Advocacy Update – November 2019

STATE ADVOCACY UPDATE FORM

This form is to be used as a template for state public policy office updates each month.

Guidelines:  Describe advocacy actions taken, events attended/hosted, issues you are working on. For spacing and consistency reasons, we encourage you to avoid bullet points, but encourage you to divide your policy issues into separate paragraphs. Make sure to indicate if there is any information you provide which you would NOT like to have made public (on our blog). When you complete this form, please send to washingtonoffice@elca.org.

 

STATE: Minnesota (Tammy Walhof ) DATE: Dec/3/2019
UPDATE:
Immigration/Migrant Monday Replaced

As new executive orders continue to appear, immigration remains a key issue to people contacting Lutheran Advocacy-MN. LA-MN’s director, Tammy, made two presentations in November on immigration/asylum at the southern border. Despite the interest, weekly Migrant Monday postings on Facebook will be replaced by Monday or Tuesday postings about clean energy and climate change, and Thursday postings about affordable housing in preparation for the upcoming session.

Climate Bonding Proposals:
With Minnesota Environmental Partnership (MEP), LA-MN is considering principles for evaluating bonding projects based on how they impact harmful emissions to the atmosphere as legislation in the 2020 session. Those should be available soon for you to promote with your legislators.

The MEP Energy Cluster is also evaluating specific bonding proposals. Out of 25 possible options for the upcoming session, Lutheran Advocacy-MN hopes to focus on just a couple that help Minnesota transition to clean energy and fewer carbon emissions (possibly proposals related to making solar energy available for schools, improving solar accessibility to Minnesotans generally, or something related to agriculture/land use/cover crops).

Clean Energy & Carbon Pricing:
Clean Energy proposals are the most basic step to major cuts of carbon emissions. Unfortunately, by itself, clean energy doesn’t do enough – much more needs to be done (quickly) as devastating impacts of climate change are occurring more rapidly than scientists predicted.

Lutheran Advocacy-MN (including many of you) has been working for various proposals that would achieve

a)      50% renewable electric energy by 2030,
b)      100% renewable energy by 2050, or
c)       a carbon-neutral Minnesota by 2050.

Minnesota surpassed its 25% renewable threshold two years ago, and each of the last three years Xcel Energy has committed to larger proportions of renewable energy and dramatically reduced carbon emissions. However, Minnesota’s full legislature hasn’t passed legislation that 1) pulls other utilities into doing more, 2) addresses sources of emissions beyond the electricity sector, or 3) offers pathways to employment for people transitioning from jobs in industries related to fossil fuels.

 Nationwide, many organizations, climate scientists, politicians (Democrat & Republican) and others are calling for a price or tax on carbon emissions (conservatives usually prefer “carbon pricing” language). In November, Tammy was engaged in events and conversations about the shape those proposals might take in Minnesota. She’s gleaned a checklist of criteria for proposals. It will be posted for your perusal and feedback. In addition, within a few days a new talking points guide should be on the website for Christmas cards to, or meetings with, legislators in December.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP):

Thanks to those everyone who submitted comments to the USDA proposed rule change. Whether you commented this most recent time, or one of the other times in 2019 the administration proposed changes (while setting the comment period at minimum allowed), your help to prevent cuts to SNAP which would result in millions of seniors, children, disabled, and other people being eliminated from the program is GREATLY appreciated!