Increase Teachers of Color and Indigenous Teachers Act of 2021
I’m please to share that efforts are underway to recruit and retain more teachers of color and Indigenous educators in Minnesota. The Increase Teachers of Color and Indigenous Teachers Act of 2021 has moved through the Education Policy and Finance Committees and continues to make its way through the committee process. We can deliver a quality education and celebrate our diversity in Minnesota by recruiting and retaining more Indigenous teachers, and educators of color, so our classrooms reflect more of what our state looks like. You can watch Fox9’s coverage here.
Legislation to Address Catalytic Converter Theft
Catalytic converter theft is on the rise, and I’ve heard from many in our community who have been impacted. As a result, I’ve co-sponsored legislation to help crack down on these expensive crimes by making it illegal for anyone to sell a catalytic converter except a repair shop, auto recycler or vehicle owner with proof of ownership. The bill would also make it illegal for scrap dealers to pay cash for converters. This takes the quick cash out of catalytic converter theft.
Minnesotans are already struggling enough economically with the ongoing pandemic- this shouldn’t be one more thing they have to worry about.
Adult-Use Cannabis Measure Introduced
Recently, my House DFL colleagues and I introduced legislation that would legalize adult-use cannabis in Minnesota. The bill, of which I’m a co-author, would create a regulated cannabis market while addressing concerns around youth access, public health, and road safety.
We know our cannabis laws in Minnesota are doing more harm than good. By creating a regulatory framework, we can address the harms caused by cannabis and establish a more sensible set of laws to improve our health care & criminal justice systems and ensure better outcomes for our communities across the state, especially our Black, Indigenous and communities of color. If any state can get this right, it’s Minnesota. The bill’s first stop will be the House Commerce Committee on which I sit, and I look forward to its movement through the committee process.
The Minnesota House Public Safety and Criminal Justice Reform Finance & Policy Committee approved legislation this week creating the new SAFE (State Aid for Emergencies) Account, a fund making assistance available to local governments after unplanned or extraordinary public safety events that exhaust available local resources, including mutual aid. As Derek Chauvin’s trial is set to begin for his direct role in George Floyd’s death, it’s critical to ensure all of our cities are well-equipped to respond to bad actors or outside groups trying to infiltrate our state and destroy our businesses and livelihoods.
Minnesotans must also maintain their rights to peacefully gather and make their voices heard under the first amendment. Last summer, we saw individuals who were demonstrating peacefully, bystanders, and members of the press hit with pepper spray, shot at with rubber bullets, and experience other unjustified use of force at the hands of law enforcement at a time when members of our community were counting on our police officers to protect us from harm. The legislation includes an important measure to ensure all law enforcement agencies adopt a policy specifically addressing their responsibilities in response to public assemblies. This provision is necessary to help build trust within our communities, including within law enforcement, to protect the civil liberties of all Minnesotans. Balancing the need for public safety with rights to protest and accountability for police will be a difficult challenge.
Sadly, Republicans in the legislature seem only interested in politicizing the trauma our Twin Cities’ neighborhoods endured amid the civil unrest that took place last summer. My colleague Rep. Hassan spoke out to address this in committee on Monday and you can watch her powerful remarks here.
Riverview Theatre Receives State Grant Funding
I’m pleased to share that our beloved Riverview has received a state grant of $15,000 to help stay afloat during the ongoing pandemic. It’s no secret our local arts scene in Minneapolis has taken a significant hit over the last year, so I’m glad the legislature could get this support to Minnesota theatres and convention centers as a part of the measure we passed in December.
Keep in Touch
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Thank you for the honor of representing our South Minneapolis neighbors at the Capitol.