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RELEASE: POCI Caucus Announces 2020 One Minnesota Legislative Agenda

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

POCI Caucus Announces 2020 One Minnesota Legislative Agenda

Agenda would allow Minnesotans to live safe, healthy and prosperous lives by ensuring everyone has an equal chance to succeed

St. Paul, Minn. – Minnesota's People of Color and Indigenous (POCI) Caucus Co-Chair Chair Rep. Rena Moran (DFL – St. Paul), Rep. Mohamud Noor (DFL – Minneapolis), Sen. Patricia Torres Ray (DFL – Minneapolis), Rep. Carlos Mariani (DFL – St. Paul), and POCI Caucus members today announced their 2020 legislative agenda, which focuses on criminal justice reform and reducing disparities in education, health care, and economic security.

We stand together across race, culture, and experience, united in the goal of making Minnesota a better, more equitable place to live,” said POCI Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Moran. “Our state is facing significant disparities that we cannot ignore. Our agenda supports transformational change in social, racial, and economic justice.”

Our goal as the POCI Caucus is to shine a light on the needs of our diverse communities throughout Minnesota,” said POCI Caucus Co-Chair Sen. Hawj. “Our legislative agenda and civic engagement will ensure that communities of color are at the forefront of our work at the Capitol. We need to continue to fully invest in our children, our families, our neighbors, our schools, and our neighborhoods to close the gap in equity.”

The following stats and figures help illustrate the extent of inequities in Minnesota:


  • 34% of Minnesota’s students are children of color and American Indian, but only 4% of teachers in classrooms are.


  • Infant mortality in Minnesota per 1,000 live births varies widely by the race/ethnicity of the mother, according to the Minnesota Department of Health: White: 4.2, Hispanic: 5.1, African American: 9.6, American Indian: 10.4.

Economic Security:

  • According to the State Demographer just 3% of eligible white workers are unemployed in Minnesota, while 14% of American Indian, 8% of African American, and 6% of Hispanic workers are.
  • According to the State Demographer only 6% of white children grow up in poverty, while that number jumps to 16% of Asian, 23% of Hispanic, 33% of Black, and 39% of American Indian children.
  • According to the State Demographer homeownership rates for white families sits at 76%, and just 23% for Black families.

Criminal Justice Reform:

  • Population today in the Shakopee corrections facility for women:
  • White: 362; 61%
  • Black: 91; 15%
  • American Indian: 119; 20% (Native women make up less than 2% of overall MN general population)
  • Asian: 20; 3%
  • Unknown: 3; <1%
  • African Americans are 3.6 times more likely to be subject to use of force by police and 2.5 times more likely to be shot and killed by police than are whites.
  • Racial and ethnic minorities are more likely to stay in jail prior to trial, more likely to receive a more severe charge, and, in many cases, more likely to be convicted.

POCI Caucus One Minnesota Legislative Package:

Closing Opportunity Gaps in Education

All children deserve an equitable start in life. Our plan includes strong investments in programs that are proven to help students from diverse backgrounds succeed. The package invests in recruiting, training, and retaining teachers of color; funds English Language Learner programs; and closes disparities in school discipline because early learning experiences have a critical impact on the development of young children – dismissals and suspensions only lead to more suspensions and more missed learning opportunities down the road.

Bills include: HF 2038, HF 448, HF 1761, HF 757, HF 2288, HF 3339, HF 3556

Addressing Disparities in Health Outcomes

Our effort is focused on changing laws to give families the tools they need to keep their families and their communities healthy. This package makes meaningful investments in improving health care outcomes by addressing maternal child and health disparities, expanding MinnesotaCare, and advancing environmental justice.

Bills include: HF 2114, HF 2060, HF 1258, HF 1050, HF 771

Promoting Jobs and Economic Security for All Minnesotans

The POCI Caucus Agenda invests in the quality of life and economic security for all Minnesotans. It creates renter protections, expands affordable housing in opportunity zones, prohibits employers from requiring past wage disclosure, provides for economic inclusion, and requires equity in State hiring.

Bills include: HF 2844, HF 2436, HF 2060, HF 3003, HF 2000, HF 1932, HF 1736, HF 906, HF 841

Advancing Criminal Justice Reform and Civil Rights for All

The POCI Caucus stands together to protect civil rights for all Minnesotans. We are committed to stopping the future economic and societal harm of policies that put more people behind bars. The POCI Caucus supports restoring the right to vote and efforts to increase voting accessibility generally. We also strongly support reducing the use of cash bail.

Bills include: HF 2709, HF1060, HF741, HF40, HF 94, HF 2831, HF 2779, HF 1183

The full legislative agenda is available here.

The People of Color & Indigenous (POCI) Caucus includes Reps. Jamie Becker-Finn (42B), Aisha Gomez (62B), Hodan Hassan (62A), Kaohly Her (64A), Mary Kunesh-Podein (41B), Fue Lee (59A), Alice Mann (56B), Carlos Mariani (65B), Rena Moran (65A), Mohamud Noor (60B), Ruth Richardson (52B), Samantha Vang (40B), Jay Xiong (67B), Tou Xiong (53B), and Sens. Melisa Franzen (49), Foung Hawj (67), Jeff Hayden (62), Bobby Joe Champion (59), and Patricia Torres Ray (63).