A hand up — not a handout — is the goal of a new law that supporters hope will help fight poverty in Minnesota.
Effective May 20, 2010, it establishes a “Ladder Out of Poverty Task Force” to help Minnesotans who are struggling economically. The task force will make recommendations on policies that would increase Minnesotans’ financial literacy, reduce predatory lending practices and encourage the accumulation of personal wealth.
Rep. Morrie Lanning (R-Moorhead) and Sen. Michael Jungbauer (R-East Bethel) sponsor the law, which will leverage the Family Assets for Independence in Minnesota program. FAIM helps Minnesotans gain financial self-sufficiency through education and matched savings incentive programs. It is run by local community action partnerships.
The idea for the task force stems from the key findings of the Legislative Commission to End Poverty in Minnesota by 2020’s final report, which is available online. The commission, of which Lanning and Jungbauer were members, studied poverty in the state for more than a year and a half beginning in 2007.
The task force will comprise four senators, four House members, three Commerce Department appointees and the attorney general or their appointee. Task force members are directed to consult with a wide range of interests ranging from financial institutions to community groups in developing their recommendations.
Appointments and designations are to be completed by Aug. 15, 2010. The task force will sunset on June 1, 2012, and must provide its recommendations to the Legislature by that date.
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