Legislative Update: Mar 28, 2015

Legislative Update: Mar 28, 2015

A Look At What’s Happening At The Capitol
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March 28, 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.

Driver’s Licenses for Immigrants

Hundreds of ISAIAH leaders and members of the Safe Roads Coalition packed the room and an overflow room for a Wednesday night information-only hearing in the House transportation committee on legislation that would allow immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses.  Dozens of supporters testified from the faith, business, labor, immigrant, and public safety communities from across the state.  The stories told by immigrants were powerful, courageous and heart wrenching. 

Jovita Morales testified that it took hours to get to her children who were trapped on the 35W bridge after the collapse.  Maria Negreros, an ISAIAH leader from St. Nicholas Catholic Church in Carver, has two children and spoke of her need to drive so they can attend preschool.

Lead author of the legislation, Rep. Rod Hamilton said after the hearing he remains optimistic even as he acknowledged he might not have the votes to pass the proposal out of the committee. He said the bill could return as an amendment to other legislation.

Pictured above, Maria Negreros waits to tell her story to the House transportation committee.


For more information about the hearing and legislation, you may want to read this Star Tribune article.

Paid Family Leave

ISAIAH leaders packed a Senate Jobs Committee hearing in support of paid family leave.

Nikki Kleman, Amazing Grace Lutheran Church in Inver Grove Heights, shared powerful witness about the struggles of mothers like her whose children have cancer. She brought a photo of her son Mason to remind our legislators that paid family leave would allow us to care for our families when they need us most.

Verne Severson from Crown of Glory Lutheran Church in Chaska told the Committee that he is a small business owner who supports paid family leave because it is good for business – and the right thing to do.

Pastor Amy Jo Bur from Le Center testified that we answer God’s prophetic call as people of faith when we care for one another through policies like paid family leave.

The Senate Jobs Committee unanimously approved moving forward with an analysis of the policy.

Faith Summits Held in St. Peter and St. Cloud

This past week, ISAIAH held two faith summits in greater Minnesota.  In St. Peter, Sen. Kathy Sheran and Rep. Clark Johnson joined people of faith at First Lutheran Church to discuss how policies like paid sick days and paid family leave can support families and communities to care for one another.  In St. Cloud, a meeting was held to discuss regional transportation issues, specifically why extending the Northstar train the last 30 miles to St. Cloud is important for creating transit equity in the community.  Petitions with more than 300 signatures were collected and will be delivered to St. Cloud legislators. 

Protecting Affordable Healthcare for Low-Income Working Minnesotans

The Chair of the Health and Human Services Committee in the Minnesota House of Representatives has put forward a proposal and held a hearing on eliminating MinnesotaCare.

ISAIAH is working to prevent MinnesotaCare’s elimination.

Dan Quillin, from Mayflower UCC in Minneapolis and Co-Chair of ISAIAH’s Health Equity Committee, testified before the committee:  “By undermining MinnesotaCare, we seriously risk both slowing our progress toward having the lowest uninsured rate in the country and reducing health care disparities.”  (You can read Dan’s testimony here.)

Minnesota has led the nation for decades in making high-quality affordable healthcare accessible for all Minnesotans.  We fought hard during the implementation of the Affordable Care Act to keep this program that serves 88,000 low-income working Minnesotans. 

Funding MinnesotaCare will be a big part of the budget negotiations this session and we must let our legislators know that we support it. 



Take Action to Prevent the Elimination of MinnesotaCare!  Call your representative and senator and let them know that you support the continuation of the successful MinnesotaCare program.  (Find your legislators and their contact information here.)

House GOP Transportation Proposal Leaves Metro Transit Riders Out in the Cold

ISAIAH and its coalition partners issued a response to the transportation proposal announced by the leadership of the House of Representatives.

“Minnesota’s transportation system is aging and out of step with changing needs and demographics. As our population grows older and increasingly diverse, more people depend on a full range of transportation choices. We are encouraged that the GOP leadership of the Minnesota House of Representatives recognizes the critical need for transportation investment. Nevertheless, we are deeply concerned by the absence of attention to the growing number of people who rely on bus and rail service to meet their daily needs.”  Click here to read the entire statement.

40 Days of Prophetic Vigil

Members of Guardian Angels Catholic Church in Oakdale and St. Ambrose Catholic Church in Woodbury met with Rep. Kelly Fenton to talk about transit, childcare, paid sick leave and paid family leave.  Other congregations participating in the final week of the vigil included Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church in Minneapolis and United Church of Christ in New Brighton.

Restore the Vote / Juvenile Justice System Reform

ISAIAH is working with coalitions that are advancing legislation that would restore the right to vote to ex-felons upon release from prison, and a package of reforms to the juvenile justice system, including eliminating mandatory minimums and the shackling of our youth in the courtroom.  Both pieces of legislation have strong bi-partisan support, as well as strong support from the community.  However, the House leadership won’t let the bills be heard. 

ISAIAH leader Demetria Carter held a powerful meeting with Speaker of the House Kurt Daudt this week and shared her story, highlighting why its important for her and people in her situation that Minnesota allows people who have served their prison terms the right to vote. 

Take Action!  Call your representatives and senators and let them know that you want them to Restore the Vote and to support the Juvenile Justice System Reforms.  (Find your legislators and their contact information here.) You can also read more about Restore the Vote in this StarTribune article.

Predatory Lending

ISAIAH responded to a new proposal by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to regulate the predatory payday lending industry:

“This proposal takes a major step toward protecting families and their hard-earned money.  The payday lending industry has shown blatant disregard for common sense practices, including basic underwriting. This proposal would make clear that payday lenders are accountable to the same standards as all other lenders.  And it shows that our government can and should ensure that everyday Americans have access to good credit, rather than allowing families to be mired in an endless cycle of debt.”  Click here to read the full statement.

Please join us on Holy Thursday, April 2, 2015 at 10 am

when clergy, faith leaders, and public officials will be standing against usury and debt profiteering by the Payday Lending Industry.  We will meet in the parking lot next to the East Lake Street Library, 2727 E. Lake Street in Minneapolis.

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