Last summer, in the wake of George Floyd's killing, House DFLers fought for comprehensive police reform and accountability measures, and successfully enacted many new laws including: use of force reform, banning choke holds and warrior training, arbitration reform as well as mental health training. But now, in the shadow of the Chauvin trial and with the trauma of George Floyd’s death still fresh, Minnesota now mourns the death of another Black man killed by law enforcement.
Daunte Wright’s life matters. Black lives matter.
We know that a better future is possible for all of us if we accept our responsibility to create it together. We must take action at every level of government to reimagine policing in a way that builds trust and makes everyone in our communities more safe. The public safety measures passed last year were always supposed to be the first of many steps on our path to a Minnesota where everyone feels truly safe and are treated with dignity and respect.
In the House, we’re pushing for change that will improve public safety and strengthen the relationship between community and law enforcement, including:
- Strengthening the police officer misconduct database to build a more effective early warning intervention system to keep bad officers off the streets
- Allowing local units of government to establish civilian oversight councils and funding community organizations working to prevent crime in their communities while addressing the need for community healing after a traumatic event
- Prohibiting white supremacists from becoming peace officers
- New limits on the use of no-knock warrants
- Prohibiting altering or destroying body cam footage, requiring footage to be shared with family no more than 48 hours after a deadly force incident, and prohibiting withholding of footage
- Requiring model policing on response to public assemblies
- Requiring the POST Board to prioritize the goal of promoting public safety, including the promotion of human rights — maintaining the basic rights, freedoms, and privileges that belong to every person including the right to dignity, fairness, equality, respect, and freedom from discrimination
With what our state and nation has gone through in the past year, you would hope that these wouldn’t be partisan or controversial, but this will face an uphill fight in the legislature.
It’s a fight worth having.
Throughout all of this, my legislative colleagues that serve in both the People of Color and Indigenous (POCI) Caucus and the United Black Legislative Caucus (UBLC) have been leading the way as a national and global spotlight continues to be focused on Minnesota. It’s through their work and leadership that I believe we will build a more just and inclusive Minnesota.
Safe and Affordable Housing
Yesterday on the House floor, we passed some of our first budget proposals for the legislative session, including the Housing bill I helped craft in committee this year. Our housing proposal includes $30 million in new investments and provisions like:
- Funding for the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency (MHFA) for specific programs.
- Establishes the lead safe homes grant program and a task force on shelter resident rights and shelter provider practices and contains amendments to other various programs administered by MHFA.
- Funding for various programs related to affordable housing.
- Provisions related to the Minnesota Bond Allocation Act, residential rental housing/ landlord and tenant law and manufactured housing.