MAPE hosts first-ever virtual Days on the Hill
Adapting to the evolving world of Zoom meetings and virtual get togethers, MAPE recently hosted two agency-specific Days on the Hill. The events featured public safety agencies and another featured members from the Department of Human Services (DHS), Department of Health (MDH) and MNsure.
Nearly 50 members attended the DHS/MDH/MNsure Day on the Hill with nearly a dozen legislators on March 15. Legislative requests included equitable partnerships, safe staffing for Direct Care and Treatment and fully funded programming/agencies.
Prior to meeting with legislators, MAPE members gathered to learn more about the legislative process, budget basics and social media. A power analysis helped build momentum going into the meeting with state reps and senators.
After the event, members were asked to contact their own legislators and share the importance of their work and ask for legislator support of their agency and their job. Legislators in attendance were grateful to hear real-life examples of the work state employees do every day to keep Minnesota running, especially as we transition from COVID response to recovery.
More than 20 members from the Department of Corrections (DOC), Department of Public Safety (DPS) and Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) participated in the second Day on the Hill on Mar. 24.
Legislators heard how the agencies are interconnected and are in need of sufficient resources to keep Minnesotans and their communities secure. The pandemic did not make safety issues go away in DOC. A report by the Office of the Legislative Auditor noted that persistent staffing shortages at State correctional facilities have threatened the safety and security of staff and people who are incarcerated.
One of the State’s priorities is reducing the prison population. Members said they generally supported this priority but warned it will place greater strain on probation and parole agents in Minnesota, where they currently supervise 103,000 people. Many more field agents and community resources like chemical dependency treatment and mental health resources will be needed to make reintegration efforts successful.