The Catholic Spirit: Five Things to Know for Remaining Legislative Session

(May 11, 2017 – The Catholic Spirit – Matthew Davis)

“The big issue is, can legislative leaders and the governor work on a budget and a tax bill and a bonding bill?” Adkins said. “Right now there are significant differences in the proposals that they need to work out.”

He emphasized that people still can contact their legislators this late in the session to share opinions and ask them to work across partisan lines.

“Certainly we can contact our legislators and encourage them to understand the art of compromise,” Adkins said. “Everyone needs to walk away with something in a negotiation.”

Adkins said people can go to the MCC’s Catholic Advocacy Network online to find out how to contact their respective legislators. He added that assuring legislators of prayers in addition to sharing opinions helps, too.

“They appreciate hearing that we’re praying for them, that they make wise and just decisions,” Adkins said.

The legislative session is expected to end May 22.

1. Time is running out on budget differences

A significant gap remains between the two-year budget proposals, causing the possibility of a government shutdown to loom. A shutdown occurred in 2011.

“There’s a lot of ground to cover not just in terms of the difference in their proposed spending in tax plans, but also in that context which provision in which budget bills get those dollars,” Adkins said.

Adkins doesn’t believe the government will shut down again, but certain tax and bonding bills could get dropped. Those bills affect many issues such as school choice, the next wave of construction for Dorothy Day Place and the new soccer stadium in St. Paul.

“Those are the most likely victims, but a lot of people are depending on those pieces of legislation,” Adkins said.

2. Education

Adkins said good progress has been made on school choice legislation, but more work remains.

“We’ve done our job as a coalition, getting that to the governor,” he said, “and now it’s a matter of House and Senate leaders pushing for that, fighting for that in the negotiation.”

Adkins emphasized that people need to “reach out to Gov. Dayton and tell him to give more kids educational opportunity.”

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