Politics and Government

Minnesota House poised to declare racism a public health crisis

Rep. Ruth Richardson
Rep. Ruth Richardson, DFL-Mendota Heights, speaks during a House Public Safety Committee meeting last year. Richardson wrote a resolution declaring racism a public health crisis in the state.
Christine T. Nguyen | MPR News

Minnesota lawmakers are poised to make a strong statement against racism during the special session that got underway this week.

Members of the House Rules Committee voted Tuesday to adopt a resolution declaring racism a public health crisis in the state. It now goes to the full House for a vote next week.

The resolution commits the House to actively participate in the dismantling of racism in areas of government, including health, public safety and education.

Rep. Ruth Richardson, DFL-Mendota Heights, the author of the measure said action is needed on racism.

“Racism is a public health crisis just as COVID is a public health crisis,” Richardson said. “It is literally killing our communities.”

The House resolution also calls for the formation of a select committee to address racism. The panel’s goals will include a review existing policies and practices in the House itself.

Rep. Kaohly Her, DFL-St. Paul, applauded the resolution and its attempt to address racial disparities.

“This clearly is a crisis that needs to be addressed,” Her said.