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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Mary Kunesh-Podein (DFL)

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Justice and Action

Friday, June 05, 2020

Dear Neighbors,

 

What has felt like far more than five days ago, we all watched in horror as the life of George Floyd was ended by a Minneapolis police officer. Outrage erupted into days of protests, demonstrations, and rogue destruction not seen since the 1970 riots. Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Brooklyn Park continue to clean up with hopes to rebuild and rise stronger from the destruction left in the aftermath. I have been inspired by those of you reaching out to ask for ways to help with cleanup efforts and for contributing to various financial recovery funds to help our neighbors in need. I’m pleased to share that the Lake Street Coalition has raised over $4.7 million in donations. You can check out their website and consider donating here

 

This week I visited some of the areas that were most affected by the destruction.

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Officers Charged

I expect that you’ve learned that former officer Chauvin has been charged with second-degree murder and the other three officers involved have also been formerly charged with aiding and abetting in the death of George Floyd. After the request of the Floyd family, Minnesota Attorney General Ellison has agreed to prosecute the former officers and held a press conference explaining the process. You can also read more from Minnesota Public Radio here. Justice for George Floyd and his family is absolutely necessary and we at the Legislature will utilize this upcoming special session to reform our criminal justice system to create a Minnesota where this never happens again.

Working with the POCI Caucus to Answer the Cries of George Floyd 

The events over the last week have made clear the need for police reform and accountability to our communities. As a founding member of the People of Color and Indigenous (POCI) Caucus in the legislature, I am committed to pursuing a more just Minnesota and have been working non-stop this week building a slew of proposed policies that center on: 

  • Reform the investigation and prosecution of officer-involved deaths and wrongful actions 
  • Increase police accountability and transparency 
  • Raise standards of conduct and support officer excellence 
  • Partner officers with the communities they serve 
  • Repair and build community trust and create community-centered public safety 

 

This past Tuesday I joined my colleagues as we announced these critical legislative proposals.

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Insurance Claim Advice From Minnesota Department of Commerce 

You or someone you know may have a business or home that was damaged during the tumultuous weather events of the past week. If you are wondering what steps you need to take to file an insurance claim I encourage you to utilize these fact sheets put together by the Minnesota Department of Commerce: 

COVID-19 Information 

On Tuesday, the governor signed executive order 20-70 authorizing the use of state right of way for outdoor dining during the COVID-19 emergency. As we continue to ‘turn up the dial”, reopening up our economy, I am appreciative of the Governor’s cautiousness but recognize we will need to use creative action to help businesses reopen and recover as soon as possible. By easing these restrictions, restaurants have leeway to add additional space to achieve social distancing goals while being outdoors and protecting the public health. Continue to visit the Minnesota COVID-19 website for all COVID-19 related information. 

Reporting Suspicious Activity 

As a reminder, if you see anything suspicious from your home or in our neighborhoods, please call 911. This is the latest guidance we have received from the BCA: 

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Last Day of School

Today was the last day of school for me! I am not quite ready to give up my career as a library Media Specialist, so I return to Robbinsdale Middle School every fall until it’s time to head over to the Capitol, and then head back for the last days to collect chrome books, library books and say “goodbye” to staff and students. I’ll be back in fall, not at all sure what to expect, but we’ll do what needs to be done! 

For students, families, and schools these past months have been a time we could never have imagined. Most heartbreaking that high school graduations have not been held in a traditional way. I’ve prepared a message to our 2020 high school graduates, watch it here

Keep in Touch 

That's all for now - now more than ever, please reach out with comments and questions at rep.mary.kuneshpodein@house.mn or 651-296-4331. 

 

Sincerely, 

Mary KP

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