JRLC e-Xpress March 20

Poverty Impact Statement is now introduced as HF 1818 (Mariani) and SF 1558 (Marty). Too often legislators discuss changes to budgets and programs without knowing whether the result will raise or lower the number of people living in poverty. This bill would gather this information using modernized poverty measures developed by the National Academy of Sciences. Let your legislator know you support this bill!

The Emergency Jobs Act received its first hearing yesterday in the House Higher Ed and Workforce Committee. After great testimony from the Jobs Now Coalition, a former wage-subsidy employee, and a small business owner, the bill was laid over for possible inclusion in the committee’s omnibus bill.  JRLC offered written testimony. HF 1326 (Rukavina) and SF 1529 (Tomassoni) establishes a wage subsidy program to spur employment. The bill also includes language to seek a federal waiver on the use of Unemployment Insurance benefits as wage subsidies.

Impartial Judiciary SF 70 (Rest) successfully reached the first committee deadline after receiving approval from the Senate State and Local Government Operations Committee. The testimony and discussion focused on the actual question that would appear on the ballot in 2010. Now action moves to the House where the road will be rougher; stay tuned for action steps. If you are not familiar with the threat of big-money, partisan campaigns for judges in Minnesota, read JRLC's briefing.

This coming week, March 22-28, is Cover the Uninsured Week
On Monday, the Senate Health, Housing, and Family Security Committee will take up the Minnesota Health Security Act, SF 9 (Lourey) and HF 174 (Thissen). The bill would provide affordable, quality health coverage to all Minnesotans, starting with children.  The bill is important because Minnesota has more than 375,000 uninsured residents, including 80,000 children. The hearing is Monday, March 23 at 12:30 pm, room 15 of the State Capitol. More information on this special week.

Tax Increase Options The Minnesota Budget Project has a nifty chart that shows several revenue-raising options and how much they raise. Both the House and Senate budget propose new, unspecified revenues to help stave off painful cuts. The House plans on $1.5 billion in new tax revenues; the Senate, $2 billion. Legislative leaders are citing the new Tax Incidence Study as a reason to tilt any increase toward a more fair system. (And, yes, we are printing an updated version of the blue tax fairness cards! We should have them very soon.)
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