HF543 is a controversial piece of legislation that appropriates $1,000,000 in 2020 and another $1,000,000 for Fanka programs. Ka Joog which is a nationally recognized Somali nonprofit that will receive 100% of the money describes Fanka (The Arts) “a means to create political and social change around the world” The bill mandates “The funding must be used for Fanka programs to provide arts education and workshops, mentor programs, and community presentations and community engagement events throughout Minnesota.”
Republican Dave Baker (R-Willmar) is the only Republican sponsor of the bill. Previously Republican Dean Urdahl was also listed as a co-sponsor but had his name stricken as of February 21st.
In the Senate, two Republicans Dave Sanjem and Andrew Lang were previously listed as co-sponsors of the bill but both had their names stricken. Democrat State Senator Sandy Pappas and Democrat Representative Alice Hausman are the chief authors in the respective chambers.
Bob Enos who is an activist and constituent of Rep. Baker has been lobbying against this legislation. On his Facebook page, he posted an email he received from Baker defending the legislation
“Thanks Bob for your email. I appreciate hate hearing from you!
Tough issue as you know and I hear many, many “concepts” that help the Somali communities. My district has many residents that have worked hard to be US Citizens and I want them integrating more quickly.
I want many in the July 4th parades, celebrating what they have now, etc
I also have supported civics class in schools since I arrived in St Paul
Thanks again for your email.
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