I want to wish each of you a very happy holiday season, full of joy and fellowship with loved ones. I also hope the New Year will bring you and your family success and good health throughout 2020.
ALERT: Make Your Voice Heard on Probation Reform
Minnesota has the fifth-highest rate of residents on community supervision in the nation, and there is no statewide standard for probation sentences. This means among our 87 counties, the same offense can result in terms many years longer in one county than another. This leads to wide disparities, with communities of color among those impacted the worst. Unreasonably lengthy probation terms create difficulty in fully rejoining their community, including critical steps like earning a job, obtaining housing, or the right to vote.
We have the opportunity to change this. Today the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines Commission is holding a public hearing on a package of reforms to probation in the state of Minnesota, including a five-year cap on terms for most offenses. The commission is accepting written comments, and I’d encourage you to share your input and encourage them to adopt these overdue reforms. Please submit your comments to email@example.com by the end of the day Tuesday, December 24. Don’t miss out on your opportunity to make your voice heard to affect change within our criminal justice system.
Camphor Methodist Celebrates 100th Anniversary
I want to recognize Camphor Memorial United Methodist Church for its service to our community for the past 100 years. In 1919, a small group of African American families residing in Saint Paul founded a Methodist congregation that has since grown to become a pillar in our community. The church, located at 585 Fuller Ave., is the only predominantly African American church in the Minnesota United Methodist Conference. Camphor is committed to serving beyond the four walls of the church by partnering with community agencies, schools, civic organizations, businesses, and other places of worship. Congratulations to Rev. Dr. Ronald Bell, Jr. and the entire Camphor staff and congregation on this incredible milestone!
Work for the 2020 Census
The U.S. Census Bureau is recruiting people to assist with the 2020 Census count. They need to hire 45,000 people across the state to complete this undertaking, which occurs once every 10 years. Temporary census positions are a great opportunity to earn extra income, while at the same time helping your community.
Shifts are flexible, with full-time, part-time, weekend, and evening shifts available. They are especially looking for diverse candidates and those fluent in languages spoken in our community including Spanish, Hmong, Somali, Oromo, Amharic, Karen, and Vietnamese. Pay starts at $16.50 per hour. Find out more information here.
New Qualifying Conditions Added to Medical Cannabis Program
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) announced it will add chronic pain and some eye conditions as new qualifying conditions for the state’s medical cannabis program, beginning in August 2020. MDH also approved two new delivery methods to give patients more options. The new methods are water-soluble cannabinoid multi-particulates (for example, granules, powders and sprinkles) and orally dissolvable products such as lozenges, gums, mints, buccal tablets and sublingual tablets.
While this is good news, many people still find barriers within our medical cannabis program, including the high cost and availability of the type of product that addresses their condition. The Minnesota House has held many Be Heard on Cannabis Community conversations across the state this fall to discuss how we can build a legalization framework for adult-use cannabis that works for Minnesotans. You can continue to make your voice heard and learn more about our efforts here.
I remain honored to represent our community at the State Capitol, and I look forward to working with neighbors in 2020 to improve opportunities for all Minnesotans. Please be in touch with your feedback, ideas, or when I can ever be of assistance.
Again, Happy Holidays to you and your family.