By Sen. Mary Kiffmeyer

Guest Columnist

This summer is going by quickly and I hope you had time to make some good summer memories with your loved ones. While the weather is nice and some much-needed rain came, I am still busy working for you.

Frontline Work Group

I am one of three Senators and six House/Commissioners in the working group for Frontline Worker Pay. The group’s duty is to make a recommendation for the disbursement of $250 million in direct financial support to frontline workers, including the crucial long-term care workers that served our state’s most vulnerable citizens during peak COVID stages.

Our workgroup is required to consider a frontline worker’s increased financial burden, increased risk of exposure, and a number of other contributing factors.

Redistricting Hearings

I am also the Vice-Chair for the Senate Redistricting Committee, which held a committee hearing in Bemidji on Aug. 9. This was an incredible opportunity for the committee members and myself to hear from a wide variety of Minnesotans on the important issue of redistricting.

This process only happens once every ten years following the once-every-ten-years census and shows the beauty of the US Constitution alive today. Our constitutional requirement to count was the first time in history to count for fair representation in electing representatives.

New Laws

August is always an exciting month for the Legislature because it’s when many of the new laws we fought hard for officially become law. Many changes to election provisions were technical changes, but they still bring incredible value in upholding our republic.

Notably, the state will tighten the thresholds for determining acceptable performance by a voting system and require additional review of the election results if the thresholds are exceeded. The definition of “military” for the state’s absentee voting laws is also expanded, making it easier for our brave Minnesotans to vote while doing their duty.

Healthy Start Act

I am glad to see the “Healthy Start Act,” which I authored

in the Senate, go into effect. This law allows pregnant women prisoners to spend more time with their babies in select cases, which improves outcomes for the baby and the mother. The Department of Corrections is developing policy and criteria for conditional release, providing community-based programming for prenatal or postnatal care, parenting skills classes, or chemical dependency and mental health treatment services.

The bond between a mother and her baby is so important, especially at the beginning stages of life, and creating that bond will incentivize the mother to turn away from whatever life bought her into prison and instead focus on good choices for her and her child.

Senator Mary Kiffmeyer represents District 30, which includes the cities of Albertville, Hanover and St. Michael. Reach out to her office with any questions, comments, concerns, or to set up a meeting. She can be reached at Sen.Mary.Kiffmeyer@Senate.MN or give her a call at 651-296-5565.

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