Ramsey County Community Updates

The sixth of bi-weekly newsletters detailing how different communities in Ramsey County are handling the Pandemic.
This week includes:

RCLLG Meeting Save the Date & Land Use Conference Invite

1. Policy Action Group & Legislative Session Overview
2. On Current Events - #BLM Movement
3. Community Fun & Celebration

Save the Date! July RCLLG Meeting

Mark your calendars for July 10th, as RCLLG will be holding a virtual member roundtable discussion. This meeting will focus on COVID-19 plans and resources – more details to come!

Mon & Tues | Oct 12-13

RCLLG members receive 20% off registration! E-mail gts@mngts.org to receive the discount code before you register.

Day 1 |  $70
Day 2 |  $110
Both Days |  $150
*includes food/beverage and materials

 Shoreview Community Center
4580 Victoria St N
Shoreview, MN 55126

**Conference may transition to a virtual format depending on public health guidelines .

Ramsey County COVID Policy Action
Group (PAG) Updates
Debrief: The 12-member Policy Action Group (PAG) , formed to manage policy issues and ensure rapid and long-term response in Ramsey County, has been operating since March. Read more about them in our first newsletter .

The group's more recent meeting was held on Monday, May 18th.
Update: The Policy Action Group has been unable to schedule a meeting due to competing priorities and the special legislative session. Toni Carter, Ramsey County Board of Commissioners Chair, provided a few brief updates from subcommittees:

- Housing and Homeless: the county will be taking significant action at our next board meeting bolstering resources and supports in this area.
- Food Security and Basic Needs: working with school districts and community partners to align resources and supports.
- Local Finances and Budgets: continuing to assess impacts and resources, with a focus on the evolving guidance and release of state supports. 

Legislative Special Session Overview:

Purpose : Minnesota lawmakers’ special session goals revolved around 1) modifying policies of police reform and accountability, as well as 2) building a strong and equitable economy. The session began Friday, June 12.

Remembering George Floyd : At the start of Friday's special session, House Speaker Melissa Hortman, DFL-Brooklyn Park, called for members to stand in silence and bow their heads for 8 minutes and 46 seconds to remember the life of George Floyd. Photo here .

Contrasting Agendas : The Star Tribune reported on Saturday, June 13, “Minnesota legislators clashed sharply on Friday as top Republicans rejected much of a sweeping DFL package of police reforms... contrasting agendas [were] on full display, with Senate Republicans pushing instead to end the state of emergency that allowed Gov. Tim Walz to close bars, restaurants and schools to respond to the coronavirus pandemic."

Signs of Agreement : The Hous e and Senate agreed on a $62.5 million package of grants for small businesses impacted by the pandemic. The bill, signed Tuesday, June 16, will provide grants of $10,000 to businesses with 50 or fewer employees. Half of the funding will go toward businesses in Greater Minnesota, and at least $10 million will go toward minority-owned businesses.

Rebuilding from Unrest : The Democrat-controlled MN House announced a $300 million economic aid proposal Monday, June 15 for businesses that were damaged or destroyed during the civil unrest over the death of George Floyd. Read here for a breakdown of this proposal. The House passed this package.

Police Reforms : Although a police reform package was not passed, the GOP-led Senate passed three police reform bills late Wednesday, June 17. These include banning of chokeholds, allocating $6 million a year to improve crisis and mental health training, and providing more counseling and stress management support for officers

Bonding Bill Still Not Touched: CBS Minnesota reported on Tuesday, June 16, that the bonding bill, essentially a public construction borrowing package, had not been touched. That Tuesday Republican House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt said the House’s priority is “ reducing our budget deficit and ending the governor’s emergency powers. If the governor and the other legislative leaders are willing to have a discussion on those items, we remain open to a bonding bill .”

After 8 days of meetings and discussion, the session ended Saturday morning with no major bills passed. KARE 11 reported " House Democrats and Senate Republicans couldn’t agree on a host of legislation including police reform, a federal COVID-19 aid package, and a bonding bill." Lt. Gov Flanagan stated " Some people say that special legislative sessions aren’t so special, because they happen at the end of every legislative session, but this one was truly supposed to be the session where we heard from people of color and indigenous folks ... who are crying out for reform, and those calls went unanswered by the Minnesota Senate ."

See bills passed here .

On Current Events

New Roseville Committee : Roseville is looking for members to join their new Multicultural Advisory Committee (MAC). This committee will help the community address racial disparities in policing and help identify new ways to enhance communication and engagement with the richly diverse community. Visit their website to learn more and to apply.

Cities Speak Podcast : In episode 27 of CTV North Suburbs' "Cities Speak" podcast, Roseville School Board Member Curtis Johnson speaks on the Roseville School District happenings. Johnson tweeted :

" I had a great time talking to @DFraz [Dana Healy, CEO of CTV] about the Roseville Area School District, the impacts of #COVID19 on schools, food resources for students, virtual graduations and the #BLM movement.. ."

When asked for Johnson’s thoughts on the impact of the Black Lives Matter Movement on the Roseville school district (4:55 in the video), Johnson said “ The thing I hope comes out of this is that our students feel they can come to us, whether it’s a school board member, whether it is a teacher or principal, and share their ideas… If we can get input from students, that is a good thing… Especially when we hear from students, we stop what we’re doing. They’re why we do this ." See the whole podcast here .
Recognizing Champions : Do you know someone who deserves recognition for their commitment to racial equity and anti-racism efforts in Minnesota? Nominations are now open for the Facing Race Awards. Click here to nominate someone.

Community Celebration

Photo Contest : Vadnais Heights recently wrapped up their "Vadnais Proud Community Photo Contest." Last month, they stated on their website :

" The COVID-19 pandemic has been a trying time for people around the world, but we have found hope in the strength of our communities to come together and support each other! Those who live, work, and go to school in Vadnais Heights are invited to join us in a photo contest. Show us the things that make Vadnais a great community to you – people, places, pets, anything is fair game as long as it’s within Vadnais Heights!

Submissions were accepted May 18 – June 4, 2020, and voting was open June 8 – 12, 2020."  Click here to see the submissions, as well as the winners!
Above: White Bear Lake HS choir students virtually perform "Bridge Over Troubled Waters"

Virtual Graduation : White Bear Lake Area Schools' graduates were able to hop online with their families and watch the WBLAHS Virtual Graduation Ceremony together, which featured student speeches, performances and the Presentation of the Class of 2020. One of the songs featured in the ceremony was "Bridge Over Troubled Waters,” virtually recorded and performed by choir students. The band also played an impressive rendition of “What A Wonderful World.” Read more here in their community newsletter.
Read Ramsey County's Monthly Newsletter :
June 2020 newsletter: Message from Board Chair Toni...

Message from Board Chair Toni Carter - Coronavirus/COVID-19 update- Summer learning program- Park shelter reservations open- Resources for county businesses- Employment assistance- Fill out your 2020 census- Upcoming events- In the news As chair...

Read more

Wondering how you can volunteer during this crisis? Here's some ideas:

- Create f un care packages!

A June 10 Tweet from Roseville FD:

Ten. The number of total ducklings saved today in Roseville. Our firefighters responded to two separate duck rescue calls today making two momma ducks very happy!

We want to hear from you!

Have a story? Find out what your community is doing amidst the Pandemic and let us know.

Contact us at RCLLG @mngts.org .

If you have any questions about RCLLG, your membership, or news listed above, please email RCLLG@mngts.org .

Visit the RCLLG website and follow us on social media!
Ramsey County League of Local Governments | www.mngts.org/rcllg