DFL lawmakers give updates and previews on bills

The Minnesota legislator has been in session for three weeks and representatives across the...
The Minnesota legislator has been in session for three weeks and representatives across the state have gotten to work.(MGN)
Published: Jan. 21, 2023 at 6:30 PM CST
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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – The Minnesota legislator has been in session for three weeks and representatives across the state have gotten to work. Rochester DFL lawmakers gathered for a forum Saturday for people to ask questions about their views, get updates and previews on bills in all stages of progress.

“We want to listen to our constituents always, the work that were doing in St. Paul is because of the people here in Rochester. We understand not everyone can come to forums like these, but we have things like email that’s why we have social media, and those people have voices as well but face to face is always important,” DFL representative Andy Smith said.

Many topics were brought up during the forum. Bigger talking points included reproductive rights, medical and student debt, cannabis legalization, affordable childcare and Walz checks.

DFL representative Tina Liebling says there is room to do checks and to put money back into the pockets of people struggling with rising costs. Some representatives aren’t in favor of Walz checks. Representative Smith says the state could do other things to alleviate some strain.

As money has been causing tension in many families, DFL Senator Liz Boldon is working on a bill for paid family medical leave in hopes of relieving stress on new mothers or anyone in need time off to take care of themselves or a family member.

“This bill has been worked on for over a decade. We are one of the very few countries in the world who do not offer this, and so bottom line is people should be able to take time off from work to take care of themselves or a loved one, it would include maternity care,” Boldon said.

The plan for this paid family medical leave as of Saturday is for it to be paid by a government insurance program, not employers.

As the lawmakers want Minnesota to be a safe place to live, they also spoke about the current reproductive rights protection bill.

“We talked about reproductive rights which I think will be a big topic for the public and obviously there is some opposition to that, but the public is really tired of the extremism of the anti-abortion people frankly want reproductive freedom, the people in Minnesota are ready,” representative Liebling said.

Republicans are attempting to add on amendments to the bill, requiring licensing and inspections of abortion clinics, limiting clinics to first trimester abortions, banning third trimester abortions and putting a total stop to partial birth abortions.

The lawmakers spoke about other ideas they also want to carry with them throughout this legislative session like creating an age friendly state by investing in nursing homes, gun violence, more benefits for veterans and mental health support.