From Rep. Esther Agbaje <[email protected]>
Subject Legislative Update: End of Session Wrap Up
Date May 30, 2023 8:14 PM
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Esther Header

Dear Neighbors,   


The 2023 legislative session was a success for Minnesotans! DFLers passed hundreds of important bills, including a bill to expand access to healthcare more people including our undocumented neighbors, a bill to invest in education, and a bill to protect the environment. We also made progress on issues including gun violence prevention, restoring voting rights to 55,000 Minnesotans, and criminal justice reform.   

One of the most significant accomplishments of the session was the passage of the Paid Family and Medical Leave Act, a bill to give workers access to paid leave to bond with their new babies, their own medical condition, to care for a family member, or another emergency event. Gov. Walz signed the PFMLA and it will provide most Minnesota workers the ability to take 12 weeks of paid family leave. The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) will administer the program in conjunction with its Unemployment Insurance (UI).    

We also made historic investments in education during the session. This year’s education budget will increase funding for public schools by $1 billion over the next two years. The bill will also provide funding for early childhood education and for after-school programs.   

Democrats also took action to protect the environment by passing legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2040. The new law invests in renewable energy and energy efficiency by streamlining the process for solar energy generating systems and certain high-voltage transmission lines and authorizes the commission to require payment of the state prevailing wage to workers constructing large wind and solar energy systems.  

To ensure that more Minnesotans are safe or receive justice, Minnesota created a community-based response to address this crisis that is cold cases of missing or murdered Black women by establishing the first Missing and Murdered Black Women and Girls Office. The provisions in this law will ensure the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension operate an alert program and requires the issuance of an alert when a person is determined to be missing and endangered. Black women and girls' lives matter, they are worthy of protection, and families and communities deserve closure and justice for their loved ones. 


*My Highlights*   

During this session several of the bills I sponsored to support our community passed into law. A short highlight is below. 

*CROWN Act*  

The CROWN Act is a nationally led effort by Dove and the CROWN Act Coalition that paved the way for Minnesota to join 19 other states in banning hair discrimination in the workplace, education, and other public accommodations. Hair discrimination is a form of racism that has been used to justify the exclusion and mistreatment of people of color for centuries. It can have a devastating impact on people's lives, leading to decreased self-esteem, more anxiety, and depression. The CROWN Act will help to ensure that all Minnesotans can succeed, without the extra scrutiny of their hair. 

*Housing Budget Bill*  

I am incredibly proud of serving on the Housing Finance and Policy Committee. We are making significant investments in housing and shelter assistance for all Minnesotans. Housing is fundamental and should be a human right. Housing stability provides families with the opportunity to obtain jobs that provide better incomes and supports the ability to save and start the path to homeownership. Making this overdue investment into the housing sector will provide families with the relief they deserve and the chance to look forward to a future where their families are warm, safe, and sheltered.   

The budget offers $1 billion in investments, our state’s most significant commitment to addressing our housing crisis in state history. In doing so, the legislature will create housing stability for Minnesota families on the brink of homelessness through new state-based housing vouchers, spur the production of new homes across the state, and deliver pathways to homeownership for thousands of Minnesotans.   

*Nursing Home Workforce Standards Board Act *  

My Nursing Home Workforce Standards Board Act legislation was included in the Jobs and Labor Budget. For years, we have heard demands for justice from our nursing home workers and professionals. Our senior home residents and elder loved ones deserve the dignified care as they are aging. We must improve the working conditions for our dedicated frontline nursing home professionals as they care for some of our most vulnerable communities. I am proud we are establishing a Nursing Home Workforce Standards Board that will help raise wages and improve working conditions, thereby addressing the main drivers of the staffing crisis in nursing homes across the state. 


Even though it’s the interim period, please continue to reach out with any input, ideas, or feedback about the issues important to you. I value hearing from you, contact my office anytime. 

It has been an honor to represent our community at the legislature. 

In community, 

Rep. Esther Agbaje 

Minnesota House of Representatives  

Committee Assignments: 

* *Vice *Chair Housing Finance and Policy 
* Taxes 
* Ways and Means 
* Elections Finance and Policy 

*Legislative Assistance * 

Shamat Abraha 

[email protected] 


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