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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Mary Kunesh-Podein (DFL)

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Legislative Update - June 27, 2018

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Dear Neighbors,

As June wanes down, I can’t believe that the 4th of July is just a week away! As a community and nation we will be celebrating Independence Day, marking the adoption of the Declaration of Independence by the Continental Congress in 1776, thus the birth of the United States of America. 

Our ancestors came to this country in pursuit of unalienable rights endowed equally to all — life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The steady stream of new immigrants are looking for those same opportunities to this day. Policies coming from our nation's capital cause me grave concern when officials so freely disregard the Constitution and the rights it proclaims and protects on so many levels.

My children’s father is an immigrant from the war-torn country of Lebanon. The years I spent immersed in the immigrant community are a priceless experience and guide me in the decision-making process as your state legislator. The United States provided peace and opportunity for James and his family and I am proud to be a part of his immigrant experience. That’s why, I am in full agreement with Governor Dayton’s statement,  “I am appalled, although not surprised, by the US Supreme Court's decision to uphold President Trump's travel ban that targets countries with predominantly Muslim citizenry. “  

Below is my and the POCI lawmakers’ joint statement on Supreme Court’s 5-4 travel ban decision:

“We’re extremely disappointed at the Supreme Court’s ruling which has, in effect, sanctioned President Trump’s policy of discrimination based purely on the religious beliefs of others. Whether for those seeking refuge in the United States who are fleeing conflict, genocide, famine, or those simply seeking a better opportunity, this policy has brought untold pain and today’s decision means it will continue to do so. Rather than furthering our country’s already deep divisions based on race, religion, and origin, leaders at all levels – from President Trump on down – must open their minds and hearts to refugees and their contributions to our communities.

“We’re confident that generations from now, history will look upon this action with deep regret and shame. Today though, we’re committed to renewing our fight to move our state and country in a direction of inclusivity, acceptance, and justice.”

The People of Color & Indigenous (POCI) Caucus formed in 2017 and includes Reps. Mary Kunesh-Podein (41B), Jamie Becker-Finn (42B), Peggy Flanagan (46A), Erin Maye Quade (57A), Fue Lee (59A), Ilhan Omar (60B), Susan Allen (62B), Rena Moran (65A), and Carlos Mariani (65B).

Stopping Families from Forced Separation
Tuesday morning I joined policymakers and local faith-based communities and advocates together at the Capitol in solidarity for immigrant families. I am deeply concerned about and oppose the ongoing separation of families at the U.S. – Mexico border. More than 2,000 children have been separated from their parents in recent weeks and placed in government-contracted shelters — hundreds of miles away, in some cases. We must resolve this humanitarian crisis or we will turn our backs on the values we hold.

New laws take effect July 1, 2018
The House and Senate Republican Majorities decided to put most of the proposals we worked on this year, good and bad, into one big spending bill. While there was a lot of legislation everyone supported, Republicans included proposals that Governor Dayton strongly objected to. The results of an attempt to strong arm the Governor into a take it or leave it situation is that there are just a handful of new laws that take effect July 1, 2018. Among the topics addressed are: athletic trainers, claims against the state and tweaks to a development fund. To read more click here.

Thank you to all who joined Senator Laine and me for a post-legislative chat. It is always so enlightening to hear from our community.

I wish you and your families a safe Independence Day week; safe travels to you all and don’t forget those who struggle to achieve “the American Dream.”

As always, please contact me if you have any questions or if I can offer some assistance. It is a pleasure to serve you and our community at the Capitol.



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