Legislative Update: Mar 12, 2015

Legislative Update: Mar 12, 2015

A Look At What’s Happening At The Capitol
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March 12, 2015

Let My People Thrive: Legislative Update

As people of faith, we believe our moral compass comes from the things God calls us to do. During this legislative session, the ISAIAH community is acting out of a fundamental set of values – dignity, inclusion, equity and redemption. Working together with our state leaders, we will put the truth of God’s love back at the center of our lives and our society.

Presentation to Minnesota Senate Committee: Pathways to Education Equity

ISAIAH Education / Mass Incarceration Team leaders were invited by the Minnesota Senate E-12 Education Committee to give a 30-minute presentation.

Pastor Paul Slack, president of ISAIAH, kicked off the session by explaining ISAIAH’s belief in abundance, not scarcity, in educating all children.  Greg King talked about diversity at all levels, from AP classes to the staff lunchroom, funding that doesn’t pit one good program against another, and discipline rather than demonization.  He then highlighted several lessons learned from the work the team has been doing to break the school-to-prison pipeline.

The presentation wrapped up with several ISAIAH leaders sharing their stories, including GRIP/ISAIAH members who had travelled treacherous icy roads from St. Cloud to contribute insights into the changing demographics of greater Minnesota. The committee appreciated both the hazardous travel and the insights.

Senator Patricia Torres Ray invited ISAIAH to work with her to highlight the need for effective investment education for all Minnesotans.

Restore the Vote

After testimony from ISAIAH leader Demetria Carter and others, the Senate Elections Committee voted on March 3 in support of legislation that would Restore the Vote for convicted felons after they’re released from prison. This is the second Senate committee it has passed.

Demetria Carter provides testimony to the Senate Elections Committee.

40 Days of Prophetic Vigil

ISAIAH is continuing its tradition of bringing our faith to the Capitol by encouraging congregations to select a day during Lent to bring a group of their members to the Capitol to express support for ISAIAH’s issues agenda and to share their stories with their Senators and Representatives. 

In this photo, members of St. Thomas More Catholic Church in St. Paul shared their stories with Sen. Dick Cohen.

#HowWeRollMN Transit Challenge

Last week, a bipartisan group of twenty-five Minnesota state legislators signed on to the #HowWeRollMN Transit Challenge, riding the bus and train to experience the realities of today’s transit system. On Friday, transit riders and community groups, including ISAIAH, were joined by Lieutenant Governor Tina Smith, Metropolitan Council Chair Adam Duininick, Rep. Frank Hornstein, Rep. Carolyn Laine and other legislators for a bus ride and press conference to highlight the need for increased funding for transit in the metro area and in Greater Minnesota.

Reverend Paul Slack, president of ISAIAH, (pictured above) spoke about the importance of transit for people of color and for every Minnesotan:

“We have heard from people all over the state who need a fair, accessible and more reliable transit system. These problems impact people of color most severely. We need an equitable solution right now that doesn’t turn a blind eye to these facts. We call on the legislature to pass a comprehensive, long term funding solution this session to build the transportation system that all Minnesotans deserve.” 

Click here to read the press release. Click here to see a list of media coverage.

Working Families, Healthy Communities Day of Action:

March 17, 2015 | 9am-12:30pm

Christ Lutheran on Capitol Hill,

105 University Avenue West, St. Paul

Too many families in our communities are in crisis: facing choices every day between earning the money they need to provide for their families and caring for their loved ones. 

We must change this by building an economy that honors our humanity; an economy in which we can care for one another and earn a living. We are bringing our faith and our stories to the

Capitol as we call on our legislators to put families, not special interests, first by passing paid family leave and paid sick days legislation.

Join us for a press conference highlighting the release of a Minnesota Department of Health study about the devastating health impacts of living without paid family leave and sick days. We will then fan out across the Capitol complex to share our stories with legislators and deliver a copy of the report to each of them.

To let us know you are coming or if you have any questions, email Laura Johnson at ljohnson@isaiahmn.org.

Governor Mark Dayton held a press conference last week in St. Cloud to talk about a comprehensive transportation plan for all Minnesota. He called on GRIP/ISAIAH leaders to share their stories with the media about the need for increased transit in Greater Minnesota.  In the photo above, the Governor is shown with GRIP/ISAIAH leaders.

Safe Roads, Strong Communities: Willmar Faith Summit

More than 250 Latinos gathered in Willmar on Saturday, February 28, to share stories and ask public officials to support legislation that would allow undocumented immigrants to apply for a Minnesota driver’s license.

Mónica Pérez told how fearful her husband is to drive without a license, but he feels he doesn’t have a choice.  He needs to take their daughter, who was diagnosed with a brain tumor, to medical appointments in the Twin Cities.

Senator Koenen and Representative Baker expressed support for Safe Roads legislation and promised to champion legislation and help move it through the Legislature.  Willmar Mayor Calvin said he would be an advocate and speak to others in support of the issue.  Willmar Police Chief Felt proclaimed that both the roads and the community would be safer if undocumented immigrants were allowed to obtain licenses.

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