This week was spent continuing the process of passing our budget proposals off the House floor, and though our work continues in the Minnesota Legislature, I recognize these past few weeks have been a lot for our community. From the shooting of Daunte Wright, waiting for the guilty verdict for Derek Chauvin, and the Northern Metals fire, it’s felt like an unending stream of stress for many. Please be sure to take care of yourself, check in on your neighbors, and look out for one another.
In response to the trial of Derek Chauvin, I’d like to share with you the response from my colleagues and I in the People of Color and Indigenous (POCI) Caucus:
“This is not a joyful moment. As we watched the trial and relived the desperate final moments of a man's life and the cruelty of one who is supposed to protect, we were reminded that we do not live in a just society. The finding of guilt in the actions of an officer not only condemns the actions of that man, but our society and public safety system as a whole. While the verdict is guilty, we demand that Derek Chauvin receive the maximum sentence for his crime.
“Justice cannot stop at punishment, it must continue in everything we do to ensure a tragedy like this never happens again. We have the opportunity to create a just society, this verdict has planted the seed of justice in tenuous soil polluted by years of oppression and injustice. It is now up to us, our white colleagues, and all Minnesotans who value human life to nurture this seed so that it may grow into true justice.
“Amongst the chaos of this past year, there are two truths that will stick with us for the rest of our lives and for generations to come. The first; George Floyd should still be alive. The second; George Floyd has changed the world. How exactly the world has been changed remains in our hands. The POCI Caucus will work to create a world where Black Lives Matter, where every life is sacred, where every person feels safe and secure, and where Black, Brown, and Indigenous children can live joyfully free from the oppression of our unjust society.
“Lastly, we extend our deepest sympathies to George Floyd’s friends and family. You lost a loved one in a horrific way and your pain was displayed to the world. No one should have to go through what you did. Your courage and perseverance is an inspiration, and we will hold you in our hearts always.”
Passing Our Budget Proposal
I’m happy to share that we were successful in passing our Public Safety, Judiciary, and Civil Law Budget this week, which contained the meaningful police accountability and reform measures that we’ve been working on since the murder of George Floyd. This, like many of our budget proposals, faces an uphill battle in the Republican-controlled Senate, but it’s a fight worth having.
So far, we’ve passed the following budget bills:
- State Government, Elections, and Veterans, which makes sure our state government works for all Minnesotans, and ensures accessible and inclusive elections - no matter your party or where you live.
- Transportation, which funds a 21st system that helps Minnesotans get to work and services, while also ensures communities like ours have the efficient public transportation systems it deserves.
- Housing, which addresses the crisis our community and state faced well before the pandemic. Safe and affordable homes is a priority that can’t be ignored any longer.
- Labor, Industry, Workforce, and Business Development, which delivers the economic security all Minnesotans need to support themselves and their loved ones.
- Legacy Amendment that invests in the things that make Minnesota great - our diverse art, culture, and nature.
- Early Learning and K-12 Education that delivers high-quality education from cradle to career, no matter where students live.
- Higher Education, which brings more inclusiveness to our higher education system while assisting those struggling on campus.
- Energy and Commerce, that protects Minnesota’s consumers and builds a clean energy economy that’ll make our state a leader is protecting our climate.
- Environment and Natural Resources, which preserves and protects out great outdoors, ensuring their enjoyment for future generations.
- Taxes that make sure the wealthiest 1% pay their fair share, and gives our small businesses the support they need.
- Agriculture, which supports our farmers of all kinds, and delivers resources like high-speed broadband to homes across the state.
- Public Safety, Judiciary, and Civil Law, which holds bad actors accountable, creates a safer, more just Minnesota, and dismantles racist and sexist systems to ensure that justice is more easily obtainable for ALL Minnesotans.
We’ll return on Monday to pass our Health and Human Service bill, the final piece of our budget. At that point, members will then begin meeting with Senators in joint conference committees, where we’ll work to build consensus legislation that both parties agree on. There are a lot of differences between the House and Senate budget proposals, many of them incredibly important. Through all of this, I’ll be advocating for a state budget that provides economic security, quality education, affordable healthcare, clean air and water, and the resources, investments and dignity all communities throughout Minnesota deserve
The State Fair Community Vaccination Site has appointments available! Our community is one of the regions eligible to sign up for appointments, and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has reduced barriers for this site by opening a hotline to schedule appointments directly (833-431-2053) in a multitude of languages. MDH has ensured a large number of translators are on site daily, as well as an ADA accessible drive through option, and are offering a free Metro Transit pass to every registrant. This week, they are also beginning to open community sites with the federal doses, where up to 1,000 doses a day of our allocation will be administered. These sites are being finalized and will be located at community centers, churches, schools, and more.