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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Ami Wazlawik (DFL)

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Legislative Update - Addressing Inequality

Tuesday, June 02, 2020

Dear neighbors,

George Floyd should be alive today. My heart breaks for his family, friends, and community.

It’s been over a week since Mr. Floyd was killed at the hands of a Minneapolis Police Officer, and in that time, thousands of people have come together to call for justice. Unfortunately, violence and destruction have diverted attention from many peaceful protests. However, it’s been moving to see the outpouring of support for impacted businesses and communities. Minnesotans are once again demonstrating compassion and solidarity in times of difficulty.

There’s no question that the former officers involved in Mr. Floyd’s death should be held accountable. One of them, former officer Derek Chauvin, was taken into custody and charged on Friday. Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison’s office will lead the prosecution.

This is a small step towards justice, but we need to address persistent inequalities in order to heal and rebuild as a state. Today, lawmakers from the House People of Color and Indigenous (POCI) Caucus introduced a package of legislation to help prevent tragic situations like Mr. Floyd’s death and ensure all Minnesotans can be safe in their communities. I encourage you to read the full list of policy proposals here, but some highlights include measures that would:

  • 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, and
  • Repair and build community trust and create community-centered public safety.

I’m supportive of the POCI Caucus and the fundamental changes they’re proposing. I’ll join them to advocate for these reforms in future legislative sessions.


Stay Safe MN

Yesterday, many restaurants, bars, salons, and barbershops reopened as we entered a new phase of the Stay Safe Plan. Restaurants and bars are now able to offer outdoor dining, and salons and barbershops can operate at 25 percent occupancy. If you’d like to support local businesses, please wear a mask, make a reservation if possible, and follow social distancing practices. Protecting yourself, other customers, and employees will help make the gradual reopening process a success.


More Bills Signed into Law

Governor Walz signed several bills into law last week. The Legacy bill invests $117.9 million in projects that restore and enhance prairies, forest, wetlands, and habitat for fish, game, and wildlife. Another notable bill supports renewable energy initiatives with funds from the Renewable Development Account. Governor Walz also signed a measure to support farmers and meat processing plants during the COVID-19 pandemic. More information about the bills that were signed into law can be found here.


Support for Local Small Businesses

The Ramsey County Small Business Relief Fund is providing emergency assistance to local small businesses impacted by COVID-19. Businesses with 20 or fewer employees can apply for grants of up to $7,500 to help pay critical expenses and costs associated with reopening safely. If you’d like to apply, you can learn more here. Applications will be accepted through June 12.

RC Small Business Relief Fund

In addition, the White Bear Lake City Council recently adopted a resolution that relaxes restrictions and allows local businesses to use City property for certain needs. This is exciting news for White Bear Lake businesses! You can read more about it here.


Please reach out if you have questions or feedback or if I can be of assistance during these difficult times.

Sincerely,

Ami Wazlawik
State Representative

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