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Proposal would establish state Human Rights offices in St. Cloud, Rochester and Duluth

The Council for Minnesotans of African Heritage is leading a push at the Legislature to open more Human Rights offices around the state.

There’s an effort under way to persuade legislators to open three more state human rights offices around the state, in Duluth, Rochester and St. Cloud.

The Council for Minnesotans of African Heritage (formerly the Council on Black Minnesotans) is leading the effort, according to the Rochester Post-Bulletin.

Kolloh Nimley, who works for the council in Rochester, said: “A local office that has investigative abilities will be able to deal with those issues at the local level and refer the ones that need to be referred to the St. Paul office.”

Legislation in the House, sponsored by Rep. Frank Hornstein, DFL-Minneapolis, would open human rights offices in Rochester, Duluth and St. Cloud, and increase oversight of the department with reviews by the state auditor review.

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“Human rights is very important and this proposal really just looks at enforcing the existing laws on the books more effectively,” Hornstein told the paper. “Human rights is a statewide issue. It’s not only a metro issue.”

Similar bills in the House and Senate failed to get hearings last session, but supporters believe a renewed look at addressing racial disparity may help them along this year. Coming up with the needed money, though, will continue to be a problem, officials said.