It is a truth universally accepted that everyone has human rights. These rights are indivisible, interrelated, and interdependent. One right does not stand siloed from other rights, and fulfilling one right requires that other rights are fulfilled, too.
We see this principle reflected in the Minnesota Legislature’s work this week. Several committees in the Minnesota House of Representatives are reviewing the Select Committee on Racial Justice Report to the Legislature. The Racial Justice Report describes the “Minnesota Paradox,” in which some Minnesotans experience a high quality of life, and others experience some of the worst racial disparities in the country in unemployment, income, wealth, incarceration rates, arrest rates, homeownership rates, test scores, and life expectancy, among many others. It is important that multiple Committees view this report as relevant to their work, but it also demonstrates that racial discrimination in Minnesota is affecting the fulfillment of not just one, but several, human rights of Minnesotans.
We begin this series on Human Rights at the State Capitol in the hope that the Minnesota Legislature’s activities continue to reflect the understanding that when one human right is not fulfilled, others are impacted. You can take action by watching hearings online (either live or recorded) and contacting your representatives on issues that are important to you.
Minnesota House of Representatives hearing schedules and links:
Ways and Means (recorded): Review of the Select Committee on Racial Justice Report to the Legislature
Education Policy (recorded): Addressing Racial Disparities in Education
Capital Investment (recorded): economic impact of racism and need for equity in capital projects (includes link to the Racial Justice Report)
Judiciary Finance and Civil Law (recorded): Evictions and the Courts
Housing Finance and Policy (recorded): presentation reviewing the COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program and previewing the incoming federal emergency rental assistance funding.
Public Safety and Criminal Justice Reform Finance and Policy (recorded): Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Taskforce Report Presentation and U-Visa certification documents timely process required by certifying entities. You can read The Advocates’ testimony supporting HF321 here.
Workforce and Business Development Finance and Policy at 1 p.m.: Presentation on the Report from the House Select Committee on Racial Justice. Recordings of past hearings are also available.
Public Safety and Criminal Justice Reform Finance and Policy at 1 p.m.: Law Enforcement in Greater Minnesota. Recordings of past hearings are also available.
Public Safety and Criminal Justice Reform Finance and Policy at 10:30 a.m.: Community Centered Public Safety in Greater Minnesota. Recordings of past hearings are also available.
In other news, Governor Walz submitted his biennial budget proposal to the Minnesota Legislature on January 26. Minnesota’s COVID-19 Recovery Budget proposal addresses many topics that will impact human rights in Minnesota, including ensuring access to high-quality education, additional funding for the Economic Development and Housing Challenge program, and increasing tax credits, such as the Working Families Tax Credit. A summary of the proposal is available on the Governor’s website.