MINNEAPOLIS (May 4, 2016) — Voices for Racial Justice, in partnership with community organizations throughout Minnesota, released the 2016 Racial Equity Bill Watch this morning.
The bill watch contains bills under consideration in the House and the Senate that address the urgency to build racial equity in a state that faces some of the worst racial and economic disparities in the nation. Bills were selected based on their potential to impact racial disparities positively or negatively. Leaders and organizations working on multiple issues across the state were conferred with in selecting bills.
Some of the bills listed in the bill watch relate to the 2016 Racial Equity Agenda that was released at the start of the legislative session, and may be part of the 2015-16 Legislative Report Card on Racial Equity, which will be released once the session ends. Although some of the bills contained in the bill watch may not progress further at the Legislature, it is important to recognize the racial equity impact they could have if adopted. This is a working list that will be updated and changed continually until the end of the session.
Specific bills in the watch list call for strengthening the Working Family Credit (HF 3589/SF 2586 and HF 3163/SF 3039); supporting the startup and expansion of small businesses owned by women of color (HF 3099/SF 2931); providing access to public health insurance to individuals regardless of immigration status; (HF 3780/ SF 2422); and restoring the right to vote to formerly incarcerated individuals (HF 342/SF 355). Other bills call for policy change on issues including tribal sovereignty, education, housing, employment, health, police accountability, criminal justice reform, environmental justice, and economic equity.
The 2016 Bill Watch is being delivered to the Legislature this morning. It is available to read at http://