Category: Protests

Legislators’ $437 Challenge Press conference – March 5

Legislators’ “$437 Challenge” Press conference
Tuesday, March 5, 2:30 p.m. (press conf. starts at 2:40)
State Capitol Building Room 125

Several legislators have agreed to take the “$437 Challenge!” Please come and show your support! The event won’t last long (busy time for legislators at the capitol), so plan to get there before 2:30 so you don’t miss it!

For one week, they will try to live on the amount of cash that an MFIP family lives on. If the legislators can find a willing family member, those 2 would have about $101 to get by on for the week. If they go solo, that senator or representative would get $51 in cash to live on for a week.

With this amount of cash, they would have to pay rent, mortgage, utility bills, phone, children’s school costs, transportation (bus, gas, insurance, parking), clothes, additional food costs when food stamps run out, hygiene and household supplies, laundry costs, etc.

In trying to persuade legislators to take up the challenge, the Welfare Rights Committee noted that we don’t expect them to lose their housing, indeed we expect that they most likely won’t “succeed” — the aim is to expose how low Minnesota’s welfare grants are, and to report back on their experience.

The cash grants for welfare/MFIP have not been increased for 27 years. A child and caregiver get a maximum of $437 per month. Two children and a parent get a maximum of $532 per month. It is virtually impossible to find family housing for that amount, much less have anything left over the rest of the family’s needs.

Here is a list of who has agreed to take the challenge:

State Senator Patricia Torres Ray

State Senator Chris Eaton

State Senator John Marty

State Representative Karen Clark

State Representative Susan Allen

State Representative Carolyn Laine

State Representative Alice Hausman

Other legislators have declared that they cannot do the challenge, but will show up at Tuesday’s press conference in support.

On Monday, March 4, the bill to increase the grants, SF165, passed the Senate Committee on Health, Human Services and Housing. Tuesday’s “$437 Challenge” press conference is another step forward to undo 27 years of inaction.

Senate Committee hearing on Bill to Raise the Grants Monday, March 4

Monday, March 4 at 12:00 noon: A Hearing on our bill to “Raise the Grants!”

We did it – our bill is getting its first committee hearing. Please try to attend the hearing to show support!

Monday, March 4
12:00 noon
State Capitol Building Room G-15
Senate Committee on Health, Human Services and Housing

Our bill, Senate File 165 will be heard, along with another important bill, SF245, which repeals the “family cap.” Members of the Welfare Rights Committee and our allies will be testifying. 27 years is too long! It’s time to raise the grants!

For more information on about our bill, click here: https://welfarerightsmn.com/2013/02/14/why-we-need-to-raise-the-mfip-grants/

Call for a Hearing! Call legislators Feb. 27 and Feb. 28, 2013

Urgent: Bills to Increase the Welfare Grants in Minnesota Need to Be Heard in Committee!

CALL- IN THIS WEEK. WEDNESDAY February 27th & THURSDAY February 28th.

Welfare Rights Committee has been working hard to get a bill passed through the 2013 Legislative Session. We have had meetings with the Gov’s office, Dept of Human Services and many politicians to stress to them why it is very important to raise the welfare grants this year. We were able to secure authors in the Senate and House and get the bills introduced. NOW we need them to give the bills a hearing in the Health and Human Services Committees. We need the Democrat Leadership to a stand for poor and working families and children. We need to pressure them to support the bills.

1) CALL DFL House Committee Chairs and Request a Hearing on Bill HF433 to increase MFIP (welfare) cash grants for families in poverty

–Representative Tina Leibling (Chair of House Health Human Services Policy Committee) 651-296-0573, rep.tina.liebling@house.mn

–Representative Tom Huntley (Chair of House Health Human Services Finance Cmtee) 651-296-2228, rep.thomas.huntley@house.mn

Sample Message for the House committee chairs:

“I ask you and the DFL to support a significant increase to the MFIP grant in Minnesota and give the bill to increase the grants, HF433, a hearing in your committee in time to meet the deadlines.”

2) CALL DFL Senate Committee Chairs and Request a Hearing on Bill SF165 to increase MFIP (welfare) cash grants for families in poverty

–Senator Kathleen Sheran ( Chair of Senate Health, Human Services and Housing Policy Committee) 651-296-6153 sen.kathy.sheran@senate.mn

–Senator Tony Lourey (Chair of Senate Health Human Services Finance Division) 651-296-0293 sen.tony.lourey@senate.mn

Sample Message for Senate committee chairs:

“I ask you and the DFL to support a significant increase to the MFIP grant in Minnesota and give the bill to increase the grants, SF165, a hearing in your committee in time to meet the deadlines.”

3) At any time, please CALL your legislators and ask them to support and pass the first increase in Minnesota’s MFIP cash grants in 27 years.

To find your Senator and Representative and contact info: http://www.gis.leg.mn/OpenLayers/districts/

Background Info/Talking Points:

  • 100,000 receive welfare (MFIP) cash assistance every month in MN.
  • 70,000 of this number are children.
  • Minnesota’s cash assistance grants put families at 70% below the federal poverty level.
  • This means that 70,000 MN children are living in what is considered EXTREME POVERTY.
  • Even if the grants were doubled, families would still be 30% below the federal poverty level. MFIP Cash Grants have not been increased since 1986- 27 years.
  • The cost of living has more than doubled since 1986.
  • In 2012, only 27% of the federal dollars from TANF block grant given to MN for welfare, actually went to the cash grants.
  • A family of two receives a cash grant of $437 a month. A family of three receives $532 a month.

Actions for week of Jan. 27, 2013

This week: Two days of events at the Capitol to “Raise the Welfare Grants!”

Hi all,
We are plugging away with our effort to substantially increase the welfare grants in the state of Minnesota. We are getting signers on our bill to “Double the Grants” (18 House members have signed on so far), and it will be introduced soon in the House and the Senate. Governor Dayton did not include a grant increase in his budget proposal, so we have to count on the House and the Senate to do the right thing after 27 years without an increase to the welfare grants.
This week, we have 3 public actions. Please read below for more info, and try to attend as many as you can!

1. Wednesday, Jan. 30, 8:30 a.m. – Public Testimony on Gov. Dayton’s budget in the Senate

Senate Health and Human Services Finance Division
State Capitol Building, ++Room changed to 123
Gov. Dayton’s budget did not include a welfare grant increase. Nor did it undo any of the cuts to welfare that families have been suffering under for the past several years. The Senate Health and Human will be taking public testimony on the governor’s budget proposal on Wednesday morning. The Welfare Rights Committee will be testifying. If you are interested in testifying on Governor Dayton’s Health and Human Services budget in the Senate HHS Finance Division, here is what you have to do: “If you would like to testify, please email your name, organization, and the topic area for your testimony to stacie.weeks@senate.mn by 5pm on Tuesday, January 29th.”

2. Wednesday, Jan. 30, 10:00 a.m. – Public Hearing on Gov. Dayton’s budget in the House

House Health and Human Services Finance Committee
State Office Building, Room 200
Please join us to let the Reps know what we think of the Governor’s budget proposal! ++update Jan. 29 – testimony will be next week.

3. Thursday, Jan. 31, 2:45 p.m. -$437 Challenge/Raise the Grants action outside the House Chambers at the Capitol

We will know of any changes to this on Monday night. We’ll let the list know if it changes.
Join us in our final push to get more Representatives to sign on to our bill to “Double the Grants.” Also, we will be asking Reps to take part in our $437 Challenge – seeing who could live on $437 per month. We will hold a press conference at 2:45. As the Representatives enter the chamber, we will give them information and ask them to sign our bill. This is a great opportunity to hold a sign, learn the process and take a stand!

WRC Jan. 8 2013 opening day speech + handout

Our opening day speech is below. Click here for the opening day handout we gave to legislators. For photos, check out our various facebook pages.

We are here, on the opening day of the 2013 legislative session, to say, “Justice for poor and working people! Undo the cuts! Tax the rich! Raise the welfare grants!”

2013 is the year to get justice for our families. Now is the time to undo 27 years of shoving poor families aside. This is the year to demand that the legislators behind these marble walls do the right thing and increase the welfare grants in the state of Minnesota!

Welfare grants have not been increased since 1986 – 27 years ago! In 1986 the monthly cash grant for a family of 2 was…$437. Today, in 2013, the maximum cash grant is still…$437. This is an outrage! The cost of living has more than doubled since 1986, but the poorest of the poor in MN are stuck living 70% below the poverty line. We say, “Double the Welfare Grants!”

In the past 27 years, the richest in this state got billions of dollars in tax breaks, Yet poor and working people have seen cut after cut after cut. In 1986, there was a 1% increase in the welfare grants. It wasn’t enough then, not it’s enough now.

In recent years, the rich got richer through outright theft: By stealing our homes through foreclosure, by driving down wages, by ripping through the veins of mother earth and piping toxins across our land, by busting unions and by killing people in their wars for profit. They imprison our young people and try to steal our right to vote. They steal people’s homes, lands and basic sustenance here and abroad. They try to prosecute us for raising our voices against their crimes.

We are sick of it, and it is time to fight back! We are sick of seeing homeless shelters overflowing. We are sick of seeing children living in poverty. Enough of women being forced in with abusers. No more to families doubled and tripled up in tiny apartments. Stop stomping on parents who are struggling every minute of every day to survive. Quit putting out sisters, brothers, mothers, fathers, friends and families through this abuse!

We are glad that the Republicans were defeated in the 2012 elections. But that doesn’t mean our battles will be easy. We know who calls the shots behind these capitol walls – and they are paid big bucks to keep the people down. Some say we shouldn’t push the Democrats – that we should only beg for the leftover crumbs. We say, “Hell no!”

We were there when politicians from both parties stole the federal funds that were meant for poor Minnesota families. They stole poor people’s money and used it replace state funding for other programs. If that stolen money – the TANF money – went to the families in need, it would almost double the grants.

We call on all of you to join our fight. It will go on day after day, week after week, and month after month. Tell this governor and this legislature to listen to the people for a change.

We refuse to let the rich and politicians who do their bidding to beat us down! We are standing up today for justice! The Welfare Rights Committee has been at the capitol on every opening day since 1993, and we will keep coming back. We all have to keep coming back until these politicians stop listening to the paid lobbyists of the 1% and start listening to what real people and real families need.

Holiday Call-in to Gov. Dayton Dec. 18 – 20, 2012

Call-in to Governor Dayton for the holidays: Raise the welfare grants!

Tuesday, Dec. 18th thru Thursday Dec. 20th

Flood Dayton’s Phone Lines: 651-201-3400

Tell Governor Dayton that poor Minnesotans deserve more – It is time to Raise the Welfare Grants! 26 years is too long!

Sample text: “I am asking Governor Dayton to stand with families in poverty and take the lead on raising the monthly welfare assistance grants. I want Governor Dayton to put a significant grant increase in his budget proposal for the 2013 legislative session.

Welfare grants to support families with children have not been increased in Minnesota for the past 26 years! The last grant increase was in 1986.

The state has the money for a grant increase. In 2011, only 28% of the TANF( Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) block grant that is given to the state for welfare actually went directly as cash grants to the parents and children in need.”

Background Info:

The assistance grant for a family of 2:

In 1986 = $437 a month

In 2012 = $437 a month

If the grants were adjusted to the cost of living they would be double the amount. The current grant level keeps families over 60% below the federal poverty level and means homelessness, hunger and destitution for children and their parents. The past decade of state budget deficits have been taken out on poor and working people with billions in cuts to Health and Human Services, while the richest have not paid a dime!

Opening Day Protest – January 8, 2013

Opening Day Protest at the capitol
Tuesday, January 8, 2013
11:30 until 1:00
MN State Capitol – Front steps & Rotunda

Gather at 11:30 to greet the legislators on their way in. Rally starts around noon
January 8, 2013 is the day the MN politicians start back at the the capitol. Lets be they arrive to tell them…

Raise the Welfare Grants!
No More Cuts!
Tax the Rich!

Click here to see the opening day flier

thumbnail of Jan 8 flier

Filer for Opening Day Rally

Call Governor Dayton: Raise the Welfare Grants! Oct 17-19, 2012

Call-In to Governor Dayton: Raise the Welfare Grants!
651-201-3400
Wednesday October 17th through Friday, Oct 19th

Flood Dayton’s Phone Lines!
651-201-3400
Tell Governor Dayton it is time to Raise the Welfare Grants! 26 years is too long!

Click here for Facebook event.

We are asking Governor Dayton to stand with families in poverty and take the lead on raising the monthly welfare assistance grants. Ask Governor Dayton to put a grant increase in his budget proposal for the 2013 legislative session.

Welfare grants to support families with children have not been increased in Minnesota for the past 26 years! The last grant increase was in 1986.

The state has the money for a grant increase. In 2011, only 28% of the TANF( Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) block grant that is given to the state for welfare actually went directly as cash grants to the parents and children in need.

Background Info:
The assistance grant for a family of 2:
In 1986 = $437 a month
In 2012 = $437 a month

If the grants were adjusted to the cost of living they would be double the amount.
The past decade of state budget deficits have been taken out on poor and working people with billions in cuts to Health and Human Services, while the richest have not paid a dime!