We’ve been through a lot in the past few weeks and I’m grateful to many of you who’ve reached out to share your thoughts and feelings about what’s happening and how it’s impacting you and our community. I’m seeing so many neighbors taking action to fight for changes to keep our communities safe from gun violence, protect reproductive freedom in Minnesota, and create a safer, more just state for all Minnesotans. What gives me hope is you.
It is clear to me that our community and people across Minnesota want common-sense gun regulation that will end mass shootings and the epidemic of gun violence. Even though the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision on guns made it harder to act within state legislatures, it is imperative that we fight to enact common-sense gun regulations that will keep our kids and families safe from the scourge of mass shootings and gun violence.
In the face of this tragedy and this extremism, I am committed to the work of protecting our democracy and our ability as Minnesotans to solve our problems together. You sent me to the state legislature to do the work for the people of Minnesota and I cannot do that work without you. It’s an honor to amplify your voices at the State Capitol and together, I believe that we can make Minnesota a better, safer, more just place.
Urgency to Address Gun Violence
The celebration of the Fourth of July holiday was shattered by gun violence this year. I’m holding the victims, their families, neighbors and communities in my heart.
The horrific mass shooting at a parade in Highland Park is the most recent consequence of an epidemic of gun violence and extremism and gun violence that touches every community and region in America. Closer to home, Minneapolis neighbors were also impacted by July 4th gun violence at Boom Island on Monday. What were supposed to be celebratory experiences left communities broken and families and neighbors traumatized. I’ve heard from so many of you on this issue - we need to move swiftly on gun regulation to save more lives. We, as a nation, deserve better.
Minnesotans and Americans are demanding urgent action to address this crisis of gun violence. It’s long past time that the politician's beholden to the gun industry stop blocking policy, and develop the political courage to ban assault rifles, close the gun show loophole, and pass red flag laws - all proposals popular with voters. I’m constantly inspired by the organizing of incredible leaders in our communities and organizations like Moms Demand Action, and I will continue to join them in the work of building a better, safer world for our kids.
Eye on Public Safety
The recent release of the Minnesota Department of Human Rights’ findings of racial discrimination by the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) and the City of Minneapolis has shed light on the harmful patterns and practices of the MPD. These findings present the legal obligation and imperative for meaningful change within MPD. That is the objective of current negotiations between the Department of Human Rights and the City of Minneapolis.
To ensure that a consent decree or legal outcome reflects the input and experience of Minneapolis residents, the Minnesota Justice Research Center is partnering with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights to conduct community engagement sessions. They want to hear from you as they gather ideas on what should be included in a consent decree to address race-based policing in Minneapolis.
I encourage you to show up, share your perspective, and listen at the upcoming events with the Minnesota Justice Research Center. The next one in South Minneapolis is on July 21st! More details here.
I remain committed to finding public safety solutions that work for every single person in our community and our state. I believe in an approach that invests in data-driven crime prevention, community, and systemic change to ensure we have a public safety system that keeps all Minnesotans safe, no exceptions. That is the approach that the House DFL has been fighting to advance under the leadership of my colleague and the Vice Chair of the House Public Safety Committee Rep. Cedrick Frazier. More information on our Public Safety approach here.
Wrong About Everything Appearance
I was happy to join the bipartisan podcast, Wrong About Everything, this week to talk about the recent Supreme Court decisions, state policy updates,what we are learning from the January 6th hearings, and more. If you listen to it, let me know what you think. I would love to hear your thoughts. Here’s the recording.
Hemp THC Legal in Minnesota as of 7/1
As you may have heard, low-dose THC edibles and drinks became legal under new legislation that came into effect on July 1st, as detailed in this StarTribune article. This legislation is not full legalization of cannabis but is a tangible step towards the safe regulation of THC products in Minnesota. It also makes us the only state in the union to make THC Seltzer and Beer legal in local breweries and bars.
The new law is a positive step forward for business owners and consumers who buy hemp-derived products, but Minnesotans deserve a comprehensive legalization framework for cannabis. Much work remains undone. We must address the harms caused by the war on drugs, including expunging cannabis criminal records, creating a new marketplace based on equity, and dedicating new revenues to the communities most harmed by cannabis prohibition.
This legislation allows Minnesotans to safely obtain the products they want. Before this legislation was signed into law, the state of Minnesota had little to no regulatory framework around products containing THC derived from hemp. Products targeting youth quickly proliferated across the state, often with colorful advertising/packaging and candy-like products with non-childproofed containers. The new law adds necessary guardrails to protect kids. This legislation was well researched and discussed at-length in the open in public.
My hope is that next year we can fully legalize cannabis, address racial disparities in our criminal justice system, tax it to put investments into our communities and put forward important public health measures.
Looking for Applicants: DHS Cultural Leadership Council
The Department of Human Services’ Cultural and Ethnic Communities Leadership Council was created several sessions ago to allow BIPOC individuals to be in direct communication with the Commissioner of DHS. This is an important group who are able to raise their voices and address systemic disparities within our state institutions.
The following council positions are currently accepting applications:
Members representing diverse cultural and ethnic communities
Members representing the American Indian community
A member who is a Department of Human Services employee
Interested applicants should complete an electronic application through the Minnesota Secretary of State’s Boards and Commissions website by end of day July 15, 2022.