Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz has reportedly pledged to support state Rep. John Thompson’s $450 million bill to fight “systemic racism.”
Thompson exploded into the public eye last summer during his campaign when he suggested that a group of protesters he led had no reservations about burning down the Minneapolis-adjacent town of Hugo. Despite his controversial candidacy, Thompson enjoyed endorsements from top Minnesota Democrats like Walz.
Now, Thompson claims this support remains steadfast and that the governor will back his new bill, per WCCO. The proposed legislation, HF 784, seeks to appropriate nearly half a billion dollars “directed at ending systemic racism” and “adopting provisions that address racial injustice and systemic racism.”
If approved, this money will be used to provide educational programs exclusively for black Minnesotans, programs to increase black homeownership, and to create “family and community service centers” that can only be run by black people.
The bill also makes several vague, sweeping demands related to race. For example, HF 784 seeks to mandate an analysis of “the state’s changes to criminal and civil procedures related to the state’s demographics to determine financial, human, and community impacts.” It also aims to “create and staff regional human rights offices throughout the state” at a cost of $20 million. However, the exact function of these offices remains undefined.
Although the bill cleared its first house committee last week, it still faces opposition. State Rep. Steve Drazkowski said he is concerned that HF 784 provides services exclusively to black people, according to KSTP—a sentiment which may be echoed by members of the Republican-controlled Senate.
On the other hand, Thompson claims that appropriating money on a racial basis is just giving black people their “fair share,” reports WCCO.
Meanwhile, Minnesota just reestablished a budget surplus after it lost its financial footing and slipped into a deficit in 2020. If passed, Thompson’s bill would wipe out nearly 30% of the state’s newly found $1.6 billion surplus.