Women are the heads of a disproportionate number of our families in poverty. At the same time, many have to face threats to their own and their children's safety due to domestic violence.
The Women's Economic Security Act (WESA) included measures to hold employers accountable for equal pay, and strengthen workplace protections for pregnant women and nursing mothers. (I was the chief author of the nursing mothers portion of the bill.) It sets in place training opportunities to help women obtain jobs that pay living wages and provide benefits. Women are disproportionately represented among those earning minimum wage. I supported the passage of the increase in the minimum wage, which is being phased in over several years.
I strongly supported $100 million for affordable housing , and $720,000 in funding to allow completion of the Harriet Tubman Center East, which will provide shelter for women and their children fleeing domestic violence. The Tubman Center is located at the former monastery building of the Benedictine sisters in Maplewood, in sight of classrooms where I used to teach. (The sisters have built a new building near there.)
I will be supporting the passage of the Contraception Health Equity and Employee Rights (CHEER) Act, which aims to restore insurance coverage of reproductive health that may be denied women because of the recent "Hobby Lobby" ruling by the US Supreme Court.
I was the chief author of the Victim's Notification Act, which helps victims of domestic violence stay safe by notifying them of the intending residence location of convicted offenders upon their release from custody. I also supported measures for GPS monitoring of offenders as a condition of release, and prohibition of firearm possession for domestic abuse offenders while under orders of protection.
I will continue to work with the Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women (MCBW) on women's safety issues. I also support the initiatives led by Ramsey County Attorney John Choi working against domestic violence and trafficking.