Best of Neighborhood News 4/4: New Minnesota House bill could limit SNAP food benefits

 

Rep. Kelly Fenton (R-Woodbury) has put forth a bill that would eliminate SNAP benefits (commonly called “food stamps”)  for regions that do not meet federal employment requirements. As of now, 29 counties and 12 American Indian reservations are exempt from the work requirement, and these numbers could go down with the new bill, impacting Native and rural populations most. “Jessica Webster, staff attorney with the Legal Services Advocacy Project, said the bill would be more stringent than federal law. She said the proposal gives her ‘heartache’ because 47,000 able-bodied Minnesota adults without dependents have already lost access to food since the work requirement was reinstated in 2013.”
See more information at the Session Daily. Protesters demand justice in response to police violence

Protesters gathered outside the Hennepin County Government Center in response to recent police killings nationally as well as locally, with the prosecution of Officer Mohamed Noor in the case of Justine Damond. Continue Reading

Best of Neighborhood News 3/21: House bill addresses wage gap for marginalized groups

 

The State House is considering a bill that would seek to address the wage gap by prohibiting employers to ask potential employees how much money they made at their last job. People of color and women tend to make less money on average than white men while performing the same jobs, and the question of the previous salary reinforces this as employers continue paying people what they have earned in the past. “This bill would help — but it’s not going to solve — the wage gap,” Stratton [senior counsel at Gender Justice] said. “But it’s an important step that can be taken, and it would, more than anything, encourage employers to de-bias their hiring processes. It will ensure people are paid for their new job, not their old one.”

To learn more about this bill and its potential implications for labor and employment, see Session Daily. Continue Reading

Community Voices: More cops for who?

 

November’s election has brought Minneapolis’ city council an unprecedented number of progressive representatives, but the seat of the Mayor remains in the hands of a disingenuous liberal. Mayor Jacob Frey asserts, “We need to focus on unity, mending wounds, building bridges and relationship building,” but his history on the City Council says otherwise. From delaying the effective date for the $15 minimum wage until 2024 to encouraging the rapid spread of gentrification in his ward, Frey has done everything in his power to satisfy developers and business owners while willfully neglecting the poor and working-class people of Minneapolis. His perspective on policing sheds even more light on his disinterest in the safety of Black people, Indigenous people, poor people, queer people, immigrants, homeless youth and other victims of police violence. Frey acknowledges that Minneapolis has the worst community-police relations in our city’s history. Continue Reading

grand jury

Could a police-free city be a viable option in Minneapolis?

Police abolition is not a topic that fits the traditional confines of Midwestern small talk. So, when I asked about two dozen people at bus stops, in coffee shops, at the library and some acquaintances if they would share their feelings about the idea of a police-free Minneapolis, it’s not too surprising that few people were willing to talk to me at all and none of those who would would go on the record. Some said they didn’t know enough about the topic. Most of the people I approached listened politely and then quickly declined. A few others’ eyes glazed over after hearing the word “reporter.”

One man answered my questions openly. Continue Reading

10-year-old pepper-sprayed by Minneapolis Police during downtown protest

Social media videos capture scenes of a police officer spraying protestors. Outraged, some protestors and community members are demanding action be taken against the officer.

Shortly after 10 p.m., videos began to surface showing protesters in the streets marching peacefully. Off camera, a police siren can be heard. Moments later amid screams, you could hear someone yelling, “You just maced a 10-year-old kid.” Continue Reading

Body cameras benefit the police

Whether or not they care to admit it, I am positive that every student, professor and community member has an opinion on body cameras for police officers. Perhaps a body camera would have been useful in the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson this past summer. But while body cameras are certainly useful in situations like Brown’s, they also reward the police officers who are doing a good job. Therefore, I am glad that many police departments are moving toward using them. Having cameras available for law enforcement officers is important for several reasons. First, it enables their superiors to determine whether the officers are doing their jobs well.  Most importantly, the use of cameras will help the fight to end racial injustice. A report by the Washington Post found that in three-quarters of fatal shooting cases since 2005, the police officers were white, and two-thirds of officers’ victims were black.  Prosecutors won’t press charges against officers unless there is a substantial amount of evidence. Continue Reading