Tag Archives: bills

Creating tolerance and understanding of Islam in Minnesota

Recently, the Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans has witnessed “anti-Sharia” legislation introduced in several states that are a threat to religious freedom in the United States. In Minnesota, Senate File 2281, which was aimed at targeting Sharia Law, was recently introduced, then withdrawn during the 2012 MN Legislative Session.

In response to such legislation, Lori Saroya. President of the Council on American-Islamic Relations Minnesota has stated, “Across the nation, similar anti-religious freedom bills are being used by Islamophobic extremists to demonize Islam and marginalize American Muslims.”  Overall, these recent developments signify the need to build more awareness around the topic of Shariah Law.

SF 2281, and bills like it, represents a fear and misunderstanding of Shariah Law and Islam that has been prevalent across America. A mind captured by fear often times resorts to committing injustice through blind assumptions. To tackle this problem, it is crucial to research some basic facts about Shariah Law for maintaining tolerance and for meaningful discussions on this issue. For a quick overview, Qasim Rashid has an article on the Huffington Post titled, “Shariah Law: The Five Things Every Non-Muslim (and Muslim) Should Know.”

Later this week, there will be a public forum to openly discuss Shariah Law:

“Shariah Law: Myths & Facts” by Odeh Muhawesh


Ridgedale Regional Center, Robert H. Rohlf Room

12601 Ridgedale Dr., Minnetonka, MN 55305


Saturday April 21, 2012 12:00-3:15pm

Free and open to public,*RSVP requested*

Sponsor: Islamic Media, 612-216-2478,,

Sharia Law Q and A

 Prayers on the Prairie showing on April 26th!

Prayers on the Prairie: Muslim in Minnesota

Men praying at Al Rahman Muslim Community Center.

Photo by Alex Nok Phasy

It is estimated that 150,000 Minnesotans are Muslim, yet their religious traditions are little understood by the mainstream. Join us over lunch for a brief introduction to Islam, background on the Prayers on the Prairie: Asian-Pacific Minnesotan Religious Practices project, and conversation about what it means to be Muslim in Minnesota.

When:  Thursday, April 26, 2012 from Noon.-1:15 p.m.

Where:  Minnesota Humanities Center, 987 Ivy Avenue East, St. Paul (map)

Intended Audience: Everyone welcome!

Cost:  $15

For information on the speaker Zafar Siddiqui and to learn more about this Lunch and Learn event, please visit our website.

Register online!

This event is part of the Lunch and Learn programming that amplifies collaborative work with partners. Each presentation features a leader from the community who engages participants in learning and discussion around this collaborative humanities work over the lunch hour.

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Posted by on April 16, 2012 in Community news, Press Release


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2012 Legislative Session update

An update on legislative bills and movement, so far. The 2012 legislative session is expected to end by mid to late April. To view more information about these bills, visit our 2012 legislative agenda page:


HF 645 and SF 947 – Collaborative grant program to reduce minority populations unemployment and appropriation.

CAPM’s position: Support

Status: Last heard in 2011, this bill did not make any movement in 2012. The bills are not expected to pass in 2012.


HF 1953 – Prohibits bullying and retaliation against bullying in public schools

CAPM’s position: Neutral

Status: CAPM was informed that the language in the bill may have unintentional and undesirable consequences on how bullying is treated in schools. We await the governor’s bullying taskforce’s recommendation as they conduct hearing and discussions on how best to protect all students from harassment and bullying in school.


HF 1907 / SF 1556 - Restores the 20% wage cut for family members providing PCA services.

CAPM’s position: Support

Status: see below…


HF 1888 / SF 1672 – Restores cuts to Emergency Medical Assistance for non-citizens.

CAPM’s position: Support

Status: see below….

The Senate passed the Omnibus Health and Human Services Bill (HF 2294) sponsored by Sen. David Hann (R-Eden Prairie) on Thursday afternoon. The legislation includes $22 million in new spending as a result of an announcement by Governor Dayton this week that health plans would repay $73 million to the government due to a cap on Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) profits. The bill partially restores the Emergency Medical Assistance program, temporarily restores pay for personal care attendants (PCAs) who attend to relatives, and provides dialysis and cancer treatments for non-citizens. The House companion bill was passed on March 29. The bills will eventually go to a conference committee to sort out any differences. Sen. Hann said Thursday that the bill won’t be perfect for everyone but it’s his intention to produce a bill with broad support from the Legislature that the Governor will sign into law.

CAPM will keep an eye on things for the HHS bill.

State Government

HF 2555 / SF 2304 –Sunset advisory commission sunset review changes implementation, administrative procedures and fees modification and appropriation

CAPM’s position: Support

Status: Both bills have been active during the 2012 session and we are cautiously optimistic about the passage of the bills.

Constitutional Amendment

Voter ID – Constitutional amendment to require Minnesotans to show a valid photo ID in order to vote.

CAPM’s position: Oppose

Status: The last step to put the question on the Election Day ballot came April 4, when the Minnesota Senate approved legislation passed earlier by the House.

Voters will be asked:

“Shall the Minnesota Constitution be amended to require all voters to present valid photo identification to vote and to require the state to provide free identification to eligible voters, effective July 1, 2013?”

Expect a voter education campaign from organizations on both sides of the issue this summer and fall.

To learn more, MPR has a voter ID primer at:

The Voter ID amendment proposal joins the marriage amendment proposal this November on the ballot.

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Posted by on April 9, 2012 in Legislative


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Legislation of interest, an update (Education, welfare reform, veterans bills..)

Education Funding

HF 2480 (Winkler) / SF 2029 (Sieben)
Corporate tax provisions and school shift requirements modifications

Named “Pay Back Our Kids Act,” read more in a Star Tribune article “DFLers call for payback of money borrowed from schools”

Jobs and workforce training

HF 2277 (Mahoney) / SF 1768 (Skoe)
New jobs tax credit established, corporate franchise and sales and use taxes changes made, and money appropriated.

This legislation would provide a one-time $3,000 tax credit to any Minnesota business for each veteran, unemployed worker or recent college graduate hired during the 2012 calendar year, and a $1,500 credit for each new hire through June 2013.

HF 2181 (Brynaert)  / SF1751 (Eaton)
FastTRAC adult career pathway program establishment and appropriation

Welfare Reform

SF 1833 (Benson) / HF 2080 (Daudt)
Minnesota family imvestment program (MFIP) ineligibility, sanctions, time limit, and exit level modifications

The above bills were among a series of welfare reforms proposed in February that met with strong opposition from low-income advocacy groups. Read more in the article: ‘Welfare Reform 2.0’ moves ahead, but met with anger at Legislature


HF 2261 (Dettmer)
Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery burial eligibility expanded to include deceased allied Hmong-American or Lao-American veterans of the American Secret War in Laos.

HF 2260 (Dettmer)
Congress and the President of the United States memorialized to amend federal veterans cemetery law to expand eligibility for burial in state veterans cemeteries developed with federal funding to include allied Hmong-American and Lao-American veterans of America’s Secret War in Laos.

HF 2629 (Anderson, B.)
Resolution; Congress and the President of the United States memorialized to formally recognize the Khmer Freedom Fighters.

Read more about this bill in the article: Resolution would affirm Khmer soldiers

Click the “Read the rest of this entry” link to view previously mentioned legislation of interest (from Feb. 7th, 2012)

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Posted by on March 6, 2012 in Legislative


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Asian American Center for Advancing Justice acts on federal and state immigration policies

Asian American Groups Express Deep Concern and Opposition to Secure Communities

Secure Communities (S-Comm) is an Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) program that automatically forwards all fingerprints taken by local police to ICE for civil immigration background checks at the point of arrest.

Asian American Center for Advancing Justice has criticized S-Comm for being an indiscriminate mass deportation program, rather than one that is focused on identifying and deporting individuals with serious criminal convictions. 74 percent of those deported as a result of S-Comm either did not have any criminal convictions or have convictions for the lowest level offenses, including misdemeanors and minor traffic offenses.

Stewart Kwoh of the Asian Pacific American Legal Center states, “S-Comm has caused much harm to the Asian American and Pacific Islander community. Many AAPI immigrants come from countries with a history of government corruption, which makes it difficult for these community members to come forward and trust law enforcement. S-Comm compounds this problem by adding potential immigration consequences to contact with local law enforcement.”

Titi Liu of the Asian Law Caucus noted, “S-Comm is fundamentally flawed because it burdens and entangles local police with immigrant enforcement, thereby driving a wedge between immigrant community members and local police. This in turn compromises public safety for all community members.”

read more on Asian American Press…


AAJC Applauds the Obama Administration for Taking Positive Steps Towards Fairer Immigration Policies

Last week the Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Utah’s immigration law HB 496, which is similar to Arizona’s SB 1070 law. DOJ previously sued Arizona challenging SB 1070 and recently brought similar suits against copycat laws in Alabama and South Carolina.

SB 1070-type laws aim to criminalize undocumented immigrants and impermissibly authorizes local police to enforce federal immigration laws, which frequently leads to racial and ethnic profiling of all immigrants or persons who appear foreign.

read more on Asian American Press…


Asian American Groups Urge Supreme Court to Hold That Legal Permanent Residents Should Not Be Retroactively Subjected to Harsh New Legal Consequences

Members of the Asian American Center for Advancing Justice have joined an amicus curiae brief in Vartelas v. Holder. The brief urges the U.S. Supreme Court to hold that the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA), which seeks to remove a legal permanent resident’s (LPR) right to make “innocent, casual and brief” trips abroad without fear that he will be denied reentry, does not apply retroactively.

“Retroactive application renders long-time LPR’s unable to take short trips abroad to fulfill important family and religious obligations, including caring for dying parents and attending funerals. They also risk being subject to detention and deportation,” said Stewart Kwoh of the Asian Pacific American Legal Center.

read more on Asian American Press…


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Posted by on December 12, 2011 in Legislative, National news


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When it comes to jobs, Minnesota must embrace the future

Press Release: April 21, 2011

For Immediate Release Contact: Ilean Her, 651-757-1740

To view the PDF version of this PR, click here.

(St. Paul, MN). This week Governor Mark Dayton starts his job creation tour of Minnesota. People tell me in my role as Executive Director for the State Council on Asian-Pacific Minnesotans that Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) are not doing so bad in this economy as evidence by our unemployment rate. Everyone it seems is focused on job creation and ending unemployment. And since our number is so low, we’ve got nothing to worry about right? Wrong. I do not want to be the harbinger of more bad news, but AAPIs do indeed share the pain in this bad economy, and in some areas, suffer disproportionately.

While it is true that the unemployment rate of Asian Americans and Pacific Islander (7.7 percent) is lower than that of whites (8.1 percent) and the national average (9.1 percent) this is not and should not be the only measure of economic health (Footnote 1).

In the recent report, Diversity and Change: Asian American and Pacific Islander Workers, Center for Economic & Policy Research, July 2011, researchers made the following findings about the health and well-being of the AAPI worker:

Many AAPI workers face high unemployment (even in good times), experience working poverty, have problems obtaining health insurance, and struggle with disabilities and language difficulties that impede upward mobility.

  • In the second quarter of 2010, Asian Americans had the highest long-term unemployment rate of America’s major racial and ethnic groups.
  • Over half (51.7%) of unemployed Asian Americans had been unemployed for more than six months, and almost 4-in-10 (39%) had been unemployed for more than a year.
  • The employment rate for AAPIs is consistently higher than it is for blacks and Latinos, but consistently lower than it is for whites. All four groups suffered steep declines in employment between 2007 and 2010. In 2007, the employment rate for AAPIs was 70.8 percent; by 2010, it had fallen almost 5 percentage points, to 66.1 percent. (footnote 4) Read the rest of this entry »
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Posted by on September 3, 2011 in CAPM news, Legislative, Press Release


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repost from The Advocates for Human Rights, Human Rights of All Minnesotans

The following post is a repost from a newsletter from The Advocates for Human Rights, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting and protecting human rights.


Hot Topic: 2011 Legislative Session Threatens Respect for Human Rights of All Minnesotans

 By Michele Garnett McKenzie, The Advocates for Human Rights

Immigration Enforcement: An array of anti-immigrant legislation was introduced during Minnesota’s 2011 legislative session. Bills to designate English as Minnesota’s official language, outlaw community policing policies designed to protect crime victims and witnesses, and create new document fraud crimes were heard. Collaborative advocacy helped defeat all but one: contractors with the State of Minnesota must certify that they have taken steps to implement the federal E-Verify program for all newly hired employees (See State Government Finance Bill, H.F. 27/S.F. 12).

An eleventh-hour proposal to mandate Minnesota’s participation in the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) “Secure Communities” program was vetoed and kept out of the public safety bill signed by the governor. This controversial program, which runs fingerprints of people arrested against federal immigration databases, has come under fire from participating jurisdictions around the country and currently is the subject of an investigation by the Department of Homeland Security’s Inspector General. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on August 10, 2011 in Community news, Legislative


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The K-12 Education Bill: How it will affect Parents, Teachers and Schools

                The K-12 Education had undergone several changes in the past few months. The final version of it was signed by Governor Dayton on July 20th. Changes in some of policies will affect students, teachers and schools in areas, such as, assessment and funding.

This summary was written by Christina Wong, CAPM education policy intern.

Changes Affecting Parents and Families


Students who receive their high school diplomas early can get up to $7,500 in college scholarships and a cash grant award for those who enter military service. There will also be a scholarship program that helps low-income families pay for public or private preschool.

“Full-Service” School Zones

“Full-service” school zones will be created that will allow a number of provider to reach kids and families at the school level with everything from health care to job-seeking assistance.

Click “read more” to view changes to schools and teachers. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on August 8, 2011 in Community news, Legislative


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Concerns about Education and Health and Human Services Legislative Cuts

Click here for the full brief on health legislation

CAPM is concerned about cuts affecting Mental Health Care, Refugee and Immigrant Access to Health Care, and care for the Elderly, Disabled, and Low-income

  • Mental health remains to be a top concern of the Asian Pacific Islander American (APIA) community, especially with high levels of depression, suicide, and PTSD.
  • CAPM is troubled by accounts of refugees arriving in the US with no support or introduction on how to secure basic needs such as housing, school enrollment for children, etc. Elimination of health care coverage could exacerbate refugee population’s ability to reclaim security and independence in their lives.
  • CAPM is concerned that many of these cuts would negatively impact APIA individuals and families with elderly, disabled, and/or low-income statuses. The loss of health care and safety net programs could create more educational and economic barriers, especially for families with children.

Click here for the full brief on education legislation

  • CAPM is concerned that cuts to integration revenue, compensatory aid, special education, and adult basic education would negatively impact communities needing the most educational support
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Posted by on April 12, 2011 in CAPM news, Legislative


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CAPM and Council on Black Minnesotans opposed to integration cuts

school Photographer koratmember

photo credits to koratmember

Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans and Council on Black Minnesotans are opposed to integration and compensatory funding cuts in House Education Finance Omnibus bill.

On March 30, 2011, 2:30 AM, the MN House passed the Omnibus Education Bill, which eliminates the rule requiring integrated schools in Minnesota, cuts integration funding for Minneapolis, St. Paul and Duluth, and freezes special education and Adult Basic Education funding. As an example of the impact of these cuts, Minneapolis Public Schools alone would lose about $17 million or $480 per student from integration funding cuts.

Families, students, and community leaders are deeply concerned about the shifting of funds from metro area schools with high levels of poverty to other parts of the state. The integration funding and compensatory aid funds are currently used to eliminate segregation in our schools and to close the educational achievement gap. The Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans and Council on Black Minnesotans maintain that the proposed cuts and freezes fundamentally undermine Minnesota’s efforts to reduce our state’s achievement gap and to promote educational equity.

While we recognize that funding in education is limited and needs more accountability and effective use, we maintain that the proposed cuts and freezes in education funding is not the answer. These cuts and freezes would disproportionately impact metro area schools whose populations are largely made up students of color and low-income students. These drastic cuts and freezes should not be made at the expense of our children and their future.

View the Letter from CAPM and CBM opposing integration cuts

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Posted by on April 8, 2011 in CAPM news, Legislative


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