Legislative Update 2017

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BILL INTRODUCED!

A bipartisan voting restoration bill was recently introduced in the Minnesota House –

Representatives Dehn, R.; Hertaus; Zerwas; McDonald; Moran; Omar; Maye Quade; Mariani; Cornish; Lee; Allen; Flanagan and Freiberg introduced:

  1. H.F 951, A bill for an act relating to public safety; restoring the civil right to vote to an individual upon release from incarceration or upon sentencing if no incarceration is imposed. The bill was read for the first time and referred to the Committee on Public Safety and Security Policy and Finance.

 

NEXT MEETING

The Next Coalition meeting will be Friday, February 24 from 9:30 to 11:00 at Lutheran Church of the Redeemer 285 Dale St. N St. Paul.

 

NEW FACT SHEET

Here is a new Fact Sheet with the list of RTV members on the second page. We will be using this as a handout for legislators.

MINNEAPOLIS SOUTH HIGH DOCUMENTARY

Minneapolis South High School students did a fantastic job creating a documentary on felony disenfranchisement for one of their classes. It features RTV advocates Mark Haase, Rob Stewart, Sarah Walker, and Jason Sole. Please share with your networks. Here is the link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pq0LqQe5jK0

SECOND CHANCE DAY ON THE HILL RE-CAP

Last Thursday, Feb. 9, the Minnesota Second Chance Coalition held a rally in the  Capitol Rotunda and had over 40 meetings between constituents and legislators to discuss supporting people with criminals records, including allowing them to vote once released from incarceration.

Watch, learn & share

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We need to restore voting rights to the 47,000 Minnesotans living in our community who are ineligible to vote due to a felony conviction. Once the criminal justice system has determined that a person should be allowed to live in our community, there is no good reason they should not be allowed to have a voice in our democracy. Civic engagement should be encouraged, not prosecuted. Watch this video, share it with your friends and take action today! http://www.congressweb.com/CCJ/12

Action Alert: Support Restore the Vote

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Restore the Vote is once again before Minnesota state lawmakers.  Last year, the legislation was passed by the Senate before ultimately stalling in the House.  Restore the Vote will re-enfranchise approximately 47,000 people who are currently ineligible to vote, because of a felony conviction, even though they live and work in our communities.  Current policy, which this bill would change, unnecessarily and excessively discourages positive civic participation, perpetuates racial injustice, and adds cost and complications to voting.  The policy should be changed so that, like in many other states, once an individual is living in the community, they are eligible to vote.

Once the criminal justice system has determined that a person should be allowed to live in our community, there is no good reason they should not be allowed to have a voice in our democracy. Civic engagement should be encouraged, not prosecuted. Restore the Vote is supported by more than 70 Minnesota organizations from many different perspectives, including public safety organizations like the MN County Attorneys Association and MN Corrections Association; governmental bodies like the Association of Minnesota Counties; civil liberty, advocacy, and service organizations; and statewide groups representing every major faith perspective.

It is critically important that we raise awareness about Restore the Vote.  Please call and/or email your state legislators to urge them to support this legislation!

Click here to send a pre-drafted email to your Senator and State Representative.

Precinct Caucus 2016

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Attention voting rights restoration supporters! If you would like to help us grow support for voting rights restoration, then you should introduce a resolution at your precinct caucus on Tuesday, March 1st. Find your caucus location here.

Voting Restoration Caucus Resolution 2016

Hear Amber’s story – it’s time to restore the vote

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Minnesotans like Amber have been waiting far too long to get their right to vote back. Listen to Amber’s story about, hear what it was like to not be able to vote for so long. Do you have a story to share? Contact: contact@restorethevotemn.org

This video was produced by the League of Women Voters.

Support For Voting Rights Restoration Grows In Minnesota

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 10, 2015

Contact:  Jana Kooren, jkooren@aclu-mn.org, 651-485-5925 c or Sarah Walker, 612.220.2070, sarah@hillcapitolstrategies.com

St. Paul, Minn. – Recent professionally-conducted polling in Minnesota shows statewide support for voting rights restoration. A recent poll found that 46% of Minnesotans believe that individuals living in the community and paying taxes should be eligible to vote, even if they are still on probation or parole for a felony conviction, versus 44% who believe they should not.

Public Policy Polling, a professional non-partisan opinion research firm, asked the following question to 1015 registered voters in August 2015:

Do you strongly agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree or strongly disagree with the following statement: Minnesota should adopt a policy that 20 other states use and allow those convicted of felonies to vote once they leave prison or jail.

Strongly agree 22%
Somewhat agree 24%
Somewhat disagree 18%
Strongly disagree 26%
Not sure 10%

41% of respondents identified themselves as conservative, and 33% as liberal: Very liberal 13%;  Somewhat liberal 20%; Moderate 26%; Somewhat conservative 25%; Very conservative 16%

“Disenfranchising American citizens has always been a bad thing – politically and morally – throughout our nation’s history. Liberty Minnesota is proud to support the effort to empower Minnesotans and give them a voice in their government,” stated Karl Eggers of Liberty Minnesota.

The Restore the Vote Coalition is working to restore voting rights to over 47,000 Minnesota citizens who live in the community but are unable to vote due to a felony conviction. Current Minnesota policy prohibits individuals from voting until they have finished all terms of their sentence, including probation, parole or conditional release.

Restoring voting rights to fellow Minnesotans who live in the community and pay taxes is supported by people across the ideological spectrum,” stated Jason Adkins, Executive Director of the Minnesota Catholic Conference. “Our coalition has had thousands of conversations with Minnesotans across the state who believe that allowing all Minnesota citizens who live in the community to vote would make our communities stronger, more engaged and more just. Polling only tell us so much based on a very short question. Once people understand the issue better and how it impacts Minnesotans and their families, we are finding that a strong majority support this change.”

The Restore the Vote Coalition, is made up of 72 organizations from across the state including, public safety organizations, governmental bodies, advocacy organizations and faith based groups.

The history and impact of felony disenfranchisement

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The University of Minnesota Law Review recently published an article on the history and impact of felony disenfranchisement in Minnesota by Mark Haase, a private attorney who represents the Council on Crime and Justice, a member of Restore the Vote MN.

Here is a summary:

Minnesota has retained essentially the same disenfranchisement law adopted upon gaining statehood in 1857. However, since that time, Minnesota’s criminal justice system has undergone massive changes, especially in its expansion in scope—resulting in one of the highest rates of correctional control in the country, and therefore one of the highest rates of felony disenfranchisement in the country and by far in the region. A cost-benefit analysis reveals that there are no tangible benefits to Minnesota’s current disenfranchisement policy, that its costs are high, and that there are tangible benefits to reform. The policy provides no public safety benefit, may even reduce public safety, perpetuates racial disparities, confuses elections, and unnecessarily expends government resources. These negative policy impacts weighed against little to no benefit, combined with changes in criminal justice politics and recent national events, may provide a ripe time for reforming this outdated policy.

Read the complete law review article.