The Central Minnesota Catholic: ‘Families First’ Project, marijuana, abortion at heart of MCC’s legislative focus

With the start of the 2023 Minnesota legislative session Jan. 3, the Minnesota Catholic Conference, the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in Minnesota, is putting families at the top of its advocacy strategy for the year.

“Oftentimes in the public arena, we’re stuck dealing with the downstream challenges of family fragmentation, poverty, addiction. … We thought it would be prudent to think about going upstream in the policy ecosystem and think about, how do we promote and strengthen the well-being of families?” said Jason Adkins, executive director of MCC.

In addition, with the push from some legislators to remove limitations on abortion, Adkins also stressed that “if we’re going to have a permissive abortion policy in Minnesota, we also want to make Minnesota the best place to have a child, raise a child and help that child flourish.”

In light of this goal, MCC will promote a “Families First” agenda — a series of bills and policies that seeks to put families first by promoting the economic and holistic prosperity of families.

“We want to lower barriers to family formation and having a child,” Adkins said.

To date, there are 13 different policy proposals as part of the Families First Project. Among them are a “lifetime state income tax exemption for women who have four or more children,” a “Minnesota Minivan Act,” which would create a grant program to offer $5,000 to families with three or more children to buy a larger vehicle, and a “paid caregiver leave policy.”

The centerpiece, Adkins said, is the child tax credit, which is a fully refundable per-child tax credit that would offer $1,200-$1,800 a year.

“We think it’s a matter of what we call tax justice and tax fairness to families,” he said.

Adkins said the Families First Project “transcends” both partisan and ecclesial divides.

“It can both strengthen families … and encourage family formation and childbearing, but it also can help economically support those most disadvantaged,” he said. “It’s tailored toward low- and middle-income families,” he said.

Adkins believes the Project can give Catholics a cause to rally around. He stressed the importance of the family as the building block of society and a mirror of the Trinity.

“We’ll be focusing on about five or six [proposals] from the standpoint of our staff this session, but we’ll also be encouraging Catholics and giving them the tools on our website to advocate for these bills themselves,” Adkins said.

He noted the Catholic call to faithful citizenship, saying the tools MCC provides are not just advocacy resources, but catechetical tools as well.


Read the full story at The Central Minnesota Catholic

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