Karla Bigham: Update from the State Capitol

Posted 4/21/21

By Capitol News What’s Happening in the Senate. Tax Committee: I presented my bill SF 2064 before the Senate Taxes Committee on Thursday. The bill would provide help to Minnesota’s liquor …

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Karla Bigham: Update from the State Capitol


By Capitol News

What’s Happening in the Senate.

Tax Committee: I presented my bill SF 2064 before the Senate Taxes Committee on Thursday. The bill would provide help to Minnesota’s liquor industry as it recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. The bipartisan legislation would provide a temporary tax credit for Minnesota’s brewers, liquor retailers, and wholesalers who had to buy back or dump their products, or purchase Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) supplies.

Spiral Brewery co-owner Jen Fox testified that “the biggest challenge Spiral Brewery’s distribution business has experienced is satisfying our customers who needed to let beer go bad at their bars and restaurants due to their closures throughout the past year. We have bought back, provided a credit, or traded at least ten barrels of old beer that we subsequently dumped, bearing the full brunt of the cost.”

In a statement, the Minnesota Craft Brewers Association expressed support for the bill, saying “The bill provides relief for breweries, other licensed beverage establishments, and wholesalers affected by the Pandemic. Brewery and other licensed beverage establishment employees have put themselves at risk during the pandemic to help make ends meet.” The legislation is also supported by the Minnesota Licensed Brewers Association and Teamsters Joint Council 32.

Senate Floor: I voted in support of SF 1470, a bill that has a gradual unwinding of the eviction moratorium that was established in Executive Order 20-79 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The bill would end the eviction moratorium but creates a pathway of allowable evictions so that courts, tenants, and landlords have a set phase in approach. This prevents backlog and is a good step towards getting Minnesota on the other side of the COVID-19 emergency (SF 1470).

For Minnesotans that can’t pay rent, help is on the way! Renters and landlords can get ready by visiting http://renthelpmn. org or call 211 to learn more about the RentHelpMN program.

Senate Judiciary Bill Misses the Moment.

The Senate passed its judiciary bill this past week. I voted in support of the bill because it includes important investments in the state’s court and corrections system, and also incorporates public safety funding requests.

Thanks to the outstanding work of sexual assault advocates and survivors, the judiciary bill also includes critical legislative recommendations from the state’s criminal sexual conduct working group. Specifically, it corrected language that would address the state’s Supreme Court ruling that made voluntary intoxication a defense of sexual assault. Senate DFLers were also able to pass an amendment on the floor that eliminates the statute of limitation for some sexual criminal conduct crimes in the state.

Efforts to get the bill to include policy provisions that would address the inequities many Minnesotans experience were defeated on the senate floor. Senate colleagues from the People of Color and Indigenous (POCI) Caucus proposed amendments that would improve Minnesota’s crimes of bias standards, provide funding for the Office of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, and ensure peace officers are not affiliated with white supremacist extremist organizations. Unfortunately, the amendments were voted down and did not make it to the final Senate Judiciary bill.

The bill now awaits the House version to be passed and then the conference committee process begins. Conference committee is where the House and the Senate work to reconcile the differences between two versions of a bill (SF 970).

The Senate Judiciary bill misses the moment our state is in as the world watches us reckon with the Derek Chauvin trial and the death of Daunte Wright. The bill lacks the necessary criminal justice reforms that are supported across the board and by law enforcement. The judiciary bill also doesn’t provide assistance to help communities experiencing grief and trauma that results from police misconduct. My thoughts are with the community and all who grieve the death of Daunte Wright.

State Senator Karla Bigham Senate District 54