On Tuesday, March 10, Sisters Elise Saggau and Clara Stang and associates Bea Britz, Greg Spofford and I attended the Joint Religious Legislative Coalition’s (JRLC) Day on the Hill. This is an annual event in which members of Minnesota’s Christian, Jewish and Muslim faiths join together to advocate for social justice issues.
Our first request to Representative Ron Kresha was for his support for the “Restore the Vote” bill. Currently, people convicted of a felony must complete all parole and probationary periods before they are again entitled to vote. The proposed legislation would immediately restore the vote for those convicted of a serious crime once they have completed their jail or prison sentence. Ron quickly responded that he is in agreement and had already signed-on to that bill. We also asked for his support for increasing child care assistance for the working poor. He indicated that his support for this measure would depend on how it meshed with his efforts to enroll more youth in early childhood education.
In our visit with Senator Paul Gazelka, our request was for increased funding for services to victims of human trafficking. The senator indicated he believes this is an important issue, and he will look closely at this bill. He also seemed supportive of efforts to increase child care assistance if it would allow more welfare recipients to work. He did voice his opposition to the “Restore the Vote” bill.
Both legislators were cordial and listened attentively to us. Except as noted, neither promised to support the requested legislation, but both said they would look carefully at these issues when bills came before them.