May 17, 2013
MN Dream Act will become law
What a great day for Minnesota!
Today, Minnesota Legislature passed the Mn Dream Act! Governor Mark Dayton is expected to sign it anytime now. We want to thank everyone who made calls, sent emails, spent time at the Capitol. This truly is a huge victory for Minnesota! Special thanks to bill sponsors Senator Sandy Pappas and Representative Carlos Mariani, Governor Mark Dayton, all Senators and Representatives who voted for it, and all other public supporters who made this a reality.
(May 17, 2013) Right after vote in the Senate. Members of the community with Senators Carla Nelson (R-Rochester), Patricia Torres-Ray (D-Minneapolis), & Melisa Franzen (D-Edina).
The MN Dream Act will:
- Allow students to pay in-state tuition rates at public colleges and universities if they meet certain requirements, regardless of their immigration status.
- Make state higher education aid available to all students who meet residency requirements, regardless of immigration status.
- Allow public institutions (MnSCU and the University of Minnesota) to use private funding as financial aid for all students, regardless of immigration status.
- Create a MN financial aid application specifically for these Minnesota students that delinks the Federal and state financial aids.
If you have questions, email Annie Levenson-Falk firstname.lastname@example.org or Juve Meza email@example.com.
Posted by juventino at 7:15 PM
May 16, 2013
"Financing the Future" in Edina
The Citizens League is proud to announce that we're teaming up again with the City of Edina to host three "Financing the Future" budget sessions to help residents determine priorities for the city's 2014-2015 budget.
"Having conversations with residents is an important part of the City's budget process and provides the City Council with insight about the community's priorities. These events are meant to be a fun, interactive opportunity for residents to weigh in on the future of our community," said City Manager Scott Neal.
Citizens League staff have worked with Edina officials to craft budget workshops based on the Citizens League's innovative Common Cents community conversations, which give Minnesotans a voice in the state's recent tax and budget debate by asking them to prioritize and value state taxes and government services.
The purpose of the Edina budget workshops will be to give residents an opportunity to learn about the city's budget while providing feedback on topics such as financing capital improvement needs and economic development support for private business. Each event will be paired with an activity that highlights city services.
The sessions are:
- June 11 - Edina Bingo: 2-4 p.m. in the Fireside Room of the Edina Senior Center, 5280 Grandview Square. Play bingo and earn prizes while providing input.
- June 13 - Wine Tasting: 6-8 p.m. in the Valliere Room at Braemar Golf Course, 6364 John Harris Drive. Residents 21+ can sample wines available at Edina Liquor.
- June 19 - Family-Friendly Night: 6-8 p.m. at the Edina Senior Center in the Fireside and Grandview rooms. Bring the family to explore Parks & Recreation activities.
Residents unable to participate are encouraged to share their views by commenting at www.SpeakUpEdina.org, sending an email to mail@EdinaMN.gov, or writing to City Hall at 4801 W. 50th St. Edina, MN 55424.
The workshops are rooted in the Citizens League's civic policy making approach, which believes that all people and organizations affected by a problem or policy decision must be involved in defining and addressing the issue in order to achieve solutions that advance the common good.
More information on the events is available from the city by contacting Assistant City Manager Karen Kurt at 952-826-0415.
May 15, 2013
Prosperity Act included in Higher Ed omnibus budget bill
Today, the Higher Education Conference Committee unanimously amended SF723 (MN Prosperity/Dream Act) into the Higher Education Omnibus bill! The Omnibus bill now heads to the Senate and House Floors for a vote. Governor Mark Dayton is expected to sign the bill once it passes.
The Senate and House votes are the last step for the Prosperity Act to become law when the Governor signs the Higher Education Omnibus bill.
Here is a list of public supporters.
Here's (pdf) a letter we sent to legislators earlier in support of the MN Prosperity/Dream Act.
Minnesota Journal contest: New definitions of leadership
Our Spring Minnesota Journal will be headed to print soon, and we're astonished by the response we got to our first-ever Journal writing contest!
So we've decided to start another submission contest for this next edition. The theme of our next edition is New definitions of leadership: Making change in an era of diffuse power - and we'd like to hear what you think about the subject.
Just write a Journal article (800 words or more), email it to Journal editor Larry Schumacher at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll include the best ones in the summer edition of the Journal, with you as the published author.
Submissions are due by June 7, and should include a one-paragraph bio and a high-resolution head-shot photo of yourself. Graphics (photo illustrations, charts, or otherwise) are also welcome.
Don't want to write a full essay? We'll take tweets, questions, paragraphs or even point us to something published elsewhere that we can use in the Journal. Just use the #MNJournal hashtag on Twitter or let us know that it's for this contest when you send it to us.
More info available by reading our Prospective writers guidelines (pdf).
May 9, 2013
Civic Policy Making for Family Prosperity included in HHS bill
Exciting news out of the Legislature! The omnibus Health and Human Services finance bill (pdf) being worked up in conference committee includes language enabling us to launch a Family Prosperity Demonstration (formerly Family Independence Demonstration) later this year!
This is a key part of the next phase of our Pathways to Prosperity project, which seeks to establish an approach to poverty reduction that supports prosperity rather than reacting to poverty.
The language in the bill (on Pages 146 & 147 of SF 1034, second engrossment) directs the commissioners of the Department of Human Services and the Minnesota Housing Finance Authority not to count conditional cash transfers as earnings or assets for public assistance programs.
This legislation also serves a broader purpose. By defining conditional cash transfers in statute and proposing a new approach to public assistance policy that the Citizens League will report to the Legislature on in 2016, we have provided one stepping stone for the larger effort in Minnesota and the nation to support asset development in low-income communities.
If approved, groups of families will learn to develop their own community networks to increase their financial stability, rather than use all their capacity in navigating the current welfare system in order to prove their neediness. They will be supported with small cash payments (conditional cash transfers) and will not be penalized for developing this new approach to public assistance policy in Minnesota.
We want to thank Rep. Laurie Halverson (DFL-Eagan) and Sen. Greg Clausen (DFL-Apple Valley) for sponsoring this bill and committee chairs Sen. Tony Lourey (DFL-Kerrick) and Rep. Thomas Huntley (DFL-Duluth) for their support.
We also want to thank Ron Elwood from the Legal Services Advocacy Project, who has connected our work to the larger asset-building movement in Minnesota and provided vital assistance.
We'd also like to thank the Islamic Civic Society of America for their leadership and partnership in establishing the Family Prosperity Civic Organizing Agency that will govern the Family Prosperity Demonstrations.
Now, let's get the bill passed and get to work!