The Potluck

Legislature week in review: Driver’s Licenses for All, gender-affirming care and Indian Child Welfare Act

By: and - March 10, 2023 1:57 pm

Photo courtesy of Minnesota House Public Information Services.

This week, Gov. Tim Walz signed a bill into law allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses, while Democratic-Farmer-Labor lawmakers advanced a bill to protect families with trans children traveling to Minnesota for gender-affirming care,  and moved a bill to Walz’s desk codifying Indian Child Welfare Act language ahead of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that may overturn the act.

Here’s some more highlights from another busy week at the state Capitol.

  • Walz signed a symbolic executive order reaffirming the right to access gender-affirming care in Minnesota for transgender people. The House Judiciary Finance Committee also advanced a bill (HF2280) to make Minnesota a “trans refuge.”
  • Walz on Tuesday signed into law the bill (HF4) that allows undocumented immigrants to get driver’s licenses.
  • A bill (SF667) aimed at keeping Native American children within the foster care system in Native American homes will now go to Walz’s desk to be signed into law after the House passed it on Thursday.
  • The Senate Rules Committee advanced two equal rights bills. One (SF37) would put a state constitutional amendment question before voters in 2024. It would guarantee Minnesotans equal protection regardless of race, color, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability, ancestry or national origin. The other (SF47) is a resolution urging Congress to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment at the federal level.
  • Cannabis legalization advanced through its 12th committee — House Economic Development Finance and Policy — on Wednesday. The bill (HF100) goes to Transportation next.
  • The House voted to concur with the Senate on a bill (SF5) to crack down on catalytic converter theft. The bill heads to Walz’s desk for his signature.
  • The House public safety committee advanced a bill (HF1234) that would require police officers and firefighters to get mental health treatment for PTSD before accessing pension benefits that require cities to continue providing health insurance until they reach age 65, which is costly for cities.
  • The Senate and House labor committees advanced a bill (SF2319/HF2369) that would set a minimum wage for Uber and Lyft drivers and require the companies to pay for fuel and car wear-and-tear.
  • The House local government committee advanced the DFL’s signature voter expansion bill: the “Democracy for the People Act” (HF3). Among other things, it would make it a crime to knowingly spread false information that impedes voting. The Senate judiciary committee heard the bill (SF3) Friday morning.
  • The House passed two capital investment bills on Monday, which would invest $1.9 billion in projects throughout the state — $1.5 billion in bonds and $393 million in cash. (HF 669 and HF 670). The Senate Finance Committee will discuss these bonding packages Friday afternoon.
  • The House Children and Families Committee laid over a bill (HF2471) to provide affordable child care for all, for possible inclusion in the committee’s budget bill.
  • The Senate Finance Committee passed a bill (HF5) providing free school breakfast and lunch to all students. It next heads to the Senate floor. The House already passed it.
  • The Senate Finance Committee advanced a bill (SF1367) that would provide $50 million for homelessness prevention and emergency rental assistance.

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

Grace Deng
Grace Deng

Grace Deng was a reporting intern with the Minnesota Reformer. They studied legal studies and Asian American Studies at Northwestern University. The Seattle native has previously been a statehouse intern with USA TODAY Network Ohio and an editorial fellow with Washingtonian Magazine.

Max Nesterak
Max Nesterak

Max Nesterak is the deputy editor of the Reformer and reports on labor and housing. Previously, he was an associate producer for Minnesota Public Radio after a stint at NPR. He also co-founded the Behavioral Scientist and was a Fulbright Scholar to Berlin, Germany.