The Minnesota Catholic Conference will determine what issues will be of greatest value in advancing legislation. We will then help educate you on these topics. Following the morning program, you will have the opportunity to share that knowledge and passion with your legislators.

No matter the issue, remember that your lawmakers want to hear from you. Your voice matters!

Catholics at the Capitol provides Minnesota Catholics an opportunity to learn about key challenges facing our state, gain insights into effective advocacy, and talk with elected officials about the issues that matter to you.

We’ll do our best to equip you for action, but it’s your voice that will make the difference.

The First 1,000 Days of Life:

The first 1,000 days of life is a unique period of opportunity when the foundations of optimal health, growth, and neurodevelopment across the lifespan are established.
By making sure children’s needs are met in the first 1,000 days of life, we can avoid a host of expensive societal problems and build a stronger Minnesota.

HF 909/SF 855 – Prenatal care service programs and funding governed, and
money appropriated: Makes prenatal care access and utilization programs eligible for grants to applicants for local or regional projects directed at reducing health disparities and decreasing racial and ethnic disparities in infant mortality rates and increasing access to high-quality
prenatal care.
House Authors: Morrison; Pinto; Heintzeman; Moran; Kotyza-Witthuhn; Klevorn; Zerwas; Huot
Senate Authors: Abeler; Hoffman; Benson; Jensen; Hayden

HF 1167/SF 1383 – Requiring a study on breastfeeding disparities: Requires the
commissioner of health to carry out a study identifying barriers, challenges, and successes regarding breastfeeding. In particular, the study shall identify and make recommendations for practices that increase breastfeeding rates in populations with the greatest breastfeeding
disparity rates.
House Authors: Morrison; Neu; Demuth
Senate Authors: Housley; Hayden; Franzen

HF 1226/SF 1438 – Home visiting programs for families with young children: Funds start up or expand evidence-based home visiting programs to families with young children. Awards grants to community health boards, nonprofits, or tribal nations in urban and rural areas to serve families, such as parents with high risk or high needs; parents with a history of mental illness, domestic abuse, or substance abuse; or first-time mothers prenatally until the child is four years of age.
House Authors: Bahner; Kresha; Pinto; Moran; Schomacker; Hassan; Liebling
Senate Authors: Relph; Wiklund; Hoffman; Abeler; Eichorn

HF 681/SF 340 – Pregnant and parenting pupils transportation to qualified programs provided: Provides transportation funding for pregnant or parenting pupils to and from
programs that provide academic instruction, parenting instruction, or high-quality child care
on-site during the education day with the capacity to serve all children of enrolled pupils.
House Authors: Tabke; Edelson; Albright; Davnie
Senate Authors: Draheim; Pratt; Torres Ray; Clausen

Click here to download a PDF of information on these bills.

Surrogacy Abuse Prevention Act:

Well-meaning people—perhaps even our family or friends—have chosen surrogacy (contracting with another woman to carry a child for them) to satisfy their deep longing to become parents, despite the challenges of infertility. Though we may be touched by the stories of those for whom surrogacy was an apparent success, we cannot ignore the many stories that did not have such a happy ending. In fact, surrogacy arrangements undermine the basic rights and well-being of women and children. For this reason, many countries and states have either banned or strictly limited surrogacy arrangements.

For years, Minnesota surrogacy proponents (surrogacy brokers, lawyers, fertility clinics, pharmaceutical companies) have been pushing for Minnesota to enact legislation that would enable a commercial surrogacy market. Unfortunately, their flawed legislation would unwittingly allow the industry to prey upon socioeconomically vulnerable women to serve as surrogates, as well as turn children into
products to be bought and sold. If passed, such legislation would serve to protect the investments of intended parents and the business of the industry, and neglect the best interests of the surrogates and the children they are paid to carry.

Women are not wombs for rent; children are not products to be bought and sold.

HF 1000 (Zerwas) / SF 1152 (Benson)

• Prevents the exploitation of women and the commodification of children
• Creates a regulatory framework for surrogacy arrangements in Minnesota based on the Legislative Surrogacy Commission’s Recommendations
• Provides safeguards and legal protections for both the gestational surrogate and the intended parents
• Requires a background check and mental health evaluation for both gestational surrogates and intended parents
• Imposes standard requirements for valid surrogacy contracts in Minnesota
• Ensures that rights of parentage are transferred upon compliance with the surrogacy contract
• Forbids for-profit commercial surrogacy arrangements
• Outlaws predatory, for-profit surrogacy agencies and brokers, and requires all surrogacy agencies to be licensed by the Department of Health
• Clarifies that the “best interests of the child” standard will be applied in custody disputes related to surrogacy arrangements
• Protects the rights of children by allowing disclosure of the identification of the gestational surrogate
• Prevents international surrogacy arrangements, ensuring that children born through surrogacy will receive the protections and rights of the laws and Constitution of the United States
• Requires the Department of Health to collect aggregate data on surrogacy arrangements

The Surrogacy Abuse Prevention Act Does Not:

• Ban surrogacy
• Prevent gestational surrogates from receiving compensation for reasonable expenses related to their pregnancy

Senate Co-Authors: Hoffman, Ruud, Anderson
House Co-Authors: Murphy, Sandstede

Click here to download a PDF of information on this issue.