Yesterday, Governor Walz announced a phased approach to further remove COVID-19-related restrictions. The first step took effect at noon today which relaxes some restrictions on outdoor dining, events, and other get-togethers. On May 28, the remaining capacity and distancing limits will come to an end, including for indoor events and gatherings. The final step will take effect once 70 percent of Minnesotans age 16 years and older – 3,087,404 Minnesotans – get at least one dose of the vaccine, but no later than July 1.
We’re on the brink of defeating this pandemic, but we’re not quite there yet. Please make plans to get your COVID-19 vaccine if you haven’t yet done so. Many locations are now offering walk-in opportunities to get a shot without an appointment. Minnesota’s Vaccine Connector is a good resource to find a location to get vaccinated.
I have the honor to serve on the joint House/Senate conference committee for the Public Safety/Judiciary budget. Following the tragic killing of George Floyd last year and the killing of Daunte Wright this spring, a strong series of criminal justice system reforms is one of the House’s top priorities. As a prosecutor, I know the importance of community trust in police. Without that trust, victims are less likely to report crimes, witnesses are hesitant to come forward, and juries may allow guilty people to not be held accountable. Criminal justice system reform enhances public safety.
Yesterday, we heard heartbreaking testimony from Katie Wright – the mother of Daunte Wright, Brandon Williams – George Floyd’s nephew, and other family members of Minnesotans whose lives were taken by law enforcement. These family members share their grief and trauma with us repeatedly with the hope of preventing other senseless deaths. The House members of the committee presented an offer to the Senate on a number of common-sense policy measures that would make all Minnesotans safer. The time to act is now, and I hope the Senators will join us in making this a priority.
Wednesday was Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons Awareness Day and I had the honor to attend an event commemorating the day on the State Capitol grounds. Although American Indian women and girls make up just 1% of the state’s population, from 2010 through 2018, 8% of all murdered women and girls in Minnesota were American Indian.
The House's Public Safety/Judiciary budget would create the Office of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Relatives, a step recommended by a task force on this critical issue. As we continue our work in conference committee, I'll be advocating to deliver the resources to create this office and prevent violence against Indigenous women and girls.
The federal government recently announced the deadline to obtain a REAL ID has been extended from this coming October to May 3, 2023. This additional 18 months will help relieve some of the pressure on our DVS offices and allow them to focus on tab and license renewals, and give Minnesotans more time to obtain this updated form of ID.
After May 3, 2023, Minnesotans will need a REAL ID to board domestic flights or enter federal facilities. An enhanced driver's license or ID card, passport, or passport card will work as well. While we’ve had several extensions to this deadline, it’s a good idea to make plans to get your REAL ID if you anticipate needing one for travel. There is a series of specific documents you’ll need when you apply, a list of which is available here.
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