailee Vue

The session opened on Tuesday, January 3, with a host of historic firsts. The two bodies are the most diverse in history with more people of color, more people who identify as LBGTQ, and more women than the past. The Senate elected their first African American president and both majority party leaders will be women. Furthermore, the first African American women and the first person from Gen Z joined the Senate.

In only the second time in 30 years, one party controls all three bodies, and the DFL has made it clear that they will take advantage of their majority. The Star Tribune highlighted what you can expect on key issues:

  • Abortion: Codifying protections in law.
  • Bonding: Passing an infrastructure package.
  • Climate: Fast tracking carbon-free electricity regulations.
  • Education: Using part of the record surplus to boost funding for public schools.
  • Guns: Expanding gun control through bills that implement prevention measures.
  • Housing: Addressing housing issues through one-time spending and policy changes.
  • Marijuana: Considering a recreational cannabis legalization bill.
  • Paid family leave: Funding 12 weeks of paid leave for workers who are sick/caring for a family member.
  • Sports betting:Considering legalized sports betting similar to bordering states.
  • Stadium fund: Paying off U.S. Bank Stadium 20 years early.
  • Taxes: Increasing the limit of Social Security income for taxes.
  • Voting: Expanding voting laws in Minnesota.

In a demonstration that they would waste no time, many committees are skipping the usual introductions and overviews that often happen early in session and instead, delving directly into bills. The House and Senate leaders introduced the first bill of the session by establishing a fundamental right to reproductive rights and took it up in committee this week. Additionally, the Legislature is fast-tracking a tax bill that will sync up MN and federal tax laws, indicating that they hope to get it on the Governor’s desk by the middle of the month.

The SPAN committee at NASW-MN finalized their legislative agenda. One of our priorities, increasing funding for school social workers and other school support personnel, has already been introduced in the House (HF8). We look forward to representing social workers and our values throughout this session.

Your policy team will be led by Jenny Arneson, legislative consultant, DeAnn Proudy and Sunny Comstock, MSW policy interns, and our SPAN committee volunteers. Save the date for this year’s Social Work Advocacy Week when you can expect informational sessions on key priorities including the workforce, children and family welfare, disability justice, housing, mental health, and emerging cannabis reform. We will host information sessions on Feb 27-28, and culminate the week with an in-person rally at the Capitol on March 2. Follow our advocacy events this session here, and explore the other tools and updates available on our advocacy page.