Best of Neighborhood News 5/26/16: Drug sentencing changes get House support, going to governor


Drug sentencing changes get House support, going to governor

As the 2016 legislative session came to a close, the Minnesota House unanimously passed a proposal calling for the first major changes in drug sentencing guidelines in almost 30 years. Session Daily reports the proposal includes the following adjustments:

  • creation of a new drug kingpin crime;
  • changing the amount threshold for certain marijuana crimes;
  • creating new possession crimes for specific amounts of marijuana plants;
  • establishing new mandatory minimum prison sentences for certain crimes involving large amounts of controlled substances and/or a firearm or other aggravating factors while eliminating others for lower ­level crimes;
  • increasing the penalty for repeat drug paraphernalia offenses; and
  • creation of a lower­ level penalty crime for 5th-degree controlled substance possession cases involving first time offenders who possess trace amounts.

The Senate had already passed the proposal and it will now go to the governor. Read more here.

Effort to engage Minnesota’s Oromo community starts with a not-so-simple task: figuring out how many Oromo there are in Minnesota

This week on MinnPost, Kristoffer Tigue covered the Oromo Cultural Institute of Minnesota’s (OCIM) initiative to figure out how many Oromos are living in Cedar-Riverside. The research aims to distinguish Oromo community members from other East African immigrants and to address the unique problems they face.

The groups hope the data collected will help bring higher visibility to Minnesota’s Oromo population and open up city and state funding. “When [Oromo] identity is misrepresented as Somali, we feel [invisible],” said [Abdissa] Loke [executive director of OCIM]. “That includes funding.”

Find the article here.

Mayor Hodges calls out transphobia, islamophobia in State of City Address

The Column highlighted Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges’ recent comments on the city’s racial disparities and islamophobia, and the anti-transgender bills popping up around the country.

Read important quotes from her State of the City address, or watch the full video, here.