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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Zack Stephenson (DFL)

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Legislative Update- June 22, 2020

Monday, June 22, 2020

Rep. Stephenson

 

Dear Neighbors,

Very early Saturday morning, the Minnesota Senate adjourned the special session. The Senate left the Capitol despite the fact that virtually all of the major work Minnesotans expect us to accomplish remains undone. The job and local projects or “bonding” bill, criminal justice and public safety reform, COVID-19 funding-- all of these issues and more remain unresolved. I am angry and frustrated. We were only in special session for one week. Quite simply, that is not a sufficient amount of time to devote to such important subjects. The fact that the Senate threw up their hands and walked away from the table in this critical moment is just inexcusable.

I think we should return to session as soon as possible and stay in session until the job is done. I have expressed my views to Governor Walz and House leadership, and I stand ready to continue this important work.

This is a crucial time in our state, and Minnesotans are calling on us to do the hard work to enact meaningful measures that protect public health and our economy during COVID and beyond, in addition to long overdue criminal justice reforms – like those from the POCI Caucus that we advanced in the House – right now. Minnesotans expect and deserve results from the leaders that they elected.


Re-imaging our Public Safety in Minnesota

The House passed legislation that was carefully crafted by the People of Color and Indigenous Caucus through their shared lived experiences. The bills contain no provisions that would disband or defund any law enforcement agency, but rather, establish practical and common-sense reforms like banning choke holds, increasing training around mental health and Autism awareness, and more community led public safety.

 

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Early last week, I posted a survey for our community asking for feedback about some of the criminal justice reform proposals the House acted on last week. You can find the results to date here.


COVID-19 Grants for Small Businesses

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) has announced that Minnesota’s Small Business Relief Grants Program – created by legislation of which I was chief author and, approved by the Minnesota Legislature last week and signed by Governor Tim Walz on Tuesday – will begin accepting applications this week. The application period will begin tomorrow, and close on Thursday, July 2 to fulfill the 10-day period required by the law. The application can be found at the link above.

Here is a rundown of the requirements:

  1. Have a permanent physical location in Minnesota, 
  2. Be owned by a permanent resident of Minnesota, 
  3. Be in good standing with the Secretary of State’s office and the Dept. of Revenue as of March 1, 2020, and 
  4. Demonstrate financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Youth and Adult Summer Sports

Minnesotans know that summer is short and sweet. The Minnesota Department of Health has come up with a COVID-19 guide for youth and adult sports and activities. You can check it out here.

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Keep in Touch

Please continue to contact me at rep.zack.stephenson@house.mn with questions or input.

I appreciate hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Zack Stephenson

State Representative

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