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Racism the Subject of House Resolution

July 19, 2020

The Minnesota Legislature returned to St. Paul for the second time in as many months for another special session on July 13.  State law requires the Legislature to be in session should the governor implement or extend a peacetime emergency declaration. Gov. Walz did just this week, extending the existing emergency declaration into mid-August.  While the GOP-led Senate voted to end the emergency, the House rejected a similar effort.

In addition to consideration of the emergency declaration, the Legislature is working to find agreement on proposals to fund major municipal, university, and other public infrastructure projects, as well as a package of tax relief.  Many legislators hope to pass policing and law enforcement reform in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, but the GOP and DFL proposals differ dramatically in scope.

The House may also consider  H.R. 1, a resolution stating that racism is a public health problem.  The text of the resolution, available here, notes that the American Academy of Pediatrics and other notable physician and health care organizations “recognize that racism is a social determinant of health that has a profound impact across the lifespan of an individual and that failure to address racism is an urgent public health issue that will exacerbate and perpetuate existing health inequities.”  The resolution, authored by Rep. Ruth Richardson (DFL – Mendota Heights), passed out of the House Rules Committee and was referred to the House floor.  The resolution does not at present have a Senate author.  While resolutions such as this do not carry the force of law, they can serve to highlight important issues and communicate that an issue is of great importance.

MNAAP members are urged to contact their legislators urging them to take up and pass H.R. 1. To learn how to contact your state legislators please click HERE.  An effective message to legislators will note your experience as a pediatrician or pediatrician-in-training. As is always the case when communicating with policy makers, telling a story about your patients or practice is an effective way to make the case for action.

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