Successful 2023 session for the Minnesota Senate
Sen. Sandy Pappas
As we enjoy the festivals, music and outdoor activities that make Minnesota summers so wonderful, the transformative 2023 legislative session has given us many more reasons to celebrate summer this year. On May 22, we marked the end of a historic session and delivered on the DFL’s promises to build an economy that works for all Minnesotans. We passed bills to protect rights, expand freedoms and defend democracy, lower the costs of health care and child care and ensure safe communities, strong schools and a healthy climate for all.
I’ve spent several decades at the Capitol as a legislator, and this has been the best session of my entire career. We passed laws that will create more affordable housing and establish paid family and medical leave for all Minnesota workers. We made sure no student will go hungry in school and boosted teacher recruitment programs. We delivered $3 billion in tax cuts—the largest package in state history—which will help seniors, renters, homeowners and working families. And we protected and expanded the fundamental rights of Minnesotans, including guaranteeing the right to reproductive health care.
I’m particularly happy to celebrate some new laws that I’ve spent years working on at the Capitol. One is the Earned Sick and Safe Time Act, which will allow all Minnesota workers to take time to care for a sick child, heal from an illness or recover from sexual assault, without fear of losing vital income. Another is the Secure Choice Retirement Program Act, which creates a statewide retirement savings program so that every Minnesota worker can easily save for their future and ensures financial stability in their later years. I first introduced both of these bills as part of the Women’s Economic Security Act of 2014, and I’m proud to have seen them through across the finish line.
I made our community a top priority as I led the charge to pass a $2.6 billion infrastructure and jobs bill. I secured funding for important and exciting projects in St. Paul and West St. Paul, including:
• $28.5 million to complete the rebuild of the 3rd Street and Kellogg Bridge.
• $8 million for the Mississippi River Learning Center in Crosby Farm Regional Park.
• $6.2 million to design RiversEdge Park in downtown St. Paul, a terraced park from the bluff to the riverbank.
• $2.5 million to build an inclusive and accessible playground for all children, including those with intellectual, developmental or physical disabilities, in the West 7th Neighborhood.
• $2.2 million to remodel the Neighborhood House at the Wellstone Center.
• $2 million to design improvements to Thompson County Park in West St Paul, which may include a pollinator promenade, creek restorations, Dakota Lodge renovations, a greenway rest area with picnic shelter and a sledding hill.
The laws we passed this session are popular and proven policies, and they’ll improve Minnesotans’ lives in the short and long term. As states across the country cut funding for lifesaving programs and deny their residents’ fundamental rights, Minnesota has become a beacon of people-focused policy and will be a magnet for people to move here because they know their children will be safe and well-educated, their rights are protected and they have access to worker-friendly programs like paid family and medical leave.
From the North End to downtown, from the West Side to West St Paul, we’re in this together to make life better for our neighbors, our families and all of Minnesota. We have made great strides this year after six years of gridlock, and I look forward to continuing this new era of listening and legislating in 2024.