MN Legislative Session Ends With More To Do

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

The 2020 Minnesota legislative session was significantly interrupted and changed due to the impact of COVID-19. MCF went into the legislative session with a 2020 Annual Advocacy Agenda focused on 1) promoting charitable giving and a strong independent sector, 2) strengthening democratic systems and civic engagement, and 3) bolstering Minnesota's disaster response and recovery system. While the items we were working on at the beginning of the session changed quite a bit as a result of COVID-19, these three areas remained our priorities, with most of the work falling into how the sector and those it serves were impacted by the pandemic.

This session, MCF did a lot of work to try to benefit the nonprofit sector in partnership with several sector allies, including the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits, Greater Twin Cities United Way, Metropolitan Alliance for Connected Communities, and United Ways of Minnesota.  This included collaborating on several joint letters sharing sector priorities as well as some virtual town halls with legislative leaders. Together with these partners, we advocated for expanding access to charitable giving and volunteering incentives, increasing public grant and contract flexibility for nonprofits, addressing the self-insured nonprofit gap, creating a nonprofit recovery fund, and funding housing stability and rental assistance efforts.

As was the case with many legislative priorities this year, there is still advocacy work to do. The end of the legislative session did not include a bonding bill or a tax bill, and most spending that happened during the session was approved as part of early COVID-19 relief packages. This means that most of our priorities did not make it over the finish line. There is an expectation that there will likely be several special sessions this year, including one in June, where more work is anticipated. MCF will continue to advocate for the sector's priorities in the coming week and months. 

This legislative session included a number of bright spots, including funding for priority COVID-19 needs like food insecurity, homelessness, childcare providers, and a safer 2020 election. Other notable legislative achievements include raising the age to buy tobacco to 21 and creating an emergency insulin bank. More work awaits.




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