Below is a letter from Representative Karen Clark about the 2013 Legislative Session sent on March 22:
This week was very eventful both because I’ve been working on so many bills and because our House budget targets got released.
The budget targets are meant to outline our priorities for the next two years so I was happy to see an increase of $22 million to the housing budget. We’ll be working tirelessly over the next few weeks to find out where the money will make the greatest impact. It’s a good move in the right direction and I will continue to push for even more housing funds to help those in need of affordable housing across the state.
And there are many other bills that I’ve been working on:
– Youth Build – Lets students in alternative school programs gain experience in carpentry and other trades and receive high school credit for their work. It gives students the opportunity to learn math in a hands on setting while letting students thrive in a professional setting and gain experience for the future. I have personally seen the amazing impact this program can have on students in our communities and it is incredible – one of my favorite youth programs.
– Mobile Air Monitoring – Funds several mobile air monitoring stations that can help gauge a better picture of air quality across the state by gathering comparative data on the disproportionate exposure of our low-income, indigenous, and communities of color. Currently air quality is monitored at specific permanent locations. But mobile stations would help policy-makers gain a better understanding of what air quality is like in specific neighborhoods. In particular, it would help paint a more accurate picture of what kind of air quality is affecting our low income neighborhoods.
– Open Access – Helps those who are homeless gain employment and housing by providing a phone messaging service to use when applying for jobs and leases. When people have no phone number to leave on their application, it makes it incredibly difficult to communicate with possible landlords or employers who may have opportunities that would benefit these homeless individuals and families.
– Shelter for East African Women – Would serve the large population of East African women who are currently in desperate need of assistance because of domestic violence and human trafficking. It can be very difficult for these women to utilize other services meant for more general populations because of language and cultural barriers. The Twin Cities metro area has significant populations of East African women who contribute to our communities and need this kind of assistance.
– Drivers Licenses – My Drivers license proposal for undocumented Minnesotans continued to move forward and I have high hopes that it will become an important part of our public safety laws.
Each of these bills would have a significant impact on people in our state and I hope they will all move forward in the Legislature. I’ll continue to update you on my work at the capitol and you can feel free to contact me with and questions, concerns, or ideas that you may have.