Minnesota Indian Affairs Council Legislative Update
Week Ending May 2nd, 2014
This legislative session the Minnesota Indian Affairs council will be sending weekly updates on a broad range of issues, including anything that relates to Indian Country in Minnesota. Often issues of focus are health, human services, natural resources and education – to name a few. We’ll keep you informed as legislative initiatives move forward in the House and Senate.
This Week at the Legislature
Governor Mark Dayton gave his State of the State address on April 30th, 2014 in which he highlighted several things he sees as improvements in Minnesota as well as acknowledged persistent problems and work that is left to be done.
To read further into the Governor’s remarks on jobs and economic development, education, transportation and other issues for Minnesota, go to the Office of the Governor’s Blog at:
Health and Human Services: Housing
The HOME (Housing Opportunities Made Equitable) Pilot Project aims to provide racial and ethnic minority families and individuals, including American Indians, with opportunities to become homeowners through accessible mortgage financing and enhanced financial capacity training to increase successful homeownership. The bill passed both the House and Senate and was approved by Governor Dayton on May 1st, 2014.
Environment and Natural Resources: Cemetery Land Transfer
HF 3043 Kathio Township Cemetery Conveyance - Mille Lacs area, specifically Kathio Township desired to transfer a cemetery to the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, but could not because currently state statute doesn’t recognize tribal cemetery associations. This bill allows for the recognition and inclusion of cemetery associations created under tribal law by adding them to the list of entities, which can receive a transfer of cemetery land. The House version of the bill was passed on the floor on April 30th with a vote of 125-0. The second reading of SF 1660, the companion bill occurred today.
The first meeting of the Senate Select Committee on Disparities and Opportunities convened on Tuesday of this week. Composed of nine members of the democratic party and four members of the republican party, co-chaired by Senators Jeff Hayden and Bobby Joe Champion, the committee’s charge is to reach consensus on policy recommendations for closing the state’s notoriously wide racial gaps. The next meeting is scheduled for Monday, May 5th at 9:00 and will hear an update from the Minnesota Department of Human Rights Commissioner.
Thank you for your time in reading our legislative update! Anticipate weekly updates throughout this session.
Melanie L. Plucinski, MPH
Legislative and Grants Director
Minnesota Indian Affairs Council