The 2016 MN precinct caucuses are coming up on MARCH 1ST and the Minnesota Break the Bonds Campaign has prepared a critically important resolution for you to share with your community. First the resolution – then some background!
Because the Minnesota State Board of Investment invests a sizeable portion of the state’s nearly $100 billion taxpayer-funded public employee pension fund in foreign, corporate, and government securities without restriction (which may include arms dealers, carbon polluters, sweat-factories and apartheid states), mandatory environmental, labor and human rights investment guidelines should be enacted by the legislature to ensure that Minnesota is not financially complicit in the violation of universally recognized environmental, labor and human rights standards.
Background of the Resolution
We pushed hard for the State Board of Investment (SBI) to adhere to their own guidelines when it came to investing our money. The ethical guidelines made it clear that Minnesotans value human rights, labor rights and environmental protections, and any fund manager that wanted to invest public money in a country that did not take those values seriously would have to be able to justify their proposal to invest in them. The SBI, saying that they never used those guidelines anyway, voted in 2015 to throw the guidelines out! Regardless of the flaws in the way these former guidelines were used (or not used), it is unacceptable that the SBI would rather get rid of all ethics guidelines (read: constraints) for their investments than reform them, so that they are usable. This resolution calls for the creation of new guidelines that can’t be brushed aside, guidelines that will be law, enacted by the legislature, that require the SBI to follow. Without the creation of new mandatory ethical guidelines the SBI will continue investing our money in dozens of enterprises, which violate human rights, labor rights, and damage the environment. Without this resolution, the SBI will continue making every Minnesotan complicit in funding international and local human suffering and poisoning the environment.
What You Can Do
1. Plan to Attend Your Precinct Caucus on MARCH 1ST – Figure out now where your caucus location is and make sure you are registered to vote! Caucusing is just as important as voting in the general election, if not more. It’s your biggest opportunity to influence your party’s platform and let our representatives know what they need to support to get our votes! This is done by introducing a resolution that you’d like the party to endorse. To find your caucus location, please see the Resources section at the bottom of the page.
2. Bring This Resolution and A Resolution Form to Your Caucus on MARCH 1ST – To introduce a resolution you need a resolution form. You can write the resolution on the form itself or staple it to the back.
3. Introduce the Resolution During the Appropriate Time – Ask whoever is leading the caucus when resolutions will be introduced, and let them know you have one. To introduce the resolution you can read the background section above or put it in your own words. Make sure to speak about why you personally support it! Tell your neighbors why you think they should support it! Are we going to let our government use tax-payers’ money to commit human rights abuses or pollute the environment?
4. Vote for the Resolution!
5. Tell Us What Happened – Regardless of whether the resolution passes or not in your precinct, please tell us about it. Did it pass? By how much? Were there questions? A debate? What kinds of comments were made? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
6. What Happens If It Passes? – Resolutions that pass will advance to be evaluated by your party Platform Committee, then the State Convention. If enough precincts pass the resolution, there is a good chance of getting the resolution onto the party platform.
Register to Vote: https://www.usa.gov/register-to-vote#item-212126
Precinct Caucus Location:
Find your DFL Caucus location: https://www.dfl.org/about-our-party/caucuses-conventions/
Find your GOP Caucus location: http://mngop.com/precinct-caucuses/
Find your GPMN Caucus location: http://mngreens.nationbuilder.com/dstrand/green_party_of_minnesota_caucuses_2016
Read below for Talking Points to take to the Caucuses. These will help if you get questions.
1. The State Board of Investment (SBI) manages pension funds for State workers. The SBI is made up of the Governor (Mark Dayton), the Secretary of State (Steve Simon), the State Auditor (Rebecca Otto) and the Attorney General (Lori Swanson). Its Executive Director is Mansco Perry.
2. In the 1990s when Governor Dayton was State Auditor he urged the SBI to adopt investment guidelines which took into account a country’s human rights, labor rights, and environmental protection records. Although it was Governor Dayton’s proposal and the SBI voted to adopt it, the SBI has never followed these guidelines in making investments. The guidelines required annual reviews of countries to determine their compliance with human rights, labor rights and environmental protections and justifications for investing in countries with less-than-stellar records. But the reviews were done less and less frequently, and finally not done at all. The board last did a review in 2005.
3. Investments now include:
a. Bank Leumi and Bank Haopola of Israel, which both fund illegal settlement activity in the Occupied Palestinian Territories,
b. G4S which runs private prisons all over the world including in Israel and the US,
c. Rio Tinto, which according to London Mining Network, has a “shameful history of human and labor rights abuses and environmental degradation.”
d. Lockheed Martin, maker of the F-35, which according to Foreign Policy, is an “expensive boondoggle.”
e. R. .J Reynolds, the tobacco company – this while the state is working hard to reduce smoking in Minnesota
f. Hewlett Packard, with multiple contracts with the Israeli army
4. The SBI should take into account human rights, labor rights and environmental protections when they are investing Minnesotans’ tax money. We are calling for the Legislature to enact these guidelines into law.