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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Carlie Kotyza-Witthuhn (DFL)

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The House Budget Proposal

Monday, April 26, 2021

Rep. Kotyza-Witthuhn

Dear Neighbors, 

These last few weeks have been hectic for Minnesota. We have been in national and global news for all the wrong reasons with the killing of Daunte Wright, and just miles away the Chauvin trial was taking place. The guilty verdict in the trial is only the first step on the way to justice. While more will be decided in the courts, many of the next steps for true, meaningful change can be taken by us. We must continue to call out systemic racism when we see it, and not stop until all Minnesotans feel safe in our communities – no matter what they look like or where they live.  

In the Minnesota House, we put forward strong, common-sense reforms last summer in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, and while some were passed into law, we’re continuing to fight for public safety reforms to hold bad actors accountable and build a better system where Black lives matter.                          

Today we hear our final budget proposal, the Health and Human Services bill. Here’s an update on our work.



Public Safety for ALL Minnesotans

Late Thursday night, we finished a lengthy debate on our Public Safety, Judiciary, and Civil Law Budget, which contains many of the sorely-needed reforms and measures being championed by our communities of color. I am proud to support the measures in this bill, including: 


  • Allowing local governments to establish civilian oversight councils  
  • Enhancing training and requiring the development of new model policies  
  • Supporting community organizations working to prevent crime  
  • Issuing body cameras and prohibiting altering, destroying, or withholding the footage  
  • Prohibiting white supremacists from become police officers  
  • Limiting the use of no-knock warrants  
  • Strengthening the police officer misconduct database and building a more effective early warning system to identify bad officers and keep them off the streets 
  • Limiting police officers’ authority to stop or detain drivers for certain violations 


Despite efforts from DFL Senators and encouragement from the House DFL Caucus, the Senate majority has refused to hold a single hearing on police accountability measures this session. It’s safe to say the proposals we passed in the House face an uphill battle in negotiations with the Senate, but we can’t give up on an issue this important just because others are blocking the path to change.

Justice Graphic

The bill also includes a series of major updates to Minnesota’s criminal sexual conduct code as recommended by a survivor-led working group to address old approaches to these crimes which create barriers for survivors to receive justice. One such example closes the “voluntary intoxication” statutory loophole, which a recent Minnesota Supreme Court decision was forced to accept when prosecuting a sexual assault case where the law deemed “mentally incapacitated” to not include a person who became intoxicated after voluntarily consuming alcohol. It also prevents sexual extortion and includes a series of measures to protect children. I heard from a number of constituents on this topic and I am glad to say that I have signed on as a co-author in support of these updated provisions.



Our Budget Proposals

We’ve spent the past week passing other components of our House DFL Budget proposals, with more being debated on the House floor today. So far, in addition to the Public Safety, Judiciary, and Civil Law Budget, we’ve passed the following bills:



I’ve been working with my colleagues on all of these bills, but a good amount of my focus has been on the Commerce Budget, as I serve as the vice chair of the House Commerce Finance and Policy Committee. I spoke to the importance of this bill on the House floor, which you can watch below.

Virtual Speech

As we make our way out of this pandemic and help Minnesotans build back better, our budget takes steps to ensure consumers and businesses are protected from those who would seek to take advantage of them during these trying times. Three of my provisions I was proud to author in this bill include one that would limit the fees that third-party delivery platforms can charge restaurants and prohibits those platforms from decreasing compensation paid to delivery service drivers. I also authored the portion of the bill that invests $300,000 in the Minnesota State Council on Economic Education, which advances professional development programs in economics for K-12 teachers, and the section on Toxic Toys which allows for the Commerce Department to have additional regulatory enforcement on manufacturers who make unsafe cribs or toys that contain formaldehyde or BPA.



Rent Assistance Now Available

For renters and housing providers continuing to struggle during these challenging economic times, new funds are now available to provide assistance. RentHelpMN has opened for applications, making it possible for low- and moderate-income renters to get caught up on overdue rent and utilities dating back to March 13, 2020. It also makes provisions for those at risk of falling behind on rent payments due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rental Assistance

You can find more information at



Stay Connected

We’re in for a wild ride through the end of session, with some days containing 12+ hours of debate on the House floor. This will likely calm down for a bit after this week as we enter negotiations with the Senate, but they’ll pick up again as we come together to pass our final budget bills before adjourning on May 17.

As we’ve done all session, much of our work continues to be done remotely which means I am able to be present for storytime with the fam during breaks. I’m wholeheartedly supporting our House budget because it contains proposals that better ensure all Minnesotans can gather at the end of the day in a home they can afford, in a community where they feel safe, with the economic security to be there for their family, and for children to have access to high quality education from cradle to career.


If you have any questions about the bills we’re passing off the House floor this week, please feel free to reach out to me. The best way to touch base is through email ( or phone (651/296-7449). I appreciate hearing from you.

Be well.



Carlie Kotyza-Witthuhn