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Duluth News Tribune: With debt paid, Minnesota felons be allowed to vote to give them stake in society

Daris Nordby, shown near Duluth’s CHUM homeless shelter, has had a difficult year: He left his girlfriend, lost his job, and doesn’t have anywhere to live. But, he says, “By the grace and power of God, I stayed sober through it all.” (Bob King / rking@duluthnews.com)

Daris Nordby, shown near Duluth’s CHUM homeless shelter, has had a difficult year: He left his girlfriend, lost his job, and doesn’t have anywhere to live. But, he says, “By the grace and power of God, I stayed sober through it all.” (Bob King / rking@duluthnews.com)

(by Chuck Frederick)
May 4, 2015

Daris Nordby’s life has been filled with mistakes, and if he’s due any credit at all, it can be for his willingness to own up to them and take responsibility. His first felony conviction, for possession of methamphetamine, came at age 16. His first of 890 days behind bars came in 2010 after he threatened a guy while under the influence of meth. Another felony followed after a domestic dispute and a regrettable push to the neck, again while on meth.

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News Release (USCCB): USCCB President Comments on Supreme Court’s Oral Arguments on Marriage

WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 28, 2015)—The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments April 28, on the constitutionality of states defining and recognizing marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

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News Release (USCCB): Faith Leaders Reaffirm Commitment to Marriage and Religious Liberty

WASHINGTON D.C. (April 23, 2015)—A few days before the U.S. Supreme Court hears oral arguments on the rights of states to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman, more than 30 religious leaders representing diverse faith communities throughout the United States have reaffirmed their shared commitment to marriage and religious freedom. An open letter entitled “The Defense of Marriage and the Right of Religious Freedom: Reaffirming a Shared Witness” was issued to all in positions of public service on April 23.

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Catholic Spirit: Washing our hands of religious liberty

(by Jason Adkins)
April 9, 2015

The debate over the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act has brought us clarity. If you have wondered to what extent some advocates for “tolerance” will “tolerate” genuine pluralism of opinion about the nature of marriage, gender and human sexuality, you have your answer: very little.

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Catholic Spirit: Inside a week at the Minnesota Capitol

(by Jason Adkins)

March 26, 2015

Minnesota Catholic Conference staff is often asked to describe a typical day at the office. Though every day is different, we are blessed that it is only the rare occasion on which MCC’s policy team spends the whole day behind a desk. This is how it should be, because public policy advocacy requires an entrepreneurial spirit and lots of relationship building —which is not much different from the dynamics of those who work in sales.

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MPR Capitol View: Time running out on felon voting bill

Jason Adkins of the Minnesota Catholic Conference urged Minnesota House leaders to take action this session on a bill to restore the voting rights of felons. Tim Pugmire / MPR News

Jason Adkins of the Minnesota Catholic Conference urged Minnesota House leaders to take action this session on a bill to restore the voting rights of felons. Tim Pugmire / MPR News

(by Tim Pugmire)
March 18, 2015

A coalition of groups working to restore the voting rights of convicted felons is growing concerned about the prospect of passing a bill this session.

Legislation allowing felons to vote once they’re out of jail, rather than waiting until they’re off probation, is poised for a floor vote in the Minnesota Senate. But it does not yet have a scheduled hearing in the House. The committee deadline is Friday.

During a news conference Wednesday, Jason Adkins, executive director of the Minnesota Catholic Conference said the bill enjoys broad bipartisan support.

“All we’re looking for is to move this bill forward in the House,” Adkins said. “There’s very little legislative opposition. We need to meet committee deadlines soon, and we’re asking House leaders and the House of Representatives to move this bill forward this year and pass this legislation.”

The Restore the Vote Coalition estimates there are 47,000 Minnesotans who live in the community but are unable to vote due to a felony conviction.

Demetria Carter said she recently served 79 days in adult detention but cannot vote until her probation ends in 10 years.

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Catholic Spirit: Driver’s license bill chance to progress immigration discussion

(by Jason Adkins)
March 12, 2015

Imagine St. Joseph, struggling in Egypt to support his family as they awaited a time to return home. Or, think of the daily trials the Holy Family faced as they fled the dangers in their homeland. These are problems that many migrants confront on a daily basis as they try to make their way in a new land.

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Catholic Spirit: Affordable housing, education choice included in bishops’ discussions with lawmakers

BishopsCapitol

Archbishop John Nienstedt talks with St. Ambrose of Woodbury parishioner and State Rep. Kelly Fenton, R-Woodbury, in her office at the State Office Building March 5. All of the bishops in Minnesota came for the day at the Capitol annual event, coordinated by the Minnesota Catholic Conference. Dave Hrbacek/The Catholic Spirit

(by Maria Wiering)
March 6, 2015

Bishops from each of Minnesota’s six dioceses met with Gov. Mark Dayton and state lawmakers March 5 to discuss legislation on a range of issues, from immigration and education to poverty relief and commercial gestational surrogacy.

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The Visitor: State’s Catholic bishops highlight policy priorities in meetings with governor, legislators

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Bishop Donald Kettler walks with fellow Minnesota bishops as the visit legislators in St. Paul March 5.

(by Joe Towalski)
March 6, 2015

For Bishop Donald Kettler and the other Catholic bishops of Minnesota, spending a “day on the hill” March 5 with Gov. Mark Dayton and state lawmakers was an important opportunity to talk about the church’s public policy priorities, exchange ideas and look for common ground on key issues.

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Catholic Spirit: Affordable housing in interest of common good

(by Ben Jones)
February 25, 2015

This year, the Minnesota Catholic Conference has joined other organizations in supporting the Homes for All agenda currently before the Minnesota Legislature.

The Homes for All proposal invests $39 million to address a spectrum of housing needs, such as developing more affordable housing, providing services to prevent homelessness and making available rental assistance to low income families.

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