Senator Karla Bigham As we enter the 2022 legislative session at the Minnesota Senate, I am committed to working in a bipartisan fashion to improve life for working families and small businesses …
Senator Karla Bigham
As we enter the 2022 legislative session at the Minnesota Senate, I am committed to working in a bipartisan fashion to improve life for working families and small businesses across Minnesota. With a $7.7 billion surplus, the legislature has a tremendous opportunity to focus on reducing the economic pressures that are burdening Minnesota’s families.
Right now, families in our communities are struggling with school closures, expensive daycare costs, and the constant risk of contracting COVID-19. That is why I support enhancements to COVID-19 mitigation measures in schools, increased funding for daycare, and a statewide paid family and medical leave program. These three proposals will help families afford childcare, safely keep students in the classroom, and provide working families with economic security if they become ill with COVID-19. Additionally, the legislature should immediately allocate a portion of the surplus to shore up the unemployment trust fund, which is currently at a deficit due to high rates of unemployment in 2020 due to closures stemming from the coronavirus pandemic. Moving forward, middle class Minnesotans also deserve a tax cut. For starters, we should work toward finding a bipartisan solution to eliminate the tax on social security benefits.
The pandemic has had a devastating impact on our schools. A portion of the surplus should be used to support public schools as they navigate operating amid the challenges posed by the Omicron variant. In addition to my work in support of students, I am also connecting with community partners in our district in finding proactive solutions to protect and affirm LGBTQIA+ youth. I look forward to advancing further progress on this issue as the legislative session gets underway.
Finally, we need to focus on a holistic approach to improving public safety. The Twin Cities metro area is experiencing a spike in violent crime, and we need to address it head-on. I will continue to work closely with law enforcement officials to address the recruitment and retention crisis that departments are experiencing. Diversify the hiring pool so that departments look like the communities they serve should be a focus. Meeting the needs of our police departments is a top priority for me. This means developing and funding multi-disciplinary teams to support law enforcement in responding to mental health crises, overdoses, and domestic disputes. These multidisciplinary responses are proven to increase early and sustained interventions that support individuals who are struggling.
The legislative session begins January 31, and I hope you will make your voices heard as the legislature makes important decisions regarding the issues that impact you and your family. If you have questions or would like to share your perspective on the issues, please contact my office at sen.karla. [email protected] or give us a call at 651-297-8060.1 welcome your feedback and look forward to hearing from you throughout the session.