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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Rick Hansen (DFL)

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Legislative Update - April 21, 2021

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Dear neighbors, 

The guilty verdicts for the murderer of George Floyd provide needed accountability and are a step forward in the march for justice. The horror of this murder, and the murder of others, is something we cannot unsee. But we must consider the implications of the years prior to video, phones, and technology that could record the realities of actions taken by authorities with the power over life and death.  

Vice President Walter Mondale’s passing and Minnesotans’ reflections on his life also provide something we cannot forget: the resiliency of moving forward after obstacles and defeat. Even after losing family members and elections, the Vice President kept his humility, wit, and warmth. 

As your representative, I commit to continue learning, seeing, and understanding. This afternoon, I will be voting on the Public Safety bill and a multitude of amendments. You will find a summary below. You can follow along on this and other bills being considered by the Minnesota House on House Public Information Services’ YouTube channel.  


Delivering Public Safety for all Minnesotans 

The House is hearing several major bills today, including our Public Safety and Criminal Justice Reform proposal. This legislation aims to provide public safety for all Minnesotans, no matter where they live or what they look like. It funds law enforcement and public safety initiatives while delivering the resources needed to make meaningful and much-needed reforms, such as:  

  • Allowing local governments to establish civilian oversight councils  
  • Enhancing training and requiring the development of new model policies  
  • Supporting community organizations working to prevent crime  
  • Issuing body cameras and prohibiting altering, destroying, or withholding the footage  
  • Prohibiting white supremacists from become police officers  
  • Limiting the use of no-knock warrants  
  • Strengthening the police officer misconduct database and building a more effective early warning system to identify bad officers and keep them off the streets 
  • Limiting police officers’ authority to stop or detain drivers for certain violations 

The bill also supports survivors of sexual assault. As you may have heard, the Minnesota Supreme Court recently ruled that under current law, the definition of “mentally incapacitated” doesn’t include people who become intoxicated after voluntarily consuming alcohol or drugs. This is just one of the loopholes that can make it difficult for survivors to get justice. The Public Safety bill closes these loopholes and strengthens Minnesota’s sexual assault laws.  

Public Safety


Protecting Our Environment and Natural Resources  

April 22 is Earth Day - an excellent day to present our Environment and Natural Resources bill on the House floor! I’m looking forward to championing this strong bill and hopefully seeing it approved. If you’d like to see this too, you can watch the floor session live on YouTube.  

On a related note, the Star Tribune recently published an article that highlights the great success of Lawns to Legumes! Approximately 750 Minnesotans have received financial assistance from this program since it was established two years ago. They planted 157,000 square feet of pollinator habitat across the state, and homeowners who didn’t receive assistance planted another 190,000 square feet.  

I also encourage you to check out a video that the Voyageurs Wolf Project shared recently. This organization, which receives support from the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund, studies wolves and other species in and around Voyageurs National Park. Their latest video shows all of the wildlife that used a particular game trail over the course of a year.  

Finally, I’m pleased to share that researchers at the University of Minnesota have developed a field test for chronic wasting disease (CWD)! They are the first scientists to successfully design a rapid test for the contagious neurological disease, which is fatal to deer and similar species. My colleagues and I worked hard to secure financial support for this research with resources from the Environment and Natural Resource Trust Fund. If you’d like to learn more about this breakthrough, you can read the university’s press release for more information.  


Please don’t hesitate to call or email me if you have any questions or if I can be of assistance. You can reach me at 651-296-6828 or rep.rick.hansen@house.mn.  

Sincerely,  

Rick Hansen  
State Representative  

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