Minneapolis/ Politics & Govt
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Published on March 12, 2024
Minneapolis City Council Advances Worker and Environmental Initiatives, Veto on Rideshare Protections Spurs Special MeetingSource: City of Minneapolis

Minneapolis City Council's recent session saw a flurry of activity with resolutions and ordinances aimed at various city interests, including worker protections and environmental strides. In a newsletter disseminated by Ward 11 Council Member Emily Koski, she detailed her Washington D.C. trip for the National League of Cities 2024 Congressional Cities Conference, where she teamed up with U.S. Senators Tina Smith, Amy Klobuchar, and Congresswoman Ilhan Omar to represent Minneapolitans. Koski also noted the passage of a resolution for Women's History Month and touted the completion of a Cooperative Agreement with the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, and the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District focused on improving water quality, as reported by the newsletter.

The council also tackled the "Transportation Driver Worker Protections Ordinance," which was approved but then vetoed by Mayor Frey. While acknowledging improvements in pay and working conditions for rideshare drivers as crucial, Koski expressed her preference for a cautious approach: "I support improving pay, benefits, and working conditions for our rideshare drivers. But, without the State’s report, without taking the time to take that information into consideration, and ensure that we were making the best decision possible, I was not ready to vote 'yes' on the Ordinance," she stated in the newsletter. The Mayor has since called for a Special Meeting to address his veto.

An amendment proposed by Koski to conduct regular external evaluations of the ordinance was accepted by the council. These evaluations will be crucial for obtaining, "clear data which shows the impacts of this Ordinance on TNC companies, drivers, and passengers," ensuring informed adjustments can be made in the future. The overarching goal, as depicted by Koski, is to create stability for drivers and passengers with minimal market disruptions.

Environmental initiatives were also highlighted, with the solar co-op project in partnership with Solar United Neighbors (SUN) being extended to the community, offering investors a tax incentive and financial support for eligible homeowners. Resident involvement further extends to the City's "dinner dialogue" event on March 28, dedicated to shaping the future of George Floyd Square. The event will foster community vision, including discussions around site improvements and memorials.

Apart from tackling social and environmental challenges, the City is also embroiled in the nationwide struggle to fill vital positions in public safety. Minneapolis has kicked off a recruitment push for 911 operators and police officers, aiming to attract community-focused candidates to these crucial jobs. As cities vie for talent in a competitive landscape, Minneapolis positions itself as a place where potential can be realized in the service of public safety.

Staying in step with national acknowledgments, the Minneapolis City Council has formally recognized March as Women's History Month. They committed to the ongoing promotion of gender equity, diversity, and empowerment.