The Minnesota Legislature went into a special session on June 12, 2020 and ended at 7am on Sunday, the 21st with the hopes of passing unfinished and much needed legislation.
The legislative POCI (People of Color Indigineous) caucus worked incredibly hard to craft and move legislation around public safety reform. It is so disappointing that my Republican colleagues would prefer the status quo to working with us to create real change. Even though the Senate Republicans decided to pack up and go home, I am committed to coming back for future special sessions to pass these critical bills.
Minnesota Police Accountability Act of 2020
The House DFL recognizes that we need systemic reform if we are to ever have a public safety system that makes all Minnesotans safer and the House was able to pass a comprehensive package of policing reforms in this special session. We are hopeful that our Senate partners will work with authenticity to reach an agreement in time for the next special session, tentatively scheduled for July 12.
Here is the full list of reforms the passed off of the House floor with a DFL majority:
Reclaiming Community Oversight
Putting power into the hands of the people and neighborhoods that police officers are sworn to serve and protect.
Restoring confidence and trust in the systems that are meant to provide justice for all Minnesotans.
Re-Imagining Public Safety
Ending the unacceptable culture that is responsible for the murder of George Floyd and far too many others who look like him.
CARES Act to Help Local Governments
The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Actis legislation delivers $841 million of relief to Minnesota’s counties, cities, and townships - allowing for new investments in the communities of Minnesota. Unfortunately, this issue became divisive as well and we were unable to come to a final agreement during the Special Session. Thankfully, Governor Tim Walz released those funds with a plan to distribute the funds to communities across the state impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. $841 million will be distributed to Minnesota counties, cities, and towns to support local government coronavirus relief efforts. $12 million will be allocated toward food shelves and food banks. Our communities of Columbia Heights, New Brighton, and St. Anthony will receive $1.5 million, $1.7 million, and $683,000 respectively.
House DFL PROMISE ACT
We also took advantage of the special session to introduce and pass the PROMISE Act to provide immediate assistance in rebuilding neighborhoods that were hurt by the recent unrest in an equitable and community-led manner. We needed to take action and support these communities, which are unfortunately now undergoing a very difficult recovery period. You can watch our press conference on this legislation here. The PROMISE ACT will:
Assistance for Small Business
One important bill that passed with strong support is the creation of a $62.5 million fund for small business grants. Businesses with 50 or fewer employees can receive grants up to $10,000 each. This is a very important bill that will provide our local businesses with the assistance they need to continue on during these difficult times. Of the $62.5 million total, there are several areas where the funding is targeted:
To be eligible, the business must meet the following requirements:
Grants will be awarded by lottery and the funds will be evenly split in their allocation to Greater Minnesota and Metro-area businesses. The process is now open, and applications will be accepted during a 10-day period beginning on Tuesday, June 23, and lasting through Thursday, July 2. You can find more information on how to apply here.
Keep in Touch
That's all for now - more than ever before, please reach out with comments and questions at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-296-4331.