A video from STEM Advocacy Day


A weekly message from your Senator

Dear Constituents and Friends,

I hope you all had a great last week during the legislative break. While the last few days have been dreary we all know that the warm weather is almost here. The overcast weather matched the mood in the Minnesota Senate this week as we hit our third deadline today. Next week we will start to hear omnibus bills on the floor, you can find the schedule on the Minnesota Senate website.

Governor Walz and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced this week that Minnesota will receive a federal Community Vaccination Clinic, this site will help Minnesota augment the state vaccination efforts. The site will be located at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds and receive over 150,000 doses over eight weeks. Vaccinations will begin at the Fairgrounds on April 14th. 

Yesterday, Minnesota reached three million COVID-19 vaccine doses administered. This milestone came exactly three weeks after the state announced two million doses administered on March 18. 

As more vaccines become available I recommend that you make sure that you and your loved ones are signed up in the Vaccine Connector. If you're 16 years of age and above you are eligible for the vaccine. Every Minnesotan who wants a vaccine will get one free of charge, but it will take time before everyone is vaccinated. As we learn more, we will keep you notified.




Minnesota Supreme Court ruling

While we were off for a week we got the Minnesota Supreme Court ruling on State v. Khalil. In March of this year the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled in the case State v. Khalil that under current Minnesota law, an individual charged with sexual assault of a person that is mentally incapacitated due to consumption of drugs or alcohol may not be found guilty if the victim is voluntarily intoxicated, due to a poorly written definition found in state statute. This decision received significant media and social media attention and has brought renewed focus to ongoing bipartisan efforts to reform Minnesota's criminal sexual conduct statutes. Senate File 1683 was heard in the Judiciary Committee this week, this bill would clarify language and fix the loophole in the Minnesota statute. The bill was adopted in committee and added to the Judiciary Committee's Omnibus Budget Bill. 

I am proud to stand in support of the bill with my Senate and House colleagues. It is unfortunate that there was a loophole in statute that had not been addressed, but we are fixing it in the legislature. I will continue to support my colleagues and work towards getting this bill into Minnesota law this year.

Condemning hate towards the Asian American community

I also want to take a second to address the increased hate towards Asian Americans in recent weeks. Minnesota is no place for hate and discrimination. The United States is a country of immigrants, people should not be fearful for their lives and livelihood because of their ethnicity. I stand with the Asian Community and condemn acts of violence, racism, and hate against Minnesotans of Asian descent. In the Minnesota Senate there are efforts towards addressing hate crimes and condemning acts of violence, racism and hate against Asian Americans. Senate File 2003 a bill awaiting a hearing in the Judiciary Committee, would close some loopholes in the state's bias crime laws and make it easier for victims to report those crimes. I signed on as a co-author to the bipartisan Senate Resolution 48 which condemns violence towards Asian Americans. 

STEM Advocacy Day

We're nearing the end of National Robotics Week, as a strong supporter of STEM programs in Minnesota, I celebrated the week with Minnesota robotics teams.


Last week we had two robotics teams come to the Senate to drop my robotics funding bill in the hopper to introduce the bill. Edina's FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) team - 1816 Green Machine was joined by a Maple Grove FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) team - 9972 Iron Gears. Both of these teams are comprised of high school students that spend a lot of time designing, prototyping, and building a robot. I encourage you to watch the video of the robots:



On Friday, April 9th, I hosted the 2021 STEM Advocacy Day along with Sen. Carlson. I've been hooked on FIRST and robotics since I met with Edina's Green Machine FRC team. I have been hosting robots at the Capitol since 2017, and cheered on our teams at competitions over the years. During the event we had speakers from SciMathMN, High Tech Kids, FIRST Upper Midwest, Minnesota State Engineering. We were also joined by robotics teams from Byron, Eagan, Edina, and Maple Grove.

Edina's Green Machine is a world championship award winning team. During the 2019 season they won the coveted Championship Chairman's Award, gaining them a spot as a FIRST Hall of Fame team.


This Saturday is the State Championship for the FIRST Tech Challenge program. Students in grades 7 - 12 build 18in x 18in x 18in robots and work on an engineering portfolio where they document their engineering design process. You can join in on the action at twitch.tv/hightechkids  

Here's the agenda for the High Tech Kids FTC State Championship:

Opening Ceremony
7:45 Pre-Show
8:00 am

Event Livestream 
8:30 am – 4:00 pm

Awards Ceremony
6:45 pm Pre-show
7:00 pm

I wish all the teams competing in the FTC State Championship good luck, especially a team from Senate District 49 - Anonobots 14333 from West Bloomington!