Legislative Update: April 27, 2015

Legislative Update: April 27, 2015


A Look At What’s Happening At The Capitol
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April 27, 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.

ISAIAH Racial Justice Day at the Capitol

On Thursday, more than 100 ISAIAH leaders came together for a legislative issue training, legislative visits, and to offer public prayers in the Capitol for our legislators to advance driver’s licenses for immigrants, provide dedicated and sustainable funding for public transit, restore the vote, and make reforms to our juvenile justice system – all clear, moral, commonsense policies that would be profound steps toward addressing racial inequities.

Some of our efforts on that day were covered by these media outlets:

Pioneer Press:  Felon voting bill wins approval in Minnesota Senate

Star Tribune:  Minnesota Senate approves gun-silencer measure despite Dayton’s veto threat

ISAIAH President Rev. Paul Slack and ISAIAH leaders participating in a prayer vigil outside the Senate chambers.

Transit Funding

Members of ISAIAH and other community groups assembled at the State Capitol on April 16 for a March and Rally to demand a comprehensive transportation bill that includes dedicated and sustainable funding for public transit. March participants traveled through Capitol halls and tunnels and stopped at various points to deliver transit stories

Over the past decade, funding for bus service has remained stagnant while ridership has increased by 14% in the metro area and 25% in greater Minnesota. Unfortunately, the transportation bill that passed the House this week cuts funding by 15%, falling drastically short of what’s needed to reduce overcrowding and increase limited service. 

Photo by Transit for Livable Communities.

The Senate’s transportation bill is more in line with what we are advocating and will be brought to the floor for a vote soon.

To read more about the rally, click here

On April 16, GRIP-ISAIAH leaders visited the Chair of the House Ways & Means Committee Rep. Jim Knoblach (R-St. Cloud), to share the reasons they support extending the Northstar Commuter Rail Line to St. Cloud. Last week, the Minnesota House defeated legislation proposed to study the issue.

Restore the Vote and Juvenile Justice Reform

Restore the Vote and Juvenile Justice Reform were both included in the Judiciary Omnibus bill passed by the Minnesota Senate on Thursday while many ISAIAH leaders observed from the Gallery.  These policy changes will now be part of negotiations with the House in Conference Committees.

Driver’s Licenses for Immigrants

Driver’s Licenses for Immigrants legislation (i.e. Safe Roads bill) has been added to the Senate Transportation Omnibus Bill and is coming up for a vote soon.

Our powerful, faith-based presence at the Capitol during the session so far, especially Thursday’s Racial Justice Day has been critical in helping to pass these moral, commonsense policies. The power and effectiveness of faith and personal testimony was also highlighted when Sen. Scott Newman cited ISAIAH leader Demetria Carter’s courageous testimony (see this KARE-TV article and video news) as a factor in beginning to change his mind on the Restore the Vote issue.

Legislative Faith Summits

100 people from congregations in Moorhead met with Sen. Kent Eken, Rep. Ben Lien, and Moorhead Mayor Del Rae Williams to talk about transit needs in Greater Minnesota, affordable housing, health, and economic security of families.

Sen. Barb Goodwin and Rep. Carolyn Laine joined 50 ISAIAH leaders at United Church of Christ in New Brighton to talk about better public transit, driver’s licenses for immigrants, restoring the vote, and working families.

50 people from two northeast metro Catholic churches (Guardian Angels in Oakdale and St. Ambrose in Woodbury) attended a meeting with Reps. Kelly Fenton and JoAnn Ward and Sen. Susan Kent to discuss public transit, affordable housing, childcare, and sick and parental leave policies.  

At St. Odilia Catholic Church in Shoreview, more than 100 people gathered to discuss driver’s licenses for immigrants and public transit funding with Rep. Barb Yarusso.

On April 14 ISAIAH leaders visited and prayed at 11 Pawn America and Payday America stores, calling on their owner and chair of the Retailers Association, Brad Rixmann, to stop lobbying efforts against policies that support worker justice, paid family leave and paid sick days. In the photo, an ISAIAH leader hands a letter addressed to Mr. Roxmann to a store manager.

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