Human Rights at the State Capitol: Budgets

Budgets. Human rights might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you hear this word, but respecting, protecting, and fulfilling human rights requires financial resources. Budgets are more than financial statements – they’re statements of values and priorities. Budgets that fund activities with a positive impact on the exercise of rights can turn our values into reality.  

Last week, the Minnesota Legislature began to hear details of the Governor’s budget recommendations. For example, the Ways and Means Committee received a high-level overview of the budget recommendations, which highlighted three priorities: 

  1. Supporting small businesses and driving economic recovery; 
  1. Ensuring students catch up on learning; and 
  1. Supporting working families. 

State agencies’ budgets include details on how budgets will affect equity and inclusion. This analysis will be critical as lawmakers wrestle with how to address the devastating and disparate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Take action by watching live or recorded hearings online and contacting your representatives on issues that are important to you. The following schedule highlights some (but not all) of the hearings from this week that related to human rights issues in Minnesota, as well as links to recorded Committee sessions:  

HOUSE –  MONDAY, FEB 1 Committee Name  Relevant Items in Hearing Agenda  Meeting time   Link to recording  
Ways and Means Discussion of the Governor’s budget recommendations 10:30 AM Link 
Workforce and Business Development Governor’s budget recommendations 1:00 PM Link 
Education Policy Committee Discussed Racial Inequities and recommended solutions (i.e., Increase Teachers of Color Act) 1:00 PM Link 
SENATE – MONDAY, FEB 1 Judiciary and Public Safety Finance and Policy Presentation of Office of Legislative Auditor Evaluation Report: Safety in State Correctional Facilities 1:00 PM Link 
HOUSE –  TUESDAY, FEB 2 Early Childhood Finance and Policy Presentation on the Economics of the Early Care and Learning Sector 8:30 AM Link 
Education Finance  Reimagine Minnesota: Equitable and Excellent Education for all MN Students 10:30 AM Link 
Housing Finance and Policy Rent assistance for low-income Minnesotans 10:30 AM Link 
Public Safety and Criminal Justice Reform and Finance Policy Investing in Law Enforcement Excellence and Accountability 1:00 PM Link 
Transportation Finance and Policy I-94 and the Rondo Neighborhood, then and now 1:00 PM Link 
Labor, Industry, Veterans, and Military Affairs Finance and Policy Earned Sick and Safe Time 3:00 PM Link 
Health Finance and Policy  Buying Health Care for Minnesotans on Public Health Care Programs  3:00 PM Link 
SENATE – TUESDAY, FEB 2 Committee on Housing Finance and Policy Overview of Minnesota Housing Finance Agency – Governor’s budget recommendations 1:00 Link 
HOUSE – WEDNESDAY,  FEB 3 Education Finance Increase Teachers of Color Act  10:30 AM Link – part 1 Link – part 2 
Human Services Finance and Policy Governor’s Recommendations for Economic Assistance  10:30 AM Link 
Preventing Homelessness Division Emergency shelters and housing support funding  10:30 AM Link 
SENATE – WEDNESDAY,  FEB 3 Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety Finance MN Sentencing Guidelines  1:00 PM Link  
HOUSE – THURSDAY,  FEB 4 Judiciary Finance and Civil Law Visa certification document, timely processing by certifying entities  8:30 AM Link 
Education Finance Governor’s Budget Presentation 10:30 AM Link  
Human Services Finance and Policy Relating to shelters and emergency services 10:30 AM Link 
Public Safety and Criminal Justice Reform Finance and Policy  Investing in Law Enforcement Excellence and Accountability  1:00 PM Link 
HOUSE –  FRIDAY, FEB 5 Public Safety and Criminal Justice Reform  Investing in Law Enforcement Excellence and Accountability 10:30 AM Link 

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