Legislative Session Wraps Up with Flurry of Bills Approved
With Minnesota’s legislative session coming to an end at midnight on May 22, members of the Minnesota House of Representatives and Senate People of Color and Indigenous Caucus on Monday touted the bills headed for the governor’s desk.
The legislature approved a flurry of bills over the weekend, including a large transportation bill.
The bill allocates $50 million to the Bottineau Blue Line LRT project. It also includes another $3 million for a bus rapid transit line along Highway 169 and Highway 55.
Leaders of the POCI Caucus spoke specifically in support of the education, health care and police reform bills that were approved this session.
“The reason we wanted to have this press conference today, why it’s so important is that we wanted the state to see, particularly we wanted BIPOC communities to see that you have representation,” Rep. Cedrick Frazier, DFL-New Hope, told CCX News. “You have voices that come from communities and lived experiences like yours. We’re here. This is the people’s house. The people’s house now has a better reflection of what the state of Minnesota looks like.”
In the House of Representatives, Frazier co-chairs the POCI Caucus.
“I think we’re just all a little overwhelmed, absolutely giddy with the work that has been done here,” said Sen. Mary Kuensh, DFL-New Brighton. “There’s a sense of one more day, one more bill, and we will continue to do this work.”
House and Senate POCI Caucuses Focused on Bills Impacting BIPOC Communities
Frazier said the People of Color and Indigenous Caucus zeroed in on issues that affect people of color across the state this legislative session.
“We led the session off focused on education,” he said. “We know that when we have better educational outcomes, we have better communities — we know that when we have health equity, we have better communities — we know that when we have public safety and criminal justice reform, we have better communities.”
The caucus achieved many of its goals for the session, Frazier said.
Kuensh said the increase in racial and ethnic diversity in the House and Senate has improved bills.
“It shows in the legislation that is not only introduced but passed,” she said. “Our other legislators are steeping up and they’re realizing what a difference it makes to have those voices.”
Frazier concurred, saying newly elected senators and representatives in the caucus made a significant impact this year.
“It’s been tremendous,” he said. “We’re seeing the fingerprints all over the policy that we do before our state.”
Frazier said the legislation passed this year can help close the state’s substantial racial disparities in coming decades.
“I think we’ve set the base right now, as a group,” he said. “It’ll be a constant work in progress to make sure we don’t turn back.”
Crystal | Golden Valley | New Hope | Robbinsdale | Twin Cities