By Tina Rucci, Advocacy Manager
The 2022 Legislative Session officially ended on Monday, May 23, and while the House and Senate were unable to come to agreement on final Health and Human Services, Education, Housing or bonding bills, there is still a possibility that they will reconvene for a special session to finish their work.
Thank you to everyone who took action and advocated alongside us! Your voices were heard, and we made important strides in increasing awareness of and gaining bipartisan support for our 2022 Policy & Advocacy Agenda. Learn more about what your advocacy helped make happen this session.
2022 Legislative Wins
The Benefits Cliff
A top issue raised by our nonprofit partners, we made significant progress toward increasing awareness of the benefits cliff at the legislature. We increased grassroots advocacy and engagement by lifting parent and family voices through strategic nonprofit partnerships. Our SVP of Community Impact, Acooa Ellis, co-authored an op-ed in the Pioneer Press about the importance of addressing benefits cliff.
Our efforts resulted in legislation to expand income reporting to a six-month period for the Minnesota Family Investment Program, and we introduced a bill that provides 12-month continuous Medical Assistance eligibility for enrollees under the age of 21, which gained bipartisan support in the House and Senate.
Early Child Care and Education
Together with our partners, we advanced policies that support a strong early childhood education and care sector by funding early learning scholarships, strengthening the Child Care Assistance Program, funding provider stabilization grants, and supporting voluntary home visiting.
We co-hosted the Early Childhood Legislative Briefing with our partners at the Start Early Funders Coalition to discuss policy solutions to strengthen the early care sector. We also hosted the Advocacy for Children Day Rally, as a call to action for legislators approaching end of session decision-making.
To help advance housing stability in Minnesota, our staff testified on the importance of investing in bonding to increase the construction and preservation of affordable housing. We co-sponsored Homeless Day on the Hill with Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless and also participated in a TwitterStorm with Homes for All to increase momentum on bonding.
Additional Agenda Priorities
Additional United Way legislative priorities were included in end of session negotiations, including expanding the income threshold for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which passed in the Health and Human Services policy-only bill. Pre-eviction notice and record expungement reforms were included in the Housing omnibus bill.
Additionally, this legislative session, United Way fostered new partnerships and expanded our advocacy network by 15 percent! Thank you for advocating alongside us this session. We also created an Advocacy Toolkit where advocates can find resources on how to engage in our advocacy work.
We are ready to continue advancing these provisions if the legislature is called back for a special session. Until then, we will begin preparing to engage our nonprofit partners in the development of our 2023 Policy & Advocacy Agenda.
Through our unique position in the community, United Way leads and influences the implementation of policies and funding that support immediate needs and drive systemic change. We look forward to continuing to grow and engage with our advocacy network as we advance policies that help all people thrive, regardless of income, race or place.