Last Tuesday was the one-year anniversary of the murder of George Floyd, and time hasn’t healed the trauma for our community. Last summer, lawmakers took some initial steps to reform police accountability laws, and one officer has been convicted of that murder. However, as a state, we’re still far short from delivering on the promise for every Minnesotan to live with dignity in their community. Black lives continue to be senselessly taken from us at the hands of law enforcement, and these tragedies will only continue unless we take the bold action people are counting on.
Minnesotans are still demanding the necessary reforms to rebuild trust, ensure accountability, and invest in our communities so everyone can be safe. House DFLers have put forth a strong package of reforms, while Senate Republicans are still hesitant to join us in advancing these transformative changes. Steps like changing laws around traffic stops, authorizing local oversight councils, strengthening body camera policies, prohibiting police officers from affiliating with white supremacy groups, and many more actions can move us closer to our goal of a public safety system rooted in the values of justice, fairness, equity, and the sanctity of life.
New State Budget
On the final day of the regular legislative session, Governor Tim Walz, House Speaker Melissa Hortman, and Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka announced a bipartisan budget agreement. The budget framework includes robust investments in education, and funding to help workers, businesses, and families recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Clearly, the pandemic has affected Minnesotans differently. Those who were struggling before the pandemic found their difficulties compounded during COVID-19, and it’s important for our final budget to recognize this reality. Lawmakers are currently working to reach a compromise on the details in each issue area like education, health care, and public safety. In June, we will meet in special session to enact a full new two-year state budget and I’m hopeful the final product will help people emerge from COVID-19 with the ability to succeed and thrive.
Over 2.7 million Minnesotans have now received the full series of COVID-19 vaccine. To overcome this pandemic, getting as many Minnesotans as possible vaccinated will have the most significant impact. It’s never been easier to get your shot, as many locations now offer walk-in opportunities with no appointment necessary. Now through June 8, COVID-19 vaccines will be available at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be offered, which only requires a single dose. Walk-ins are welcome, but if you prefer to make an appointment, you can schedule one here. Click here for a full map of locations offering the vaccine.
Last week this week, Governor Walz announced a series of rewards for the first 100,000 Minnesotans to get a vaccine between now and June 30. Rewards include admission to Valleyfair, the Minnesota Zoo, and the State Fair, fishing licenses, ride passes to Nickelodeon Universe at Mall of America, state parks parking passes. and Visa gift cards. More information is available here.
Please feel free to reach out to share your feedback, offer your ideas, or let me know if I can be of help.