The Legislative Session has ended. Where are Catholics helping to transform our state? Where will the Catholic voice still be needed?
Throughout the 2021 legislative session, the Minnesota Catholic Conference chose to actively engage on several policy proposals in both the House and Senate. We knew several proposals that we chose to support would be an uphill battle to find bi-partisan support or opposition. But by standing on the principles of our faith MCC and our Catholic Advocacy Network members can avoid falling into the deep partisan trenches. By building bridges with lawmakers across those trenches, regardless of the lawmaker’s party, we can promote and defend life, dignity, and the common good wherever it was found.
So, where did these bridges lead to good laws being implemented, and where will Catholics need to continue to construct those bridges? Read on for a summary of the session outcomes.
Issues where Catholic voices helped pass laws to transform our state in support of life, dignity, and the common good:
- The Minnesota Family Investment Program – Annual cost of living adjustment (COLA) for MFIP families and an additional $50 per month housing benefit. The budget agreement also includes a one-time $435 emergency cash payment to MFIP families.
- Medical Assistance – An extension of postpartum coverage under Medical Assistance from 60 days to 12 months to help ensure the physical and psychological well-being of moms which in turn supports families and their newborns.
- Emergency Services Program – Additional funding of $6 million/year, ongoing ($12 million/biennium), with funding beginning FY22 to help address the needs of those living without shelter or a home.
- Driver’s license suspension reform –The penalty for unpaid fines and fees for minor traffic violations will be a civil collections process rather than suspension of the individual’s driver’s license.
- Stopping a counseling ban on those offering and those seeking the help of the psychological sciences to address unwanted gender discordance.
Disappointing outcomes for life dignity, and the common good:
- No school choice legislation in the form of education savings accounts or tuition tax credits.
- No new nonpublic pupil aid programs to assist nonpublic school students were passed into law. Among the proposals that were denied are an extension of counseling services to primary school students, fixing transportation aid problems, and appropriating money for school safety initiatives.
- No creation of provisional driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants.
- No increased support for workers in the form of mandated earned sick and safe time.
- No new protections or interest rate caps against predatory payday lenders.
Issues where Catholics can advocate for life, dignity, and the common good during the 2022 legislative session:
- Preventing physician-assisted suicide from gaining any momentum – Join our partner organization the Minnesota Alliance for Ethical Healthcare to support critical advocacy efforts.
- Opposing a constitutional amendment constitutionalizing the right to an abortion and undermining religious freedom in the name of “gender equality”.
- Stopping the legalization of recreational marijuana – Learn more: Fact Sheet, Interview w/Smart Approaches to Marijuana, Interview w/Bishop Cozzens, Testimony on the impacts of marijuana use, The basics of the bill.
- MCC will monitor the progress of the Page Amendment, to ensure it does not undermine school choice efforts or threaten parental rights in education.
- Funding the Palliative Care Advisory Council to improve access to real care at the end of life.
- MCC will track education mandates that indoctrinate or sexualize children in public schools.
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