End of Session Wrap-up: May 27

End of Session Wrap-up: May 27

A Look At What’s Happening At The Capitol
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May 27, 2016

 

 

End of Session Issues Wrap-up

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

The legislative session has now drawn to a close, with mixed results for the people of Minnesota.

Hundreds of ISAIAH leaders brought their enthusiasm, energy and values to the Capitol to advance our equity agenda. They weighed in on issues concerning workplace justice, mass incarceration, racial justice, and investing in the common good and, once again, proved that faith and organizing can achieve amazing results.

Well-funded lobbies for corporations, law enforcement, and those who use fear and division to advance their political agenda blocked our efforts to make changes to the juvenile justice system, to Restore the Vote and to cap interest on payday loans. We must continue growing our movement of people of faith to better counter their influences and to transform our world.

 

► Under our powerful messaging “everyone has a story,” ISAIAH leaders and coalition members were able to move Paid Family Leave legislation through the Senate. While it did not pass the House this session, the great need for paid family leave was heard by legislators. ISAIAH will continue to lift up the stories of caregivers across the state during the upcoming campaign season.

► Our leaders, working in coalition, stopped prison expansion and won robust sentencing reform, which will help reduce the carnage of mass incarceration on our families and communities. We will continue to fight any efforts to open a private prison, because for-profit incarceration, especially in a racially unjust criminal justice system, is a profound violation of human dignity.

► A team of ISAIAH leaders worked with a coalition to obtain a modest increase in investments for education equity initiatives including a small amount of funding for Pre-K; school support staff such as counselors; teachers of color and a pathway for school employees to become licensed teachers; full-service community schools; college access and affordability and student loan debt relief.

► ISAIAH leaders were able to preserve hope for immigrant driver’s licenses. The House leadership chose to appease their base with anti-immigrant provision, while the Senate, with our strong encouragement, stood firm against that divisive and unnecessary move. REAL ID legislation died when the two legislative chambers were unable to agree on common language.

► Two proposals to expand Minnesota Care, supported by both the Senate and the Governor, failed to get out of Committee in the House. One proposal would have expanded Minnesota Care to individuals earning less than $32,656; making them eligible to receive state subsidized, high quality medical care and saving the state money. The other proposal would have made Minnesota Care a public option for individual insurance buyers on the MNSURE exchange.

► GRIP/ISAIAH leaders organized a well-publicized and community supported campaign to extend the Northstar Rail Line to St. Cloud. The session ended without action on transportation funding; the two major impediments were the wide gulf between the House and Senate on how to pay for roads and bridges and the House’s unwillingness to fund transit projects.

Because of the failure to pass bills for bonding and transportation, there is widespread speculation that Governor Mark Dayton may call a special session. We will continue to organize for policies and investments that unite us rather than divide us and that further racial and economic justice for all God’s children in Minnesota.


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