Our Executive Director, Anne Krisnik, was on KFAI’s "Truth to Tell" on June 6th, 2016.  She, along with Senator Patricia Torres Ray from District 63 and Sarah Walker of the Second Chance coalition explored the ups and downs of this past legislative session.

JRLC's 2016 Legislative Goals have been approved by the respective Boards of Directors of the Islamic Center of Minnesota, the Minnesota Catholic Conference, the Minnesota Council of Churches, and the Jewish Community Relations Council. These goals will guide our lobbying efforts in the 2016 legislative session. You can access a PDF of this document here.

Family Economic Security

  • Child Care Assistance for More Families
    About 5,000 eligible Minnesota families are on waiting lists to receive child care assistance because the state’s appropriation is capped and insufficient. We support increased funding for the Child Care Assistance Program to support working parents and to provide greater employment options for families. Access to stable, quality child care means more children in economically stressed households can spend their earliest years in stable, nurturing environments where they learn, thrive, and prepare for success in school. Expanding child care assistance is one of the key recommendations of the Final Report of the Legislative Commission to End Poverty in Minnesota by 2020. (See JRLC’s, No Poor Among You, 2010.)
  • Expand Child and Dependent Care Tax Credits
    We support tax credits that allow families to care for their children and loved ones while maintaining financial self-sufficiency. Expanding refundable, family-friendly tax credits can lift families out of poverty, reward work, make regressive tax burdens less onerous, and improve families’ ability to secure caregiving services. (See JRLC’s No Poor Among You, 2010.)
  • Improve the Minnesota Family Investment Plan (MFIP)
    The basic grant level for MFIP families has not been increased for 30 years and is relied upon by over 60,000 children for their housing, diapers, school supplies, and other non-food necessities. Minnesota receives an annual federal block grant (TANF) to help fund our family welfare-to-work program, but we have tapped into this grant during lean years to replace state-funded programs. Now that Minnesota’s economy and state tax receipts have improved we have the ability to once again focus our TANF resources on our MFIP participants, 60% of whom are children. We should at least ensure that the transitional grant lifts families out of deep poverty. JRLC also supports legislation to allow disabled parents to access child care services for their children during hours needed for treatment or therapeutic services. Child care eligibility is not currently allowed for MFIP child-only cases when the parent is disabled. (See JRLC’s No Poor Among You, 2010.)
  • Payday Lending Reform
    We support legislation that protects consumers from predatory payday lending practices. Current law includes loopholes that allow much of the payday loan industry to bypass regulations on these small, short-term loans. Basic consumer protections and underwriting standards are missing, very often resulting in repeat-cycle “debt trap” lending. It is not unusual to see borrowers paying fees and interest that amount to 400%, or even higher, for many months or whole years. JRLC will negotiate in good faith with lenders and other stakeholders to provide consumer protection in this area. (See JRLC’s Payday Lending in Minnesota, 2013.)

Gun Violence Prevention and Public Safety

The solution to everyday gun violence is complex, and will require deep social change and shifts in our attitudes about conflict, violence, despair, peacemaking, justice, and regard for human life. Still, effective gun laws are also part of the solution. JRLC joins with law enforcement and public health professionals to close the loophole for unlicensed gun sales and require background checks for all firearm purchases and transfers. (Final approval pending for JRLC’s Gun Violence and Public Safety, 2015.)

Human Trafficking Victims’ Services

JRLC supports funding for services that address the needs of trafficking victims including case management, housing, health care, language interpretation, and legal services. Especially needed are safe housing opportunities to ensure the safety and recovery of victims. The Safe Harbors appropriation is about two-thirds of what is needed to fund a statewide network of victim services; increased appropriations are needed to build the network statewide. (See JRLC’s Human Trafficking in Minnesota: A Violation of Human Dignity, 2012.)

Restore the Vote

JRLC supports the restoration of voting rights for persons with felony convictions upon return to the community with the goal of successfully reintegrating people who have committed felonies and other crimes into society through engaged citizenship. Current law restores voting rights only after all probation and parole periods are completed. (See JRLC’s Felon Voting Rights, 2008.)