NEWS DAY | Seven things to do at the Minnesota State Capitol next week

From racial justice to dentistry, everybody’s issues seem to get a day at the Capitol while the legislature is in session. If you’re a social justice type, the day probably starts out either in a church basement or in the Capitol rotunda. If your organization has a little more money, you may kick off the day at Embassy Suites and maybe end it with a cocktail party. Here are seven opportunities to see and be seen, advocate and be persuaded next week at the Capitol. 

Tuesday, March 4 is AARM Day at the Capitol to raise awareness about disability issues and ask legislators to pass a 5% rate increase for Home and Community-Based Services during the 2014 legislative session. The day begins in room 500N in the State Office Building at 8 a.m.

Monday is also Epilepsy Awareness Day at the State Capitol, sponsored by the Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota (starting in the Capitol rotunda at 8:30 a.m.)

Wednesday, March 5 is the annual Rally for Racial Justice with the Organizing Apprenticeship Project, as they release their 2014 Racial Equity Agenda. 10 a.m., followed by “legislative power meetings.” Their priorities include education, economic opportunity, health, safe neighborhoods, affordable housing, public transportation, and criminal justice.

Wednesday is also Dairy Day at the Capitol, sponsored by the Minnesota Milk Producers Association, whose legislative priorities include “competitive” overtime pay policies and “competitive” sales tax policies, as well as “Environmental Compliance, Permitting and Environmental Review” and “Dairy Research, Teaching and Consumer Education Center.” They’ll have a welcome center where people can leave their coats and finish up the day with an “exclusive event” at 317 on Rice Park, where members can “network with legislators and other industry stakeholders” from 5-8 p.m.

If neither of those opportunities appeals to you, how about the Tan-Free Teens Day, also on Wednesday, sponsored by the Minnesota Cancer Alliance? Their day begins with a morning program at Embassy Suites.

Thursday, March 6 is Homeless Day on the Hill, sponsored by the Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless, with a program beginning at Guardian Angels Church in Oakdale and then a bus ride to the Capitol. Their agenda:

1. Invest $100 million in bonds for affordable housing.
2. Remove barriers to education and training in Minnesota’s welfare-to-work program.
3. Raise the minimum wage to $9.50.

Also up on Thursday:  Mental Health Day on the Hill, sponsored by NAMI and including a briefing at Christ Lutheran Church (10-11:30), meetings with legislators (noon) and a rally in the Capitol Rotunda (1:30).

(If you can’t get there on Monday or Thursday, there’s a Disability Matters Day on March 18, sponsored by the Minnesota Council on Disabilities.)

For a different kind of day: Dental Day at the State Capitol starts with a morning program at Embassy Suites.

I’m sure there are more groups with a Day on the Hill next week — feel free to add yours in the comment section below.

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