Legislative Update: April 29, 2016

Legislative Update: April 29, 2016

A Look At What’s Happening At The Capitol
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April 29, 2016


Legislative Issues Update

Welcome to this week’s ISAIAH Legislative Issues Update for the 2016 Minnesota legislative session.  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.


Pictured above: Kim Houle testifies to Senators on the need for Paid Family Leave.
Paid Family Leave Advances to Senate Floor

Good news!

The Paid Family & Medical Leave Act was heard in the Senate Taxes Committee on Tuesday (its 6th and final Senate Committee hearing), and was laid over for possible inclusion in the Omnibus Tax bill. ISAIAH leader Kim Houle, a caregiver from Richfield, testified before the Committee.

Under the pending legislation, access to partial wage replacement for 12 weeks of pregnancy and family leave every year would cost the median Minnesota worker just 57 cents per week. The Senate is planning to take up a measure to appropriate funds to get the program up and running as part of its supplemental budget bill.

Also to note, the Minnesotans for Paid Family Leave Coalition, which ISAIAH is co-chairing, is planning a major rally on Tuesday May 17 at noon.


Restore the Vote

The Minnesota Senate approved an amendment to its Omnibus Elections bill allowing formerly incarcerated people still on probation or parole to vote. If the Senate Elections bill goes to conference committee, Restore the Vote will be part of the deliberations. Restoring the Vote is one of our priorities and was a focus for the conversations our leaders held with elected officials during last week’s Racial Justice Day.


Pictured above from left to right: Reps. Lohmer, Whelan, Dean, Miller and Backer at a town hall meeting in north Minneapolis to discuss the proposal to reopen a private-owned prison in Appleton.

Town Hall in N. Minneapolis on the Appleton Prison

Representative Ray Dehn held a Town Hall meeting on April 26 in his north Minneapolis district to discuss the proposal to open a 1,600 privately-owned prison in Appleton MN. Representative Tim Miller, from the Appleton area and sponsor of the prison bill, attended along with other Republican Representatives including Kathy Lohmer, Abigail Whelan, Matt Dean and Jeff Backer. Community members and legislators shared powerful stories of the ways in which mass incarceration and policing have impacted their lives.

ISAIAH organizer Catalina Morales shared her own story of living in fear of deportation, and how access to drivers’ licenses would reduce that burden of fear that so many immigrant families face daily. Too many of our immigrant brothers and sisters are incarcerated for profit. Corrections Corporation of America, which owns the Appleton prison, now makes 25% of its revenue from immigrant detentions.

The Minnesota Legislature needs to reject mass incarceration, mass deportations and act now to restore access to drivers’ licenses.



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