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PRESS RELEASE from the Senate DFL Caucus
Committee to Review Bills Barred from Senate Hearings
Sen. Little to Chair; Sen. Franzen, Vice Chair;
St. Paul, MN –
“These bills could save many lives and tax dollars,” Sen. Little (DFL-Lakeville) previewed, “But they haven’t been given a single senate hearing. Our democracy isn’t supposed to work this way- it’s the worst kind of partisanship.” The fictitious ‘Senate Committee on Banned Bills’ will hold a very real hearing on April 1stat 9:00am in 1100 Minnesota Senate Building to review a variety of legislation that have been refused committee hearings in the senate. This committee hearing will be open to the public and people are encouraged to attend.
“These bills have huge public support and are common sense ideas,” Sen. Little continued, “They’ve been banned for completely crass partisan reasons; because they are targeting certain seats, and don’t want to give certain people any achievements to campaign with. But the senate can’t make good decisions if major options aren’t even on the table. Partisan games like this are rigging our democracy, and blocking bills that voters really want.”
The Senate Committee on Banned Bills (COBB) is slated to review the proposed bills, take testimony from citizens and expert witnesses, and debate the merits of each policy. A wide array of bills will be introduced during the hearing, including legislation dealing with paid family medical leave, gun safety, and the health care provider tax [agenda and complete list of members and bills below].
Until late yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka had declared that he would “do everything in his power” to prevent new gun legislation. Early this morning the Star Tribune reported that Leader Gazelka had changed position and agreed to allow a hearing on certain gun safety measures if the house passed the same bills first.
“I am encouraged by Sen. Gazelka’s apparent willingness to hear my background check and red flag bills,” Sen. Latz (DFL-St. Louis Park) commented, “But his announcement comes only two days before the committee deadline. As of yet, these hearings have not been scheduled, so this April first hearing will make sure that the views of the majority of Minnesotans are heard in the Senate.”
“Reforms like universal background checks are supported by over 87% of all Minnesota gun owners,” Sen. Latz noted, “These issues deserve to be heard in the senate.”
For other senators, their motivations center around key issues, such as restoring the rights of felons after they have completed their sentences. “Restoring voting rights after people have done their time just makes sense,” Sen. Champion (DFL-Minneapolis) explained, “How can you expect people to feel they have a chance in life if we keep them on the outside forever? Restoring their right to vote isn’t enough, but it’s an important step toward making them a productive, whole person again, after they’re released. That would be life changing for thousands of people.”
For Sen. Susan Kent (DFL-Woodbury), Paid Family and Medical Leave is a test of Minnesota’s moral compass, “Whether we assist or abandon families during a medical crisis says a lot about who we are as a society. Forcing people to choose between a day’s pay or caring for a dying parent is a moral failure for Minnesota. The public is overwhelmingly behind paid family and medical leave. And many businesses want it because they can’t provide paid leave if their competitors don’t have to provide it too. If businesses and families want paid medical leave, why won’t the senate even give this bill a hearing? It’s a disgrace.”
All the senate members of the Committee on Banned Bills share the view that the normal democratic process requires hearings on all major options. “We are not talking about small, obscure, radical bills here,” Sen. Franzen (DFL-Edina) noted, “These are consensus policies on major issues. These proposals deserve a hearing, and most importantly, the citizens who have poured their energy into these bills deserve to be heard.”
The fate of these bills will be uncertain even after the Committee on Banned Bills hears them. “We hope this hearing puts pressure on committee chairs to hear these bills,” Sen. Little noted, “But either way, we want voters to know about these crucial issues so they can make up their own minds. We can’t let crass partisanship prevent voters from learning about key issues.”
Sen. Little believes advocates for these issues have been left with no alternative, “If the committee chairs won’t do the right thing, then we have to. They’ve left millions of Minnesotans with no voice and no hope on some of the biggest issues facing families today.”
Senate Committee on Banned Bills Agenda for Monday, April 1:
Senator Matt Little represents Senate District 58, which covers Lakeville, Farmington, a small slice of Northfield and more than a dozen townships and small communities including Empire, Vermillion, New Trier and Douglas.
Learn more about Sen. Little.
This has been a banner month for the federal Equal Rights Amendment: 18 more House members have signed on to H.J.Res.38 to remove the deadline on the federal ERA, bringing the total number of supporters to 174.
Also, since the February introduction, two more Senators signed on to S.J.Res 6, the companion bill. In the Senate, what’s extraordinary about S.J.Res.6 is that two of its co-sponsors, Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) & Susan Collins (R-ME) are Republicans, thus cutting from 4 to 2 the number of Republicans who still need to be persuaded to support the measure if all 45 Senate Democrats and 2 Senate Independents vote to pass it. All this has occurred though it's still early days in the new Congress, and the big push to garner co-authors in the Senate has not even begun yet.
Since the US House has a good majority of Democrats, and Democrats have supported the ERA for the past 75 years, H.J.Res.38 is bound to pass. And the chair of the US House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, Congressman Jerry Nadler, has promised a hearing in the US House soon where it will be passed and sent to the floor. That will enable Speaker Pelosi to bring the “DELETE THE DEADLINE” Resolution to the House Floor for passage, where it will pass.
As in Minnesota for the state ERA, the US Senate is the bottleneck; but if just 2 more Republican members sponsor it and the US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell allows it through (that’s a BIG IF), then the deadline can be removed and the federal ERA ratified.
Please call members of the MN Delegation not yet on the House or Senate bill and ask that they sign on to S.J.Res.38 & H.J.Res.6. Thank you!
Smith (202) 224-5641
Klobuchar (202) 224-3244
Phillips (202) 225-2871
Hagedorn (202) 225-2472
Stauber (202) 225-6211
Emmer (202) 225-2331
Peterson (202) 225-2165
ERA Minnesota (ERA MN) is asking people throughout Minnesota to create short videos to help spread the word on social media why they support the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA).
Whenever ERA MN talks to people around Minnesota, whether it’s up on the Range, down in southern Minnesota, or in the Twin Cities they tell us how much they want to live in a state that embraces gender equality.
ERA MN has been advocating for legislation at the State Capital that would put the amendment on the ballot in 2020, providing Minnesotans with a chance to vote on whether or not they want a state that embraces equality.
The amendment would add “Equality under the law shall not be abridged or denied on account of gender” to Minnesota’s Constitution.
The video project is a way for everyday Minnesotans to tell each other why the amendment matters to them and that equality should be a core value for all Minnesotans.
Making an Impact for Equality
ERA MN is asking people to create short 30 to 60 second videos featuring themselves or people they know talking about why the ERA matters to them.
People should post their videos on their favorite social media channels using the hashtags #ERAmn & #14WordsForEquality. ERA MN will share the best user videos across the organization's social media and website (www.ERAmn.org).
A few ideas ERA MN is trying to emphasize are:
If you’re not sure what to say in a longer video, or just like being on camera, get a group of friends together and record a short video using one of the blurbs below:
Tips for Great Videos
Here are a few tips for making a great video:
Here are a few filming tips:
In addition to asking people to create their own videos, ERA Minnesota is producing some longer videos featuring Minnesotan’s from all walks of life talking about why the ERA matters to them. Like the one of Trista M - below. Those videos can be seen on the organization’s YouTube channel. Select videos will also be on our ERA YES Video page.
Questions about the project should be directed to Heather Allison.
Blog post by Mark Hinds
ERA video of Trista MatasCastilla on why the ERA is important to her.
Next Friday, March 8th, ERA Minnesota announces our celebration of International Women’s Day #IWD2019 by hosting the 3rd Annual ERA Rally at the Minnesota Capitol Rotunda. The event will feature Governor Tim Walz and Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan along with top legislative leaders and ERA supporters, to spotlight the urgent need for an Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) in our state and federal constitutions.
Legislative leaders and thousands of activists from across the state are pushing to pass two initiatives currently in the Minnesota House & Senate: HF13 (Kunesh-Podein)/SF200 (Cohen) - a Minnesota ERA to the state constitution providing for gender equality under the law and proposing a constitutional amendment that will be added to the ballot in the 2020 general election for voters to decide; and HF71 (Moran)/SF208 (Pappas) - a resolution memorializing Congress to remove the words “June 30th 1982” that comprised the deadline imposed on the ERA federal legislation so the ERA it can be added to the U.S. Constitution when ratified by the last state.
The Minnesota House is poised to pass both bills in the coming week. All attention and energies will then pivot to the Minnesota Senate to give the bills full and fair hearings to pass the ERA.
WHAT: ERA Lobby Day & Rally at the Capitol
WHEN: Friday, March 8th, 9:00 am - 12:00 pm, Rally at 10:00 AM
(Lobby your senator before and after the Rally)
WHERE: Minnesota State Capitol Rotunda
HOSTED BY: ERA Minnesota
ERA Bill Numbers: HF13/SF200; and HF71/SF208.
ERA Minnesota (ERAMN) is a coalition of individuals and organizations working to secure an Equal Rights Amendment to the State and Federal Constitutions.