This week’s edition covers stories
from December 28th, 2023 to January 3rd, 2024.
Today’s issue is 1000 words, a 7-minute read.
Ebe talks Minnesota’s eventful 2023 legislative session, Mayor Frey’s lawsuit from residents of the Nenookaasi homeless encampment, and review of the latest film ‘Saltburn’ (2023)
Hi, hi, it’s Ebe. I hope you all had a safe, happy, and restful holiday season! I think this is the first year ever that we didn’t have snow on the ground on Christmas, which certainly made holiday travel easy and spared us from the good ol’ winter shoveling we all love so much. I’ll admit I did relish in those rainy days we had and taking in the smell of wet pavement—that is until I looked down and realized the grass beneath my feet was bright green and it was not supposed to feel like spring in the middle of December.
Alas, what is there to do besides nervously chuckle it off? I’m sure it will all be fine! Why don’t we talk about what else awaits us in 2024, instead, for now? This week, I’m covering new Minnesota laws coming into effect this year, a Minneapolis encampment’s battle with Mayor Jacob Frey, and my critique and analysis of the new movie everyone’s been talking about: Saltburn (warning: spoilers!).
2023 was an eventful legislative session in Minnesota, and as of the first of January this year, several new laws are now in effect. Impacting everything from burger wrappers to sick days, here are my top three choices (in no specific order) for the most important laws passed this year:
1. The “Red Flag” Law
Minnesota just rolled out new “red flag” gun laws. Now, if someone seems like they might be a danger to themselves or others, a judge can temporarily take away their guns. It’s not a simple process—there needs to be strong evidence, and a court order can only be requested by family, law enforcement, or certain attorneys. The goal is to prevent gun violence, like suicides or mass shootings, before they happen.
There are two types of orders a judge can give: a longer one that lasts up to a year, with a chance for the person to argue against it in a hearing, and an emergency one that kicks in right away for two weeks without a hearing. It’s a bit of a balancing act between keeping the public safe and respecting individual rights. Minnesota is now on the list with 20 other states and DC that have similar laws. Read more about it.
2. Minnesota Schools are required to give free menstrual products to students past the 4th grade
Now, Minnesota schools have to make sure they have free menstrual products available for students in grades 4 through 12. This law just kicked in, and it’s been a result of a bunch of students and advocates pushing for it for a while. High schoolers in South St. Paul even teamed up with a nonprofit to get those handy period product dispensers in school bathrooms. The state is giving schools some money (around $2 per student) to help make it happen. It’s all about making sure no student has to deal with period-related challenges just because they can’t afford the products they need. Read more here.
3. More Minnesota workers will get paid sick days to care for themselves and/or their families
Minnesota workers can now earn short bursts of time off to take care of themselves and/or their loved ones, thanks to a new state law. The sick and safe time policy allows employees to accrue up to one hour of time off for every 30 hours worked, capped at 48 hours annually. This means that after six weeks, workers could be eligible for an eight-hour day off for qualifying reasons. The law covers part-time workers and imposes penalties on employers who fail to honor earned time off or retaliate against employees taking their time off. Acceptable uses include caring for one’s health, a family member, or attending medical appointments, as well as addressing issues related to domestic abuse, sexual assault, stalking, or emergency closures of work, school, or childcare. Check out MPR’s article for more details about eligibility and other commonly asked questions!
Minneapolis mayor Jacob Frey is facing a lawsuit from residents of the Nenookaasi homeless encampment days before its planned closure. Residents of the Nenookaasi homeless encampment are taking legal action against Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey to prevent their forceful eviction as the city plans to close the encampment on January 4th due to health and safety concerns. The lawsuit, filed by Cheryl Sagataw and DeAnthony Barnes, alleges that Frey violated residents’ constitutional rights, citing unlawful search and seizure. The claim argues that evicting residents without alternative housing options constitutes “cruel and unusual punishment” and violates Minnesota housing protections. Despite the city’s efforts to connect residents with housing or shelter options, the lawsuit contends that the eviction lacks a fair contestation process.
The encampment, which experienced a fatal shooting last month, has sparked concerns about the safety of such setups. Organizers acknowledge the need for a solution beyond the encampment but emphasize the importance of maintaining a sense of community. While the city plans to develop the area for a new community center after closure, residents argue for collaborative solutions and express the challenges of transitioning to housing. A protest is scheduled at the encampment to oppose the impending evictions. Read more about it here.
You’ve probably heard the name Jacob Elordi more times than you’d like these past few weeks—and for good reason, too! Yes, I’m adding him to my collection of favorite cute celebrity white boys next to Austin Butler and Logan Lerman. No, I will not be taking any questions at this time.
Jacob Elordi plays Felix Catton in the new thrilling and disturbing film Saltburn (2023), the story of a sick and twisted student named Oliver Quick, played by Barry Koeghan, who becomes obsessed with and befriends the popular guy at Oxford only to ruin the lives of him and his family. Although I enjoyed sitting through cinematic shots of Jacob Elordi partying on rooftops and imagining myself as one of the rich kids parading around their gorgeous family estate, I thought this movie left a lot to be desired in terms of its storyline. Read the full review here!
That’s all from us, we’ll see you next week!
-Ebe, and the NewPrensa team
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