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Minnesota Victory

Welfare Attacks Beaten Back

by Kim DeFranco |
July 26, 2000
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Welfare Rights Committee presents poor-basher, Representative Goodno with "Meanest Politician of the Year" award. Fight Back! News/Kim Defranco

St. Paul, MN - The MN Welfare Rights Coalition (MN WRC) won a victory at the State Capital in the 2000 legislative session. After packing hearings, protests, and civil disobedience actions, they triumphed in killing one of worst bills. The politicians, mainly Republicans, tried to pass a law that would have forced 100% sanctions on families receiving welfare from the Minnesota Family Investment Plan (MFIP).     

"If this bill had become law, it would have been the biggest attack on welfare since Clinton signed the welfare reform bill into law in 1996. It would have cut families completely off welfare and thrown them into the streets," stated Didi Frances of the Welfare Rights Committee (WRC) in Minneapolis/St. Paul. "We needed to be a force there to show that they can't pass laws that would devastate families."

Other Victories

The MN-WRC won other important victories. They were able to hold off the bill that would have cut $100 from the grants of families who live in any subsidized housing (Public Housing, Section 8) and also receive MFIP. "The MN-WRC has been fighting for the past three years to stop this $100 cut. And every year we have been successful in stopping the cut from going into effect. Politicians just refuse to eliminate it completely," stated Deb Konechne, WRC.

MFIP and General Assistance money for some immigrants were set to stop this summer. The MN-WRC has fought for the past three years for Minnesota to make up any cuts in federal money to immigrants. "This year again, we were successful in pushing Minnesota to continue cash assistance, food stamps, SSI and welfare cuts for immigrants who would be cut from the federal programs for another year," stated Didi Frances.

Keep the Fight Back Going

"A group of voices united in a single cause can make a difference. Members of the People Escaping Poverty Project (PEPP) and students from a nearby college rallied together against Representative Kevin Goodno's proposed 100% sanction bill. Through a flood of e-mails, picketing, phone calls, and letters, we let him know that while he may represent our district, he is not representative of those who live within it. We do not support his efforts to increase sanctions at all," Penny Simiu, Community Organizer of PEPP in Moorhead, Minnesota.

"This just shows that when you speak out and fight against unjust laws, you can win. When we stood together as a people and a coalition, the power of the people was unstoppable!" stated Dolly Cater, Low Income People Organizing for Power, Duluth. "And we will be back next year to continue to fight and demand economic justice for all."

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