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

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Legislative Update - Improving Public Safety

Friday, September 24, 2021

Dear neighbors,

First of all, I’d like to thank everyone who came to the mental health town hall I hosted last week! We had a great conversation about the importance of mental health services and what we can do to ensure every Minnesotan has access to the support they need to thrive. If you weren’t able to make it, you can watch the town hall here.  

Improving Public Safety 

The Public Safety and Judiciary budget we passed this year will help people struggling with mental health issues who come into contact with law enforcement. Most notably, it includes Travis’s Law, legislation that requires law enforcement agencies to refer to available mental health crisis teams when responding to mental health crisis calls. This law will help better meet the needs of the person in crisis.  

The budget also includes several measures to help survivors of sexual assault, intimate partner violence, and similar crimes. It will:  

  • Strengthen Minnesota’s criminal sexual conduct statutes by enacting a series of recommendations put forth by a working group led by survivors
  • Close the “intoxication loophole,” which prevented people who were assaulted after voluntarily consuming alcohol or drugs from getting justice  
  • Create a new Office of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Relatives to prevent violence against Indigenous women and girls
  • Establish a Missing and Murdered African American Women Task Force, the first in the nation
  • Help members of the Minnesota National Guard who experience sexual assault get justice
  • Help protect survivors of intimate partner violence by permitting Minnesota to enforce protection orders issued in Canada
  • Eliminate the statute of limitations for certain offenses, including sex trafficking

Grants Available for Small Businesses 

An application portal for the state’s Main Street COVID Relief Grant program opened this week. More than $64 million is available in grants for Minnesota-owned and -operated businesses that have experienced financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The grants range from $10,000 to $25,000.  

Applications will close on September 29 at 11:59 p.m. You can find information about eligibility, frequently asked questions, and more on the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development’s website.    

Community Spotlight 

Northeast Youth & Family Services 

Northeast Youth & Family Services (NYFS) is a nonprofit organization that’s been serving residents of the northeastern suburbs since 1976. They partner with 15 local governments – including Hugo, North Oaks, White Bear Lake, and White Bear Township – to provide a variety of services, including:  

  • Counseling for individuals, couples, and families
  • Day treatment for middle and high school students who are struggling with mental health
  • A senior chore program that helps Minnesotans live independently
  • A youth diversion program that helps young people charged with low-level crimes get back on track
  • A community advocate program that helps people who’ve been involved with law enforcement resolve underlying problems such as mental health issues and family instability, reducing the need for intervention in the future

NYFS also provides school-based therapy and support to students and their families. These services are available at 15 schools in three districts, including White Bear Lake Area Schools and Mounds View Public Schools. More information about the organization, which has an office in White Bear Lake, is available at nyfs.org.  

I appreciate hearing from community members, so please don’t hesitate to share questions, ideas, or feedback with me. You can reach me at rep.ami.wazlawik@house.mn or (651) 296-3018. 

Sincerely,  

Ami Wazlawik  
State Representative  

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