State Rep. Keith Ellison (58B) provides a regular Legislative update to the community on Saturday morning’s public policy broadcast.

“ A few good things have happened at the capitol recently. State Rep. Keith Ellison (58B) provides a regular Legislative update to the community on Saturday morning’s public policy broadcast.

“ A few good things have happened at the capitol recently. The senate passed a bill to raise the minimum wage from $5.15 an hour to $7 an hour. I believe that is going to help thousands of people who are struggling to maintain their families. About 50,000 Minnesotans make minimum wage. They are not just entry-level people. They are adults trying to raise families,” Ellison told the “Conversations with Al McFarlane Public Policy Forum” broadcast at North Community High School.

“It literally takes four minimum wage jobs to feed a family of four,” said Ellison. “Of course, there is a challenge. Steve Sviggum who is the Speaker of the House said he is against this because minimum wage is for entry level people anyway."

Ellison said “there were some additional challenges recently. We had the Unhealthy For All Alert in air quality. As you know, I have been working on environmental issues for a long time. I think we've got to come to the reality that the environmentalist is not only somebody up in the North Woods hugging a tree trying to keep the oak grove forest from being cut down… An environmentalist is also an African American mother helping her baby through asthma attacks because of poor air quality.

“We have to get out of this idea that the environment is the White folks business. It is our business. If you drink water or breathe air, you better think about this environment,” Ellison said.

He said the budget continues to be a huge issue at the state capitol. “Governor Tim Pawlenty wants to cut 70,000 people off of child care assistance; he wants to cut about 41,000 people off of Minnesota Care; he wants to cut $1 million out of the YouthBuild program. So we are in a debate. I am urging everybody to come to the capitol. If you want to hangout at the capitol, come and hangout with Representative Keith Ellison,” he said.

2/21/2005

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