St. Paul, MN -- Yesterday, the Minnesota House of Representatives voted to approve three significant bills to increase the public safety and wellbeing of Minnesotans.
HF 55 establishes an Office of Missing and Murdered Black Women and Girls in Minnesota. Representative Mary Frances Clardy (DFL-Inver Grove Heights), a coauthor of the bill, voted in support.
“Black Minnesotans have told us that they experience a lack of urgency from our public institutions when Black women and girls are reported missing,” said Rep. Clardy. “This new office will set strong standards for promptly sending alerts and supporting the community members who are closest to the pain of not knowing what has happened to a missing family member or loved one.”
In the 2021 session, the legislature established the Task Force on Missing and Murdered African American Women to examine the causes of violence against African American women and recommend policies to address those causes. The provisions in this bill will ensure the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension operates an alert program and requires issuance of an alert when a person is determined to be missing and endangered.
HF 30 seeks to crack down on the theft of catalytic converters by prohibiting anyone from possessing a used, unattached catalytic converter unless the owner has the vehicle identification number (VIN) for the vehicle, and the date the converter was removed from the vehicle. It prohibits the sale and purchase of catalytic converters by anyone other than registered scrap metal dealers and would impose a fine of up to $10,000 for unlawful possession and sale.
“I want to thank West Saint Paul Chief Brian Sturgeon for his work in our community, and the firsthand testimony he brought to the Capitol to speak to the urgency of this problem,” said Rep. Clardy. “ This isn’t just a public safety issue, but it’s an economic issue we need to resolve. Residents of our district have been hit hard, left without reliable transportation and the funds they’re relying on for their family budgets, just so they can replace their stolen catalytic converters.”
Nationally, catalytic converter thefts have increased from 3,389 in 2019 to 14,433 in 2020, to over 52,000 in 2021 (a fifteen-fold increase since 2019). Nationwide, Minnesota ranks in the top five for catalytic cover thefts. In November of 2022, a federal takedown of a catalytic converter theft ring of over a half-billion dollars included more than a dozen search warrants across Minnesota.
The House also passed HF 16, which would ban conversion ‘therapy’ for minors and vulnerable adults and remove funding from Minnesota’s Medical Assistance (MA) for the practice. Conversion therapy has been identified by the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Psychiatry Association as a dangerous and discredited practice that has traumatized many LGBTQ+ Americans.
“I want to thank the 2SLGBTQIA+ Minnesotans who made the brave and courageous decision to share their personal stories with us and their fellow Minnesotans,” said Rep. Clardy. “It is because of your relentless advocacy and determination that Minnesota will finally ban this dangerous and discredited practice.”
The bills are traveling in the Minnesota Senate.