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U.S. Senator Tina Smith Lauds President Biden’s Bold Action to Address Climate Risk to the Financial System

WASHINGTON, D.C. [5/20/21]—This afternoon, U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) released the following statement in response to President Biden signing an executive order addressing climate-related financial risks. Among other things, the order directed the Department of Labor to review harmful limits imposed by the Trump Administration that prevented the consideration of environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors by workplace retirement plans.  “I’m pleased to see President Biden is taking bold action to address climate risk to the financial system.  It’s critical that financial regulators and the federal budget take into account the risks of climate change.  In addition, I’m especially glad that the President is directing the Department of Labor to review burdensome and unnecessary rules imposed last year that limit employers from offering the sustainable investing options that many workers are seeking in their retirement plans.  Earlier today, I introduced legislation that complements the President’s actions.  My bill is aimed at making sure workplace retirement plans are able to offer sustainable investment options to workers across the country,” said Sen. Smith, a member of the Senate Banking Committee. “As I’ve said before, sustainable investment options are good for retirees and good for our environment—that’s a win-win. I’m glad President Biden understands that, and I’m pleased to be a partner in these efforts.” Prior to President Biden’s announcement, Sens. Smith (D-Minn.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and U.S. Representative Suzan DelBene (D-WA 1) on Thursday introduced legislation in the Senate and House to provide legal certainty to workplace retirement plans that choose to consider environmental,

U.S. Senator Tina Smith Continues Fight to Improve Mental Health Services for Students

WASHINGTON, D.C. [05/27/21]—U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) continued her fight to improve mental health services for students by reintroducing legislation to strengthen school-based mental health services for students in kindergarten through 12th grade. The Mental Health Services for Students Act would help schools partner with local mental health providers to establish on-site mental health services for students. It would also provide training for school personnel on how to recognize, assist and refer students who may need mental health support. Sen. Smith—a member of the Senate Health and Education Committee—said that schools are an ideal setting to identify students who need mental health services and quickly connect them to help. These services are especially important now, as some students have experienced negative mental health symptoms such as loneliness, anxiety, grief and hopelessness during the pandemic. “Providing mental health services health to students at school—where they spend a significant portion of their time—helps them thrive,” said Sen. Smith. “It removes many barriers to access, such as trying to figure out how to leave school in the middle of the day, and promotes behavioral health equity.  “There is an acute need for mental health services in schools for our youth,” Sen. Smith continued. “Even before the pandemic hit, young people were experiencing mental health conditions about as often as adults, and roughly 1 in 5 students were experiencing severe mental health issues. The fallout of COVID-19 has only exacerbated this issue. I’m going to work hard to move this bill forward.” The Mental Health Services for Students Act is supported by Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Chris Van Hollen (D-M.D.) and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.). Congresswoman Grace Napolitano (D-Calif.) has been a long-time champion of this bill in the

U.S. Sens. Smith, Merkley Introduce Bill to Protect Consumers From Predatory Rent-to-Own Housing Contracts

U.S. Sens. Smith, Merkley Introduce Bill to Protect Consumers  From Predatory Rent-to-Own Housing Contracts Senators’ Legislation Would Establish Standards for Predatory Rent-to-Own Contracts, Which Have Traditionally Targeted Underserved Communities and Lower-Income Americans WASHINGTON, D.C. [02/27/19]—U.S. Senators Tina Smith (D-Minn.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) have introduced the Residential Rent-to-Own Protection Act to protect consumers in Minnesota and across the country from predatory rent-to-own housing contracts. Their measure would allow rent-to-own residents—many of whom are often people of color or low-income Americans—to seek damages from landlords who violate contracts and put protections in place to ensure these residences are safe. “Rent-to-own contracts can create

U.S. Senator Tina Smith Honors Grand Portage Chairman Norman Deschampe with Senate Tribute

U.S. Senator Tina Smith Honors Grand Portage Chairman Norman Deschampe with Senate Tribute WASHINGTON, D.C. [02/27/19]—Today, U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) honored the legacy and contributions of Grand Portage Chairman Norman W. Deschampe, who recently passed away.  Praising his leadership, Sen. Smith cited the numerous issues Deschampe championed in his more than 40 years of service to the Grand Portage Band, serving 27 of those years as Chairman. Sen. Smith’s tribute follows Governor Tim Walz’s declaration of February 26, 2019 as Norman Deschampe Day.   “Norman Deschampe’s legacy includes a longstanding commitment to supporting the health, education, and economic development of the Grand Portage Band,” wrote Sen. Smith, a