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2021 Minnesota Legislative Priorities

February 27, 2021

Human rights are Minnesota values. It's time to bring Minnesota laws into compliance with internationally recognized human rights standards and ensure all Minnesotans can live with dignity.

You can help. Contact your elected representatives and tell them that you support the following priorities. Find your elected representatives with this tool from the Minnesota Secretary of State.

Stop Hate

Currently, Minnesota state law has loopholes that make it harder to classify racist violence. The Combating-Hate bill would close loopholes that misclassify hate acts and allow victims to report hate incidents to non-law-enforcement entities, like community organizations and the Minnesota Department of Human Rights. Additionally, the bill provides much needed support for the victims of hate crimes.

The Combating-Hate bill, HF1691/SF2003, would close loopholes that misclassify hate acts and allow victims to report hate incidents to non-law-enforcement entities.

Bring Minnesota's Sexual Assault Laws into the 21st Century. 

  • The Advocates supports HF707/SF1683.
  • Implement the recommendations of the Criminal Sexual Conduct Statutory Reform Working Group
  • Persons who are very intoxicated - even voluntarily - should be free from unwanted sexual conduct. Current law fails to protect people from unwanted sexual conduct in such situations, sending a dangerous message that once a person is so intoxicated that they cannot consent, consent it not needed. This conduct is wrong, and it is time to hold people accountable for this form of sexual exploitation. Read the decision of the Minnesota Supreme Court that makes clear the need for this legislation.
  • Prohibit sexual extortion. Exploiting people's circumstances - like their need for housing or a job or their fear of sexual images will be shared or they'll be deported - to extort sex is wrong. These threats can be every bit as powerful as physical force or other types of coercion, but right now, Minnesota lets people exploit others' vulnerabilities to extort sexual "favors." 

Ensure Accountability in Policing and Corrections

  • Amend Minnesota's law governing use of force by law enforcement and corrections so that it meets international standards of legality, necessity, proportionality, and accountability. 
  • Bring state laws into compliance with the Minnesota Protocol on the Investigation of Potentially Unlawful Death by ensuring effective prevention and accountability mechanisms for extrajudicial killings by armed state actors. Create independent investigation and prosecution authority for deaths in custody, state-involved killings, and sexual assaults.
  • Comply with the Nelson Mandela Rules on use of solitary confinement to ensure that no one confined in Minnesota is subject to prolonged solitary confinement. Consistent with international standards, never hold a person in solitary confinement more than 15 days and never inflict solitary confinement on people with mental or physical disabilities.

When people move with dignity, our community is a more just, safe, and peaceful place. In line with the Global Compact on Migration, develop and implement policies that ensure respect, protection, and fulfillment of the human rights of all migrants, regardless of their migration status, across all stages of the migration cycle. 

  • Ensure Minnesota's criminal laws, sentencing and probation schemes, post-conviction relief statutes, and pardon processes do not result in disproportionate immigration consequences.
  • Dismantle systems which criminalize, police, prosecute, and incarcerate Black, Indigenous, and other communities of color; poverty; and mental illness.
  • Take steps at all levels to reduce levels of incarceration, including probation and sentencing reform.
  • Ensure access to driver's licenses and state identification documents.
  • Stop using federal immigration or other contracts as revenue streams for general county or local government operations or public safety budgets. Use funds for the safety, health, and access to justice of those detained. Provide public accountability for the contracts.
  • Ensure all persons held in confinement are treated with dignity. Enact state standards for detention conditions. Create statutory oversight authority to ensure standards are met. Proactively monitor and effectively respond to complaints of violations.
  • Allow and foster programs that support the health, well-being, and resilience of people held in confinement, such as pen pals and visitation programs, while working to decarcerate.
  • Ensure the well-being and resilience of personnel who work with immigrants and refugees in detention.

Housing and health are human rights. Ensure that everyone has a place to live in security, peace, and dignity. Make sure every Minnesotan has what they need to stay healthy.

Crimes motivated by bias reporting expanded; crimes of assault, property damage, and harassment motivated by bias amended; Board of Peace Officer Standards and Training required to update training in recognizing, responding to, and reporting bias crimes; and money appropriated.

AHR HF707 Letter of Support
AHR HF321 Letter of Support