I want to start out by thanking everyone who attended Mound City Council member Sherrie Pugh and my virtual town hall “Breaking Down Barriers: A Community Conversation on Race and Rebuilding in the Aftermath of George Floyd’s Death.” We had a powerful and constructive dialogue with approximately 65 participants from our communities, including Carver County Sheriff Jason Kamerud.
Last week on Friday, the Legislature reconvened for the beginning of special session. Since our virtual conversation, a series of three public safety and criminal justice reform packages authored by legislators of the People of Color and Indigenous (POCI) Caucus-- HF 76: the Reclaiming Community package, HF 77: the Reforming Accountability package, and HF 78: the Re-imagining Public Safety package-- have gone through various committee stops. These bills contain the following provisions:
- Warrior Training Prohibited
- Choke Hold Ban
- Duty to Intercede
- Police Residency Reform
- Arbitration Reform
- Law Enforcement Oversight Council Reform
- Use of Force Reform
- Prosecutorial Reform
- Investigatory Reform
- Public Safety Peer Counseling Debriefing
- Police Officer Critical Incident Review
- Community Led Public Safety
- Mental Health Training
- Autism Training
- Restore the Vote
These measures would not be not be a one-size-fits-all model for every community across the state, but it’s important to thoughtfully and intentionally enact reforms that address injustices and improve public safety for everybody, no exceptions.
Small Business Grants Approved
Our first order of business last Friday was passing a bipartisan and robust relief measure that provides up to $10,000 in grants for our small businesses that have been struggling since the onset of COVID-19. The legislation contains $60 million from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, and $2.5 million from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development’s Emergency Loan Program. The focus of these funds will be on Minnesota’s smallest businesses, many of which are not as well-connected with private banks, and that had to operate at 50 percent capacity or less.
To be eligible, the business must meet the following requirements:
- Have a permanent physical location in Minnesota,
- Be owned by a permanent resident of MN,
- Be in good standing with the Secretary of State’s office and the Department of Revenue as of March 1, 2020, and
- Demonstrate financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Grants will be awarded by lottery and the funds will be evenly split in their allocation to Greater Minnesota and Metro-area businesses.
Input on Distance Learning Experience Needed
The Minnesota Department of Education is starting to create a plan for what school could look like next fall and they are seeking input from Minnesota parents and guardians. Please share your experience with MDE by taking this survey, which will remain open until June 30.