Joint Religious Legislative Coalition's 2021 Legislative Agenda
COVID-19 Relief – Housing Assistance Program
Many individuals are also facing huge challenges as a result of the pandemic. The current housing assistance expires at the end of December. The JRLC will advocate for a continuation of current housing relief – current provisions provide for payments to be made directly to a landlord, bank, credit union or utility company.
Driver’s License Suspension/Fines
Fees and fines from traffic violations strip assets from low-income communities. Tacked-on surcharges drive up the cost of a basic traffic ticket to well over $100 – a hardship for many families. We support legislation stopping the practice of driver’s license suspension for nonpayment alone and granting courts authority to waive, reduce or substitute community service for any traffic fines.
Child Care Assistance
The Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) helps low- and moderate-income families with child care costs so they can work or go to school. It is the state’s largest program serving infants and toddlers. Minnesota needs to work to increase the reimbursement rates for providers (which have dropped significantly over the last seven years) and to fund the program adequately to eliminate the current waiting list of families.
Tiny House Legislation
The JRLC supports exploring numerous options to address the homeless crisis in our state. Minnesota law does not currently allow tiny houses as permanent housing unless they have running water with a bathroom and kitchen. Some faith communities want to create small tiny house housing communities with shared bathroom and kitchen facilities, with each unit having a compostable toilet. We support a very limited change in Minnesota law to allow places of worship or non-profits to build a tiny house community.
Maternal Mortality and Morbidity/Access to Medicaid Data
Low income women and women of color are significantly more likely to die during or after childbirth. JRLC supports expanded efforts to identify women who had serious medical complications or died as a result of childbirth, and allow a broader review of prenatal care in order to improve outcomes. In addition, we support allowing the Department of Health to review Medical Assistance data on maternal mortality and morbidity in order to improve the quality of care for these mothers.
Hate and bias crimes have no place in our state. We support laws to protect victims and provide support to law enforcement. Our Board will be reviewing specific bills as they are introduced to determine whether to support and if so, the level of support.
Housing – Bonding for Emergency Shelter
Across Minnesota, the need for emergency shelter is far greater than supply. The JRLC supports bonding to fund emergency shelter in our state.
Advocate against cuts to safety net programs
As policy makers make difficult budget decisions, it is important that those programs serving our most vulnerable Minnesotans are protected. Programs like Medical Assistance (Medicaid), MinnesotaCare and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) are vital to low-income Minnesotans.
Fighting Gambling expansion
The JRLC opposes expansion of lawful gambling, whether legalizing sports gambling, daily fantasy sports or online gambling.