Update on WMM 2019 Legislative Priorities
WMM began the 2019 MN legislative session with nine legislative priorities. Unfortunately, the split legislature (DFL-dominated House and GOP-dominated Senate) could only agree to pass one of those priority bills - to establish and fund a Task Force on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. Meanwhile, the MN Senate voted against, and in many cases refused to hear, many brave and pressing pieces of legislation that would have propelled Minnesota to the forefront of states working to solve our nation’s greatest challenges.
Thank you for the actions you took this session to support good bills and stop bad ones. Whether you called or wrote your legislator, shared information on social media or talked to friends and family about specific legislation, attended a committee hearing, took part in a rally, or contacted the Governor - it all helped. It all made a difference. We can’t thank you enough!
And next, 2020 is coming! This is when we can make real change. This is when we can vote out lawmakers who are obstructing progressive legislation. This is when we can vote in lawmakers who are ready to take action.
But first, here is how our 9 priority bills fared:
Two Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) bills (HF13/SF200): both passed the MN House but never even got a hearing in the Senate. Follow ERA MN to find out how you can help them as they work to raise awareness of the ERA in Senate districts leading up to the 2020 elections.
Task Force on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (HF70/SF515): this bill passed in the House as a standalone bill, but not in the Senate. It was also added as a provision in the House Public Safety omnibus bill, where it was passed with full funding. The task force will address and collect data on the high rates of disappearances and violence against Indigenous women and girls in Minnesota. Kudos to all the people who have worked so hard and so long to make this happen!
Restore the Vote (HF40/SF856): this bill to restore the right to vote to 52,000 Minnesotans on felony probation was heard in the MN House but not in the Senate. It was ultimately included in the House Government Operations omnibus, but got stripped out in negotiations, along with numerous other criminal justice reform provisions. This was very disappointing. Please follow Restore the Vote Minnesota or @restorethevotemn on FB for ways to support this important campaign.
Driver’s Licenses for All (HF1500): this bill was passed in the MN House, but was never introduced in the Senate. It was also included in the House Transportation Omnibus, but was stripped out at conference committee time. The Freedom to Drive campaign was historic and hugely successful and has changed the conversation about the issue.
The Freedom to Drive coalition issued a statement after the bill failed to pass. They thank Gov. Walz, Lt. Gov. Flanagan, and MN House leadership for their support and express disappointment in the obstructionist politics used by the Senate Republicans to kill this very popular bill.
This bill will come up again next session. Please be ready to support it by keeping up with Freedom to Drive.
African American Family Preservation Act (HF342/SF730): this bill to address shocking racial disparities in MN’s child protection system passed through a number of committees in the House and was heard by just one committee in the Senate before stalling there. It will be back. Rep. Rena Moran and Sen. Jeff Hayden championed it. Please thank them for their work.
Gun Safety bills (Criminal Background Check (HF8/SF434) and Red Flag Rule (HF9/SF436): both bills were in the House Public Safety omnibus, but were stripped out in negotiations with the MN Senate. Protect Minnesota has many upcoming events to raise awareness of gun violence. They will also start doorknocking on the issue in key districts. Keep up with them on FB @ProtectMN.
100% Clean Energy by 2050 (HF1833/SF850): a bill to require utilities to provide 100 percent clean electricity by 2050 was supported by Governor Walz and the MN House but was stripped out of the final Jobs and Energy budget bill. We cannot wait – these steps to stop climate change have to happen now. Support the critical work of MN350 and the 100% Campaign.
Again, thank you for taking action this 2019 legislative session. The 2020 session starts on Feb 11th!