Thirty-eight DFLers and one Republican have introduced a bill to create a Council on LGBTQI Minnesotans. Under the bill, the council “must work for the implementation of economic, social, legal, and political equality for Minnesota’s LGBTQI community.”

The council would be charged with advising the governor and legislature, would serve as a liaison between state government and the LGBTQI community, and would generate reports related to the equity of LGBTQI Minnesotans.

If the bill (HF2689/SF2407) were to become law, it would give the governor the power to appoint 12 members of the council: two members who identify as gay, two members who identify as lesbian, two members who identify as bisexual, two members who identify as transgender, two members who identify as queer, and two members who identify as intersex. In addition, four legislators would serve on the council. The Speaker of the House and the House of Representatives Minority Leader will each get one appointment from the House, and the Subcommittee on Committees of the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration will get two appointments, one from the majority party and one from the minority party.

In the House, the bill was introduced by DFL Reps. Karen Clark of Minneapolis, Susan Allen of Minneapolis, Erin Maye Quade Apple Valley, Carlos Mariani of St. Paul, Mike Freiberg of Golden Valley, Peter Fischer of Maplewood, JoAnn Ward of Woodbury, Rena Moran of St. Paul, Fue Lee of Minneapolis, Jim Davnie of Minneapolis, Jean Wagenius of Minneapolis, Mary Kunesh-Podein of New Brighton, Raymond Dehn of Minneapolis, Frank Hornstein of Minneapolis, Erin Murphy of St. Paul, Dave Pinto of St. Paul, Tina Liebling of Rochester, Deb Hilstrom of Brooklyn Center, Jason Metsa of Virginia, David Bly of Northfield, Peggy Flanagan of St. Louis Park, Ilhan Omar of Minneapolis, Jennifer Schultz of Duluth, Connie Bernardy of New Brighton, Alice Hausman of St. Paul, Linda Slocum of Richfield, Diane Loeffler of Minneapolis, Cheryl Youakim of Hopkins, Sandra Masin of Eagan, Paul Thissen of Minneapolis, Jamie Becker-Finn of Roseville, Leon Lillie of North St. Paul, and Tim Mahoney of St. Paul.

Rep. Keith Franke of St. Paul Park, a Republican, was also among those introducing the bill.

In the Senate, the bill was introduced by DFL Sens. Scott Dibble of Minneapolis, Steve Cwodzinski or Eden Prairie, Melisa Franzen of Edina, Carolyn Laine of Columbia Heights, Susan Kent of Woodbury.

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Andy Birkey

Andy Birkey has written for a number of Minnesota and national publications. He founded Eleventh Avenue South which ran from 2002-2011, wrote for the Minnesota Independent from 2006-2011, the American Independent from 2010-2013. His writing has appeared in The Advocate, The Star Tribune, The Huffington Post, Salon, Cagle News Service, Twin Cities Daily Planet, TheUptake, Vita.mn and much more. His writing on LGBT issues, the religious right and social justice has won awards including Best Beat Reporting by the Online News Association, Best Series by the Minnesota chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, and an honorable mention by the Sex-Positive Journalism awards.

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