JRLC 2023 LEGISLATIVE AGENDA
The ideas below reflect the JRLC’s focus on Poverty where we can be most effective and provide our unique perspective where our faith communities can come together and have an impact. We use the following tiers to focus our limited resources: JRLC Leads –we are leading the effort; JRLC in Coalition –we are active in the effort as members of a coalition; JRLC Support – we support without significant capacity contributed.
Sacred Communities/Tiny House Legislation – JRLC leads
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 communities with shared bathroom and kitchen facilities, with each unit having a compostable toilet. The JRLC supports a very limited change in Minnesota law to allow places of worship or non-profits to allow these sacred communities.
Addressing Gambling Expansion – JRLC leads
As advocates for gambling expansion push to create easy access to sports betting, daily fantasy sports and other online gambling, the JRLC supports limits on access to online gambling and adequate support for those dealing with gambling addiction and their families.
Maternal Mortality and Morbidity- JRLC leads
Low-income women and women of color are significantly more likely to die during or within one year after childbirth for causes related to pregnancy or delivery. Minnesota has a committee that reviews all cases of maternal mortality to identify ways to improve care. The JRLC discovered that in many cases, the investigators at the Department of Health do not have access to Medicaid (and in some cases insurance) data that would allow them to review the prenatal medical
history and care provided to these women. It is impossible to address these disparities and make recommendations for improved care without this data. We will be leading an effort to make this important information available to the Department of Health. We also will be looking at action to include data on maternal morbidity (serious health event but mother survives, such as a seizure or excessive bleeding) that would also assist in providing quality care.
Early Childhood Poverty/Early Childhood Development– JRLC in Coalition
The JRLC supports funding for high-quality, parent-focused education programs, targeting children from birth to five years of age. According to Art Rolnick, former director of research at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, children who complete these programs "are much less likely to be retained in the first grade, much less likely to need special education, much more likely to be literate by the third grade, much more likely to complete high school, get a good job, raise a family and much less likely to commit a crime." A successful policy approach would focus on those children who are at greatest need (about 35,000), engage both parents and children, and provide parents with the flexibility to choose either faith-based, public or non-profit programs that meet high quality standards.
Child Care Assistance - JRLC in Coalition
The Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) helps low- and moderate-income families with childcare costs so they can work or go to school. It is the state’s largest program serving infants and toddlers. Minnesota needs to increase the reimbursement rates for providers and to fund the program adequately to eliminate the current waiting list of 700 families. Minnesota is currently out of compliance with federal requirements regarding reimbursement rates.
Emergency Shelter and Affordable Housing– JRLC in Coalition
80 of Minnesota’s 87 counties lack necessary emergency shelter beds. The need continues to rise. JRLC supports significant bonding to create emergency shelter.
Across Minnesota, communities need more affordable housing. 20% of Minnesota rental households are severely cost-burdened, spending 50% or more of their household income for housing. JRLC advocates for a substantial investment in affordable housing as part of our bonding bill, and through other revenue streams.
JRLC will continue to monitor and actively explore options for potential JRLC advocacy in 2023 that will engage our base towards our Strategic Plan goals and will consider:
· If there is a gap in leadership that JRLC could fill
· The interest of our sponsoring organizations (meets our values)
· The ability for the issue to engage our base
· The new Executive Director’s skillset