Jasinski: Special Session compromises and investigating Minneapolis riots

Special Session compromises and investigating Minneapolis riots

By: Senator John Jasinski

Generally, I am proud of the way Republicans and Democrats compromised during this year’s session. On a litany of issues, we worked well together: COVID assistance, small business grants, education improvements, and much more. Unfortunately, but there were some core values we couldn’t reach an agreement on.

Like many of you, I am especially disappointed that a bonding bill was not completed this year. I had over $150 million worth of projects that I was able to get included in that bill. Some for our district, others to rebuild roads, bridges, and infrastructure around the state. These are incredibly important projects that only fell by the wayside because the House was unwilling to concede some of their more extreme police-related provisions. The Senate even passed 5 different bills addressing common-sense police-reform ideas, many of which came straight from the People of Color and Indigenous Caucus. But I won’t support dismantling police. Period.

This is going to continue to be a significant topic in the coming weeks. As you may have heard, the Senate is holding a series of hearings investigating several aspects of the riots, what leadership mistakes could have prevented the damage, and how we can improve. I was at the capitol for this first of these important hearings on Wednesday, July 1. The subject of that hearing was businesses that were looted and destroyed.

We heard incredibly compelling testimony from business owners about the loss of their businesses, how it has impacted them, how frustrated they were with the lack of leadership. At times it was hard to listen to what they have been through, and it didn’t take long for a theme to emerge: when the riots happened, they were on their own. No support, no help, no protection. We have to do better.

Remember, this was just the first hearing. Future hearings will dive into fires, protesters on highways, the National Guard and lack of clarity about their mission, the long-term fallout, and the overall leadership vacuum. You can find a schedule on the Senate’s website, and I will livestream each of them on my Facebook page at Facebook.com/SenatorJohnJasinski.

One piece of good news: recently Gov. Walz announced that he would distribute $841 million of federal COVID assistance to local governments. The Senate actually approved this plan overwhelmingly during the special session, but the governor inserted himself into negotiations at the last minute and sank the compromise Republicans and Democrats in the legislature worked out – twice. In spite of this, he actually agreed to release the funds to local governments using the formula that we developed. Though we could have easily avoided the political games during special session, I applaud the governor for following our lead and our plan.

This also means good news for communities in our district. Here is a sample of what some areas will receive:

COUNTIES

  • Dodge County: $2.53 million
  • Rice County: $8.04 million
  • Steele County: $4.47 million
  • Waseca County: $2.27 million

CITIES

  • Faribault: $1.8 million
  • Owatonna: $1.96 million
  • Waseca: $680,000

Data for all of Minnesota counties, cities, and townships is available on the Senate’s website. If you’re having trouble finding it, send me an email and I would be happy to help.

If you have any questions about special session or any issue the legislature is facing, please feel free to contact me any time at sen.john.jasinski@senate.mn. Otherwise, have a safe and happy holiday!

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