By Eleanore Jones
Spring Valley, MN
Speakers Bishop James Conley of Lincoln, Nebr., spoke on how we must build a culture of life and love. Our state needs us. He said three things were needed:
1. Success of democracy depends on leaders like you. They say that our faith should stay out of the public square. Our founding fathers believed that we are needed there.
2. Catholics do not have a Political Party. We can’t be comfortable in either party. Our mission is to be faithful to Jesus Christ and His Church. Our country is divided and hostile.
3. Trust in God’s providential plan even if we do not see results. Success is measured by fidelity not results. God has called me to be a link in His chain. He is calling us to be faithful citizens in this life. We need the action of the lay faithful not idols of success. We need to trust in God’s fundamental plan.
Gloria Purvis Scott is a frequent face on the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) and the Chairperson for Black Catholics United for Life. Most importantly she said that she is a wife and mother. She stated that truth is timeless. She said that the government tried to make the Little Sisters of the Poor give in but they would not. When a sister was asked, “What’s the plan if you lose? Do you have a plan B?” Her response was, “I do not believe God will abandon us.”
We spoke to the legislators on Expanding Educational Opportunity. Opportunity scholarship tax credits (HF 386 [Kresha] / SF 256 [Chamberlain]). This bill creates tax credits for individuals and organizations that donate to scholarship granting organizations. Low and middle income students (up to $89,000 for a family of four) are eligible to receive those scholarships. The bill also creates a refundable tax credit for low income families (household income of less than $53,000) to apply toward private school tuition expenses. Public and private schools are not competitors, but partners. This is a civil rights issue.
Another issue we covered was Fostering Family Economic Stability. Boost Minnesota family investment program assistance (HF 1603 [Pierson] / SF 806 [Hayden]). Remove MFIP marriage penalty (HF 1453 [Hamilton] / SF 1165 [Benson]). The Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP) cash grant increase (HF 1603 / SF 806) will increase by $100 the monthly cash assistance available to families in poverty (currently capped at $532 per month for a family of three). The MFIP cash grant has not increased since 1986. Removing the marriage penalty (HF 1453/SF 1165) will create an 18-month transition period after a couple marries before their MFIP benefits cease (normally, the new combined household income would make them ineligible). Upon amendment, removing this penalty will apply to all married households with a combined income under 275% of the federal poverty guideline, which is $66,825 for a family of four. We have a budget surplus and we need to care for the vulnerable and poor.
We brought to their attention Protecting Life and Advancing Care. Do not vote for Legalized Assisted Suicide (HF 1885 [Freiberg] / SF 1572 [Eaton]). It was previously called “Minnesota Compassionate Care Act” and is now called “End of Life Options Act.” We asked them to vote for Palliative Care Advisory Committee (HF 345 [Zerwas] / SF 112 [Housley]). Legislation has been introduced to legalize assisted suicide. The legislation lacks sufficient safeguards that could allow for elder abuse and harm to vulnerable persons. It also undermines the practice of medicine and creates economic incentives that could endanger those with disabilities and anyone who needs costly treatments. Instead, Minnesota should be embracing policies that advance care, such as the Palliative Care Advisory Committee (HF 345 / SF 112), (Symptoms Management Care), which would convene people knowledgeable in palliative care, including patients, to advise the full Legislature about ways palliative care access and delivery can be improved in our state. We should walk with people, not send them on their way. Think about it, anyone who is suicidal gets help.
There was someone in attendance from every legislative district in the state.