Dear Neighbors,

This week I joined our DFL leadership team in announcing our legislative priorities and offering a vision for a more prosperous Minnesota based on values and priorities that will advance every Minnesotan, no matter where they live.  

The focus of my work these past two weeks has centered around the reconstruction of our City, the involvement of the community in the conversations about safety and protection of our City in days ahead, and listening to the concerns of parents, educators and students about returning back to school.

I’m opposed to the militarization of our City in anticipation of civil unrest during and after the trial of Derek Chauvin. I have argued that the involvement of community organizations, activists and neighborhood associations could play a significant role in organizing and protecting our City, and I have encouraged the City to do a better job of securing resources to engage these groups.

ImageI, along with members of the POCI Caucus, advocated for more accountability, transparency and specific criteria for the Safe Account proposal requested by Governor Walz and the Mayors of St. Paul and Minneapolis, to pay for public safety cost-share assistance. The House of Representatives incorporated accountability criteria into the bill, but these changes generated significant opposition from the Republicans who want to increase funding for law enforcement with no accountability.

Another important announcement was made this week, middle and high school students can return back to school. I support Governor Walz’s plan to open schools gradually and responsibly. 85% of students went back to school this week! 

Please remember, my legislative assistant Claudia Santoyo and I are always attentive to your calls and messages, please contact us with your concerns, ideas or any challenges you may be facing. We’ll do our best to help you resolve them.

Let’s hope the worst of winter is behind us, and a joyous spring is just around the corner!




Senate DFL Priorities

  1. Support Working Families
    We recognize that everyone, from birth through aging, should have access to affordable health care, safe and affordable housing, and economic security. 

    ·    Paid Family & Medical Leave and Earned Sick Time
    ·    Broadband
    ·    Long-Term Care for our Elders and People with Disabilities

  2. Invest in Education 
    From early childhood, through higher education, children deserve a supportive, equitable, quality education from teachers with diverse backgrounds. We must prioritize investing in our schools to close the opportunity gaps our children are facing and support their mental health needs, both of which were highlighted even more during the pandemic. As our students move on to post-secondary opportunities, we need to ensure that they are affordable and accessible to all students and that we are meeting the needs of a 21st-century workforce.

    ·    Fully fund education
    ·    Increase Teachers of Color and Indigenous Teachers
    ·    Meet Students’ Mental Health and Non-Academic Needs
    ·    Workforce Development and Skills Training

  3. Provide a Clean Future
    We must come together to take bold action against the existential threat of climate change, invest in a clean energy future, and guarantee the clean air and water that future generations of Minnesotans deserve. Our children and our grandchildren are counting on us to take action now, not down the road. This is an opportunity to create good-paying jobs, innovate, and make Minnesota a national leader. We will make a clean energy economy that works for everyone and make environmental justice a core value in all decision making.

    ·    Clean Air and Water
    ·    Clean Energy
    ·    Clean Jobs

  4. Protect and Advance our Democracy
    Protecting democracy for the people begins at the ballot box. By giving democracy back to the people we put ourselves on a path to acknowledging that truth. The Senate DFL is committed to expanding voter access, preserving fair and secure elections, and recognizing that our First Amendment rights are paramount to who we are as a nation.

    ·    Expand Voter Accessibility and Protect Voter Rights
    ·    Preserve Free and Fair Elections

Bills Authored by Sen. Torres Ray

First Senate Hearing on S.F. 427:
On Tuesday, Feb. 16 the Senate Transportation committee heard S.F. 427, a bill that would repeal an outdated and discriminatory law impacting drivers with diabetes. A special thanks to S.D. 63 resident Leo Christenson for bringing forward this proposal and providing excellent testimony in support of this legislation. The bill was laid over for possible inclusion in the omnibus bill. 

You can listen to the full committee hearing here

S.F. 877: The Dignity in Pregnancy and Childbirth Act requires hospitals that provide obstetric care and birth centers to provide continuing education on anti-racism training and implicit bias, and requires the commissioner of health to take steps to improve availability of doulas and midwives and ensure midwife and doula training and licensing meet the needs of groups with disparities in maternal and infant morbidity and mortality. T

S.F. 547:The Woman of Color Opportunity Act creates pilot grant projects to encourage girls of color to explore and pursue STEM careers; to increase financial literacy; and  increase their academic success.

S.F. 1051Carbon Sequestration in Public and Private Forests: The commissioner of natural resources must identify sustainable forestry practices that increase the ability of forests to sequester atmospheric carbon while enhancing other ecosystem services, such as improved soil and water quality. By January 15, 2022, the commissioner must submit a report with the goals and recommended forestry practices to the chairs and ranking minority members of the legislative committees and divisions with jurisdiction over natural resources policy.


S.F. 890: Regulating Catalytic Converters Sale to Scrap Metal Dealers. 

Senator Patricia Torres Ray, Representative Jim Davnie, and St. Paul Police Department members joined Senator John Marty in a press conference to present S.F. 890, a bill to address the theft of catalytic converters and highlighting the urgency to get a hearing for this common sense legislation.

You can also watch our Call of the Senate Podcast episode on this topic.

S.F. 165The Providing Resources, Opportunity, and Maximizing Investments in Striving Entrepreneurs (PROMISE) Act creates a community repair panel to consider claims and determine awards; establishes the Civil Unrest Investigatory Commission; creates redevelopment and relief programs; and establishes a Metropolitan Area Redevelopment Corporation.

S.F. 643: This bill increases the proportion of a utility’s retail electric sales that must be generated from renewable energy to 40 percent in 2025 and 55 percent in 2035, and establishes a standard for carbon-free resources that reaches 100 percent in 2040.

S.F. 1118: This bill establishes a task force to investigate the causes of violence against African American women and girls and to identify recommendations to properly collect data and to reduce and end violence against African American women.

S.F. 474: This bill appropriates funding for housing, food, broadband assistance, and the Minnesota Family Investment Program.


Controversial Bills Heard in the Senate

S.F. 912 would prohibit a local unit of government’s ability to deploy rent controls, making it more difficult for communities facing exorbitant housing costs to help renters. For a local unit of government to enact rent controls, voters within a community would need to support it on a general election ballot. This bill would remove that authority.

S.F. 450 would roll back the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s (MPCA) ability to adopt rules that regulate vehicle emissions in the state. It is in retaliation to the agency’s rulemaking process to adopt more stringent vehicle emissions standards and open up the electric vehicle market in the state, a market which currently only sees a fraction of the models available nationwide for sale here in Minnesota. 

State Government
S.F. 429, S.F. 651, S.F. 652 would alter the way Minnesota seats presidential electors, reduce early voting options, and disclose personal election judge information. The first bill proposed in State Government Finance would award one electoral vote each to the presidential candidate who wins each congressional district, which will dilute the electoral vote gain for whoever wins the statewide presidential race. 

The second bill would put additional requirements on early in-person voting locations that local election officials set up to reduce congestion at main election offices and will have the effect of shutting down temporary and mobile polling locations prior to election day.

The final bill would require the Secretary of State to provide a list of all election judges, their addresses, and their party affiliation to the major political parties in Minnesota, which will jeopardize their privacy and could result in difficulty recruiting new election judges.

These three election bills are not supported by the Senate DFL caucus and do not accomplish our vision of expanding—rather than suppressing—voting rights.