This week’s edition covers stories
from January26th to February 1st, 2023.
Today’s issue is 619 words, a 4.8–minute read.
In today’s edition Isabella and Helene talk Driver’s License for All bill, the PRO Act, Tyre Nichols, and why there was little progress on homeless encampments in 2022.
Continue reading to find out more…
Good morning readers,
The negative-degree weather is here, and your body freezes as soon as you step out the door. My favorite newly released song is “Two Tens” by Cordae ft. Anderson.Paak, Beyonce is performing at Huntington Bank in the summer, and M&M’s changed their spokesperson to Maya Rudolph after many conservative spokespeople disagreed with the change in footwear.
But onto the important stuff.
On Monday Jan. 30, the NewPrensa team visited the State Capitol in St. Paul to hear the House debate and celebrate the passing of the Driver’s Licenses for All (HF4) bill to the senate. After 20 years of fighting for this bill, Minnesotan might actually see it come true in 2023.
Chris and I had the opportunity to be present with the community coming together for a common, ongoing wish. People were anxious, excited and encouraging as they chanted, danced, and ate together. Seeing the look on every person’s face once the House announced that the bill would pass onto the senate was a moment we’ll keep close to our hearts. Everyone cheered and bursted into tears (I teared up a little myself). To know that my friends and their families can live the lives that so many of us are privileged to have, fills my heart with endless joy and appreciation.
We had the chance to speak with Sen. Zaynab Mohamed, Latina activist and MIM leader Jovita Morales, and Hennepin County UNIDOS MN organizer Regina Olono. We discussed the importance of the bill passing to the senate, what to expect next and what changes the bill would bring for the Minnesotan immigrant communities. Check out the article we reported here.
On Tuesday Jan. 31, Gov. Tim Walz signed the Protect Reproductive Options (PRO) Act. After 16 hours of debate, the state senate voted to guarantee abortion rights on Jan. 28. The act would allow the right of access to reproductive health care, “including abortions, birth control, family planning help and sterilization.” This means that the state protections that existed prior will now remain in place, “no matter who sits in future courts“, because it has become part of state law. Abortion rights were protected in Minnesota before the act. Thanks to Doe v. Gomez, the protection was entered into the state’s constitution in 1995.
The Pro Act establishes that “every individual has a fundamental right to make autonomous decisions about the individual’s own reproductive health.”
“Here in Minnesota, your access to reproductive health care and your freedom to make your own health care decisions are preserved and protected,” Walz said. MN Senate Republicans issued a letter to Gov. Walz before signing the bill into law to veto it. They consider the PRO Act “extreme” and that it “allows abortion services far beyond these commonsense, consensus guidelines.”
Minnesota became the 16th state to explicitly protect the right to an abortion in the state’s law, together with other states like Colorado, Vermont, New Jersey or Oregon.
Of human concern, on Sunday, Jan. 29, Minnesotans marched and gathered outside the Governor’s mansion in solidarity with Tyre Nichols’ family. The 27-year-old Black man underwent a police beating at a traffic stop on Jan. 7 in Memphis, Tennessee. Three days later, Nichols passed away after suffering from severe abusive conditions the policemen put him through. Five police officers were identified, discharged on Jan. 20, and now charged with murder after a video of the incident was released last Friday. The policemen had previous infractions with the police department.
Helene here! It’s cold, cold, cold outside and I hope you’re all able to stay warm.
In city news, 2022 saw little real assistance to the unhoused communities of the Twin Cities, and recent encampment sweeps have left many out in the cold. Frustrations are being directed towards Jacob Frey, Minneapolis Mayor, who, in 2017, launched a campaign (from a now-deleted website page, no less) to end homelessness in Minneapolis within 5 years. Recently, however, the city has been using a different approach. When sweeps happen, the city has often taped off the blocks surrounding the encampment and won’t speak to the residents, oftentimes not giving them enough time to gather their belongings. The approach the city has taken leaves little room for residents to count on sheltering outdoors, but doesn’t provide sufficient alternatives to accommodate those living in tent camps. There’s lots of questions up in the air right now to do with the unhoused Twin Cities, and we’ll keep you all updated with any important developments. But as for now, that’s all.
We’ll see you next week!
Isabella and Helene