MSBA Human Rights Committee
Archived Meeting Minutes
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Human Rights Committee
February 9, 2012
Meeting Summary/Minutes

 

12:05 p.m.:                  The meeting was chaired by Kate Bruce and Lauren Schrero.

Members present:      In person:  Sonia Peterson, Evan Wilson, Daniel Reynolds
By phone:  Valerie Aggerbeck, Mark Frey, Colleen Walbran, Rachel Brygger

Agenda items:            1)  Panel presented on right to jury in civil trials in Minnesota under the Human Rights Act:

Brian T. Rochel, Halunen & Associates
Michelle Dye Neumann, Halunen & Associates
Steven A. Smith, Nichols Kaster

The Committee discussed the possibility of seeking an MSBA position on the issue.

2)  The Committee addressed the proposed resolution to submit to the MSBA Assembly proposed amendments to §§ 12.2, 13.2, and 14.1 of the MSBA Bylaws. Sonia Peterson presented her proposed revisions. Lauren Schrero moved to accept the proposal and present it to the MSBA Assembly. Even Wilson seconded. All members present, including those present by phone, voted unanimously in favor.  

Next meeting:            Set for March 12, 2012, 12:00pm, MSBA Office.

1:00 p.m.:                    The meeting was adjourned.

 

Human Rights Committee
December 12, 2011
Meeting Summary/Minutes

 

12:05 p.m.:                  The meeting was chaired by Kate Bruce and Lauren Schrero.

Members present:      Valerie Aggerbeck, Caroline Palmer, Sonja Peterson, and Evan Wilson.

Agenda items:            1)  Panel presented on current key issues relating to school bullying.  The Panel included the following speakers:

 

The Committee discussed the possibility of seeking an MSBA position on the issue of school bullying.

2)  The Committee noted that it will address the proposed revision to MSBA Bylaw Article 12, § 12.2 at the next meeting. 

Next meeting:            Set for January 9, 2012, 12:00pm, MSBA Office.

1:00 p.m.:                    The meeting was adjourned.

82894536.1

 

Human Rights Committee
November 14, 2011
Meeting Summary/Minutes

 

12:05 p.m.:                  The meeting was chaired by Kate Bruce and Lauren Schrero.

Members present:      Caroline Palmer, Colleen Walbran, Rachel Brygger, Sonja Peterson, Mark Frey, Evan Wilson, and Lloyd Zimmerman.

Agenda items:            1)  Minnesota Department of Human Rights Commissioner, Kevin Lindsey, presented to the Committee.  His presentation included information on:

 

The Committee looks forward to working with the Department in the future.

2)  The chairs updated the committee on:

 

3)  Ms. Peterson updated the Committee on its co-sponsorship of the League of Human Rights Commissions Human Rights Day, and informed the Committee that the League will have a “celebratory” focus.  This means no sponsorship will be needed, just support in promoting attendance at the event. 

4)  The Committee voted to move forward with pursuing the proposed revision to MSBA Bylaw Article 12, § 12.2.  All voted in favor. 

Revision is as follows:

Sections and committees are strongly encouraged to present legislative recommendations to the Assembly for approval as MSBA positions.  Sections and committees are also authorized to take positions on their own behalf pursuant to this Article, but the President has the authority to preempt section and committee legislative action at any time.  If the President preempts the legislative action of a section or committee, the section or committee shall not take its contemplated action the President’s decision shall go before the Council for a vote at its next scheduled meeting.  A section or committee may appeal the President’s decision to preempt the legislative action of the section or committee to t [T]he Council, which may reverse or amend the President’s decision by a two-thirds majority vote of members present and voting.

5)  Judge Zimmerman informed the Committee that he will likely have a human-rights-related article in the Star Tribune on Thanksgiving and that we should all look for it. 

Next meeting:            December 12, 2011, 12:00pm, MSBA Office.

1:00 p.m.:                    The meeting was adjourned.

 

Human Rights Committee
October 10, 2011
Meeting Summary/Minutes

12:03 p.m.:                  The meeting was chaired by Kate Bruce and Lauren Schrero.

Members present:    Rachel Brygger (phone),  Amanda Heyman (phone), Sarah Hunter (phone), Valerie LeMaster, Peter Mikhail, Caroline Palmer (phone), Sonja Peterson, Daniel Reynolds (phone), Holly Wallace (phone), Evan Wilson, and Lloyd Zimmerman.

                                    [Notified regarding absence: Mark Frey]

Action items:             Preliminary Matters:

The committee reviewed the agenda and Evan Wilson moved to add a recap of the September 30, 2011 human trafficking event to the agenda. Evan reported that the event was informative, and shared a number of factual highlights including that the St. Paul Police Department is the only state level law enforcement agency with resources devoted specifically to the trafficking issue and there are roughly 500 online postings for sexual services that raise trafficking concerns in Minnesota daily. Evan indicated that he had obtained contact information for a woman with knowledge of current legislative measures targeted at trafficking, and that that he would reach out to her to see whether she would be interested in presenting at an upcoming committee meeting.

                                    Caroline Palmer then described an upcoming webinar to be hosted by MNCasa on October 18, 2011. The webinar will address the issue of sex trafficking in Minnesota, specifically the sexual exploitation of youth. Caroline gave an overview of topics to be discussed, who the presenters will be, and explained that the webinar will be open to Committee members for CLE credit.

                                    Lauren Schrero added that another event will be held on Thursday, October 13, 2011 at St. Thomas Law School regarding the proposed constitutional same sex marriage ban, which the Committee discussed as potential topic of interest last month.

                                    Kate Bruce noted that the MSBA will be hosting a networking event for local law students and solicited volunteers to represent the Committee at the event.

                                    Voting by E-mail:

                                    The Committee agreed that, with respect to setting the agenda, voting by e-mail in order to provide the Chairs with input on which topics the Committee is interested in pursuing is acceptable. Peter Mikhail noted that these types of votes are not binding on the Chairs.

                                    The Committee also agreed that for any items requiring Committee action such as passing a resolution, taking a position, or choosing to co-sponsor an event, the vote should take place during the monthly Committee meeting in order to comply with MSBA bylaws.

                                    Future Agenda Items:

                                    Valerie LeMaster asked whether there are any criteria the Chairs could use as guidelines for setting the agenda. Past chairs and long-time Committee members commented that they did not recall ever being confronted with that issue. Peter Mikhail added that, as far as he knows, there is an “open-door” policy with respect to what items can be put on the Committee agenda. Peter explained that in his opinion, as long as member believes a topic relates to human rights, and raises an issue for the Committee to consider, the Committee may include that topic/issue on its agenda. There was general consensus that this is correct.

Judge Zimmerman noted that where the Committee has particularly contentious items on its agenda that might come before a court, he will likely be unable to attend those Committee meetings. Peter Mikhail countered that those issues that are the most controversial and the most likely to be litigated may well be the most important ones for the Committee to consider. Co-chairs agreed to take both perspectives under advisement.

Discussion on HR Committee 2011-12 Topics:

(1) Issue one: Abortion:
 
Discussion took place on whether the Committee should devote time to learning about this issue.  Judge Zimmerman notes a possible need to abstain.  Peter Mikhail noted that in the past the Committee has always discussed all issues that come up, unless it has just been discussed or clearly unrelated to human rights. The Committee chairs will make a determination on whether to devote a Committee meeting to this topic.   

(2) Issue two:  Co-Sponsoring Human Rights Day with the MN League of Human Rights Commission

Sonja Peterson moved to co-sponsor HR day; without funding at this point.  Peter Mikhail seconded the Motion.

Sonja Peterson moved for discussion on whether the Committee should co-Sponsor Human Rights Day with the MN League of Human Rights Commission. Discussion took place.  Sonja gave some background on the members of the coalition that comprise the Commission, and explained that they are currently working on a Human Rights Day event scheduled for December 1st that they would like to broaden beyond the coalition community. Sonja inquired as to whether the Committee would be willing co-sponsor the event, advertise to the legal community, and assist in preparing CLE materials.  Evan Wilson inquired as to the amount of input the Committee would have on the content of the event, and Sonja responded that the Commission would be open to our suggestions, but that ultimately all decision-making will be theirs. Sonja also asked whether the Committee might be willing to assist financially with the event, and the Co-Chairs agreed to ask the MSBA whether that would be possible.

Chairs called for a vote on co-sponsoring.  The vote was unanimous in favor of co-sponsoring the event.

The Co-Chairs will inquire as to possible funding assistance. 

(3) Issue three:  Budget Cuts to the Dep’t of HR

The Committee chairs will make a determination on whether to devote a Committee meeting to this topic, and will contact the Commissioner as a possible speaker.   

(4) Issue four:  MSBA Bylaws Issue

The Committee discussed moving forward with a possible resolution in support of an amendment to §12.2 of the MSBA bylaws. Specifically, Sonja Peterson suggested language modifying the current provision, which requires a supermajority to overturn the MSBA’s preemption of Committee action.

The Committee chairs will place this issue for a vote on the November agenda.

(5) Issue five:  Civil Gideon

The Committee also discussed whether it should devote time to the issue of Civil Gideon. Valerie LeMaster updated the Committee on the progress of the MSBA appointed Civil Gideon Task Force, formed in 2008 to explore the feasibility of a civil right to counsel in Minnesota. The task force has just recently put together finsdings and there is an editing session later this month.  Caroline Palmer, who is a member of the Task Force, explained that purpose of the investigation is not to take a position on the issue of Civil Gideon, but rather to explore how it does, and could operate in Minnesota. The Committee agreed that it makes sense to await the Task Force’s report, and evaluate then whether we want to take a position on the issue. For now, the issue is tabled pending release of the report.

 

(6) Issue six:  Same sex marriage ban

The Committee also discussed whether to devote a meeting (or more) to this topic.  Sonja Peterson told the Committee that the Diversity Committee of the Hennepin County Bar Association recently resolved to host training sessions on mobilizing against the proposed constitutional amendment. Valerie LeMaster suggested that we might be skipping a step by jumping straight to advocacy—that not all members of the Committee are persuaded that the proposal should not pass. Evan Wilson suggested that if the Committee does take up this issue, it should first devote some time to exploring both sides of the debate. Dan Reynolds added that specifically, he is interested in exploring what the legal effect of proposed amendment will be.

The Committee chairs will make a determination on whether to devote a Committee meeting to this topic.  

Next meeting:           November 14, 2011, 12:00pm, MSBA Office.

12:59 p.m.:                  The meeting was adjourned.


Human Rights Committee
September 19, 2011
Meeting Summary/Minutes

 

12:05 p.m.:                  The meeting was chaired by Kate Bruce and Lauren Schrero.

Members present:    Jason Adkins (phone), Valerie Aggerbeck (phone), Rachel Brygger (phone), Amanda Heyman (phone), Sarah Hunter (phone), Valerie LeMaster, Sonja Peterson, Holly Wallace (phone), Evan Wilson (phone), and Lloyd Zimmerman.

                                    [Notified regarding absence: Mark Frey, Daniel Reynolds, and Roger Branigin]

Action items:             The Committee discussed the purpose statement. There was a general consensus that no changes or additions are required at this time. The Committee agreed to consider the scope of the “study and make recommendations” language, deciding, for example, whether the Committee should devote time to study human rights issues not currently before the state legislature. The Committee agreed that it needs to fashion a system for evaluating whether and how deeply to study and take action on human rights issues raised by members as potential topics of interest. For now, all proposals will be put to vote. Co-Chairs encouraged members to propose alternative means of structuring the topic evaluation process.

The Committee discussed topics of interest for the 2011-2012 Committee year. 

Ms. LeMaster requested that the Committee consider taking a position regarding a proposed legislative bill that would prohibit abortion after 20 weeks gestation.  Ms. Heyman commented that it may not be an appropriate subject for the Committee to take on given that it has come before the MSBA General Assembly twice and the Committee has abstained from taking a position given the contentiousness of the issue.  The Committee discussed whether being educated on this issue and possibly exploring it before making any decisions would be worthwhile.  No decision was made. Whether the Committee should pursue this issue will be put to vote.

Ms. Peterson suggested the Committee consider investigating the new process adopted by MSBA leadership for appealing presidential preemption of committees’ ability to take legislative positions. (Article 12, § 12.2) This new process, which requires a two-thirds vote of voting members of the MSBA Council, was designed in response to this Committee’s concern that it was unable to take a position last year regarding the then-proposed Department of Human Rights budget cuts.  It was suggested that we invite a speaker from the Department of Human Rights to discuss the impact of the budget cuts as a jumping off point for approaching the MSBA leadership about modifying the new mechanism of appealing presidential preemption of committee-driven legislative action. Ms. Peterson agreed to look into the matter further. Following the meeting, in an e-mail to the Chairs, Ms. Peterson proposed the following revisions to § 12.2:

Sections and committees are strongly encouraged to present legislative recommendations to the Assembly for approval as MSBA positions.  Sections and committees are also authorized to take positions on their own behalf pursuant to this Article, but the President has the authority to preempt section and committee legislative action at any time.  If the President preempts the legislative action of a section or committee, the section or committee shall not take its contemplated action the President’s decision shall go before the Council for a vote at its next scheduled meeting.  A section or committee may appeal the President’s decision to preempt the legislative action of the section or committee to t [T]he Council, which may reverse or amend the President’s decision by a two-thirds majority vote of members present and voting.

Whether the Committee should pursue this issue will be put to vote.

Judge Zimmerman commented that the budget cuts for the Department of Human Rights cuts resulted in the cancellation of the annual human rights day event typically held in December. Judge Zimmerman proposed that the Committee consider sponsoring an alternative Human Rights Day CLE. Ms. Schrero and Ms. Bruce offered to look into whether the law firm of Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi L.L.P. could host such an event. Ms. Peterson offered to find the appropriate contact at the Department of Human Rights to work with on this project. Following the meeting, Ms. Peterson sent the Committee Chairs the contact information of Ytmar Santiago. Whether the Committee should pursue this issue will be put to vote.

Ms. LeMaster suggested that the Committee consider looking into House Bill 556 on sexually exploited youth. Mr. Wilson informed the Committee of an event on Sept. 30th relating to the issue of human trafficking called “Rise Against Human Trafficking.”  That event will be held from 6:00pm-10:00pm in Maranatha Hall at Northwestern College, located at 3003 Snelling Ave. N., Roseville, MN.  Mr. Adkins informed the committee that Bill 556 had been signed into law by the Governor in a special session. Issue will be put to vote.
                                   
Judge Zimmerman suggested the Committee consider investigating the right to a lawyer in certain civil cases (“Civil Gideon”). Ms. LeMaster agreed to reach out to the Pro Se Committee to discuss their agenda and possible joint action on the issue, and Judge Zimmerman offered to do the same with the Judicial Committee. Whether the Committee should pursue this issue will be put to vote.

The Committee discussed the issue of the proposed amendment to the Minnesota State Constitution banning same sex marriage, and the capacity in which the Committee should be involved, if any.  Ms. Bruce notified the Committee that the MSBA renewed its position on the issue on April 29, 2010, resolving that the “Minnesota State Bar Association opposes any effort to amend the Minnesota Constitution to forbid the creation of legally-recognized relationships between persons of the same sex.”  Ms. Schrero and Ms. Peterson discussed possible trainings or work with Minnesotans United for all Families.  Mr. Wilson commented that the Committee may want to consider whether we take on this controversial issue as well. Whether the Committee should pursue this issue will be put to vote.

                                    Judge Zimmerman suggested that current Committee-members consider ways to strengthen the Committee’s impact, for example, by recruiting a broader membership. Ms. Schrero suggested that current members should attend other committee meetings and review their agendas for crossover issues. Ms. Bruce asked whether current committee members could provide a list of other committees or sections they are involved with, so that the Committee can track its current resources. All seemed to agree it was a good idea.

Ms. Bruce informed the Committee that we will meet the second Monday of each month.

Next meeting:           October 10, 2011, 12:00pm, MSBA Office.

12:56 p.m.:                  The meeting was adjourned.


Human Rights Committee
September 20, 2010
Meeting Summary

 

12:05 p.m.:                  The meeting was chaired by Amanda Heyman.

Members present:     Evan Wilson, Kate Bruce, Sonja Peterson.  Margaret Erickson, Mary Rice, Caroline Palmer, Colleen Walbran, Roger Branigin, Tokunbo Okala appeared by phone.

Discussion items:       Mary Rice discussed the September 17, 2010 General Assembly meeting and stated that the Committee’s ICC Resolution has passed. The Committee voiced interest in publicizing the resolution’s passage.

The Committee is looking for ideas for speakers and action items for the upcoming year and encourages members to come forward with ideas.   

Sonja Peterson discussed sending out information re: ISAIAH’s 10,000 voices for Minnesota program.  She will send out the information via email.

The Committee voiced interest in contacting John Fossum as a potential speaker. Mr. Fossum is one of the only lawyers in the area licensed to practice in front of the International Criminal Court.

The Committee voiced interest in having the Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Human rights as a speaker, but noted that it might be best to wait until after the November election. 

The Committee voiced interest in investigating a potential legal service trip to the Gulf Coast.
                                                 
The Committee voiced interest in participating in Human Rights Day in December, but as the schedule is likely already set for this year we may want to think about participating next December.                       

Next meeting:The next meeting will take place Monday, October 18, 2010 at noon in the MSBA offices.

12:25 p.m.: The meeting was adjourned.

 


Human Rights Committee
May 17, 2010
Meeting Summary

12:03 pm:  The meeting was chaired by Peter Mikhail.

Members present:  Sonia Peterson, Caroline Palmer, Lauren Wood.  Amanda Heyman, Colleen Walbran, and Mary Rice all appeared by telephone.

Mr. Mikhail inquired if a group member would volunteer to be present at the general policy committee meeting on June 2 to support the ICC resolution.  Lauren Wood asked for details, and Mr. Mikhail promised to email her the information.

Mr. Mikhail asked the group about any other business considering this was the last meeting of the year.  Mr. Mikhail said he would email the same to the group if anyone had any topics of discussion for subsequent meetings.

Speaker:  Warren Ortland and Julie Ralston Aoki of the Public Health Law Center (PHLC) spoke regarding their organization and its role in public health.  Formerly an organization concerned primarily with tobacco use, the newly-renamed PLHC is a non-profit organization of lawyers and policy experts that helps public health professionals, officials, and advocates use the power of law to advance public health.  Attorneys from the PLHC help other groups with legal research, analysis, interpretation, education, training, and litigation support among other things to further the cause of public health.  The PLHC does not provide legal representation or lobbyist services. 

Mr. Ortland informed the group that the PLHC is growing and hiring more attorneys, and their offices at William Mitchell will serve as a national coordinating center for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a technical assistance network of legal experts to assist local and state health departments.  Finally, Mr. Ortland referred the group to the PLHC website and asked if members of the group might want to be on their email list for future information.

Next meeting:  The next meeting will be September 20, 2010.

The meeting was adjourned at 12:55 pm.


Human Rights Committee
March 15, 2010
Meeting Summary

12:05 pm:  The meeting was chaired by Peter Mikhail.

Members present:  Justin Cummins, Amanda Heyman, Francis Rojas.  Mark Frey, Caroline Palmer, Margaret Ahrenson, Sonia Peterson, and Sarah Hunter all appeared by telephone.

Speaker:  Tim Thompson of the Housing Preservation Project spoke regarding affordable housing.  Why is housing a human rights issue?  Because access to affordable housing is a right to equal opportunity.  Mr. Thompson gave a Power Point presentation touching on such topics as transit oriented development (TOD), the Central Corridor light rail project, the Central Corridor Affordable Housing Project (CCAHP) and its strategies, and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s cost effectiveness index.  After some discussion on the definition of gentrification, the group thanked Mr. Thompson, and there was no further discussion on the issue.

Peter Mikhail read the new ICC resolution language given to him by Barb Frey and sent to all the group members.  Mr. Mikhail moved for a vote on the issue.  Justin Cummins seconded the motion and it was passed unanimously.

Caroline Palmer of the Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault spoke next regarding pending legislation regarding prostitution statutes and said that there’s nothing the group needs to do at this time.  She also mentioned the draft legislation regarding civil remedies for victims of sex trafficking and asked that any comments on the issue be sent to her via email.

Mark Frey spoke next regarding the April CLE seminar in lieu of a lunch meeting.  Speakers will be Michelle Garnett McKenzie and Scott Boreen.  The date is set for April 19.  Additional information will be sent to the group by Mark.

May speaker:  Caroline Palmer suggested Warren Ortland to speak on the topic of health as a human right.  Ms. Palmer asked the group for input on the subject matter of Mr. Ortland’s presentation, and Mr. Mikhail asked for direction from Mr. Ortland on what specifically the group can do to help.

Next meeting:  The next meeting will be the April 19, 2010 CLE.  The next regular meeting will be May 17, 2010.

The meeting was adjourned at 12:50 pm.


Human Rights Committee
February 22, 2010
Meeting Summary

12:04 pm:  The meeting was chaired by Justin Cummins.

Members present:  Mary Ellison, Lauren Wood, Kate Bruce, Amanda Heyman, Valerie Aggerbeck, and Sonya Peterson.  Mark Frey, Caroline Palmer, Colleen Walbran, Margaret Ahrenson, Roger Branigin, and Sarah Hunter all appeared by telephone.

Speaker:  Barb Frey, Director of the Human Rights Program at the University of Minnesota, spoke regarding the International Criminal Court and efforts to get the United States to embrace more fully the authority and role of the ICC in the rule of law.  Ms. Frey stated that the resolution embracing the ICC was first signed by the Clinton administration and then essentially “unsigned” by the Bush administration.  After some discussion, Mr. Cummins suggested that the group table a vote until we can get additional information (language from the ABA resolution and other State Bar Association’s resolutions to the same effect) from Ms. Frey.  After the group receives the requested language, Mr. Cummins suggested the group take a vote via email.  Ms. Frey agreed to email Michelle Hyatt (secretary to Pete Mikhail) the requested language before the March meeting.

Caroline Palmer of the Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault spoke next regarding an update on the trafficking task force.  Specifically, Ms. Palmer discussed a proposal in the Minnesota Legislature regarding prostitution statutes (House File 3018 and Senate File 2652 and amendments to same).  These statutes regard distinguishing arrests of prostitutes from patrons and keeping the records separate for future use. 

She also spoke of the draft legislation regarding civil remedies for victims of sex trafficking which is to be introduced in the legislature in the 2011.  Currently, her organization is gathering information and looking for comments on the draft.  This draft along with the House/Senate Files referenced above were sent to the group via email after today’s meeting.

The group also discussed jointly conducting a CLE on immigration law reform with the Immigration Law Section in lieu of the April meeting.  Mark Frey will take the lead in organizing this.

Next meeting:  The next meeting will be March 15, 2010, 12 pm at the MSBA offices.  Tim Thompson, Housing Preservation Project, speaker.

The meeting was adjourned at 12:33 pm.


Human Rights Committee
January 25, 2010
Meeting Summary

12:06 pm:  The meeting was chaired by Peter Mikhail.

Members present:  Francis Rojas, Mary Rice, Justin Cummins, Lauren Wood, Caroline Palmer, and Mark Frey (by phone).

Speaker:  Emily Farell from The Advocates for Human Rights gave a presentation on a person’s right to health and how the United States is doing in that regard, particularly in comparison to other industrialized nations.  After the presentation there was a Q and A.

Mr. Mikhail asked if there was any action for the group to take regarding human rights and health. Ms. Farell suggested that the group do a “shadow report” to-ICERD (International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination) which would be due in 2011.  Caroline Palmer mentioned the William Mitchell Public Law Health Center and will contact someone from this group to possibly speak at the April or May meeting on the topic of health.

Ms. Palmer requested an opportunity to provide an update from the trafficking task force.  That update will be placed on the agenda for the February meeting.

Next meeting:  The next meeting will be February 22, 2010, 12 pm at the MSBA offices.  Barb Frey, speaker, regarding ICC resolution.

The meeting was adjourned at 12:58 pm.


Human Rights Committee
December 21, 2009
Meeting Summary

12:06 pm:  The meeting was chaired by Peter Mikhail.

Members present:  Francis Rojas, Mary Rice, Lloyd Zimmerman, Justin Cummins, Amanda Heyman (by phone), and Caroline Palmer (by phone).

Meeting schedule:  Mr. Mikhail confirmed the dates for the next several meetings:  January 25, February 22, and March 15.  Emily Farrell from Advocates for Human Rights will be speaking at the January meeting regarding health care as a human right.  Jim Thompson, president of the Housing Preservation Project, will be speaking at the March meeting.

Humphrey Institute:  Mr. Mikhail suggested that the group invite to the September meeting the new fellows from the Humphrey Institute.  There were no objections.  Mr. Cummins suggested reaching out to law school students interested in human rights.

International Criminal Court:  Mr. Mikhail moved that the group update the resolution for the 2010 Human Rights conference.  He also suggested that the group invite Barb Frey back to speak on the updated resolution.  The motion passed unanimously. 

MSBA legislation:  Mr. Mikhail moved that the group sponsor renewal of the MSBA’s legislative position opposing any effort to amend the Minnesota Constitution to forbid the creation of legally-recognized relationships between partners of the same sex.  The motion passed unanimously.  Ms. Palmer asked if anyone from the group needed to be present at the Legislative Committee meeting, and Mr. Mikhail said that he would find out and report at the next meeting.

Turchick email:  Mr. Mikhail mentioned an email he had received from Chuck Turchick regarding torture and the federal torture statute that is about to expire.  Mr. Turchick wondered if the MSBA could do anything about it.  Ms. Palmer suggested that the group ask Barb Frey or Duane Kronke or the Minnesota ACLU. 

U of M International Human Rights Clinic:  Mr. Cummins mentioned Jenny Green from the International Human Rights Law Clinic and suggested that Mr. Turchick be put in touch w/Ms. Green.  Mr. Mikhail offered to contact Barb Frey or Duane Kronke first, and Mr. Cummins will send Mr. Mikhail Ms. Green’s contact info to ask her to possibly join the group for the April meeting.

Next meeting:  The next meeting will be January 25, 2010, 12 pm at the MSBA offices.

The meeting was adjourned at 12:25 pm.


Human Rights Committee
November 16, 2009
12:30 p.m.
Meeting Summary

The meeting was chaired by Peter Mikhail.

Members Present:  Valerie Aggerbeck, Justin Cummins, Mary Ellison, Mark Frey,  Amanda Heyman, Sarah Hunter, Sonja Peterson, Francis Rojas, Lauren Schrero, Lauren Wood, Lloyd Zimmerman, Guests Phil Duran, Lucy Arimond and Kristi Rudelius-Palmer - staff for the Humphrey fellows, MSBA Staff Nancy Mischel.  By phone:  Colleen Walbran.

Housekeeping - International Criminal Court Resolution and Report:  Mr. Mikhail informed the Committee that Barb Frey had some concerns regarding the revised resolution and report that Mr. Mikhail earlier sent to the Committee.  Ms. Frey agreed to propose changes to the resolution and report; it will come back to the Committee after her edits are complete.

Presentation of Marriage Equality Resolution and Report: Mr. Duran.explained the purpose and background of a proposed marriage equality resolution.  The resolution will be presented at the MSBA Diversity Committee meeting on December 4 and will also be taken to other sections and committees for support.  Following that, the resolution and report will go to the General Policy Committee of the Assembly and from there to the Assembly.  The report tracks the language from the Report and Recommendations from the Task Force on the Rights of Unmarried Couples.  The Assembly adopted the executive summary of that Report at its June 2009 meeting.  Ms. Peterson moved the recommendation and report, with Ms. Ellison providing a second.  The motion was unanimously approved with Judge Zimmerman and Ms. Heyman abstaining.

Discussion with Humphrey Fellows:  For the remainder of the meeting, the Committee heard from the Humphrey Human Rights Fellows about the work they do in their home countries and discussed ideas about how the Human Rights Committee could help the Fellows and continue the dialogue with them, this year and in the future.

Next Meeting:  December 21 at 12:00 p.m.

Meeting adjourned.


Human Rights Committee
September 21, 2009
Meeting Summary

 

The meeting was chaired by Justin Cummins, filling in for Peter Mikhail.

Members Present:  Valerie Aggerbeck, Justin Cummins, Mark Frey, Amanda Heyman, Sarah Hunter, Caroline Palmer, Colleen Walbran, Lloyd Zimmerman, Guest Maggie Yates and MSBA Staff Nancy Mischel.  By phone:  Margaret Erickson and Lauren Schrero.

Update on Human Rights Day Conference:  This is being held on December 4.  Mr. Cummins will be part of a panel presentation on the Human Rights Dimensions of the Immigrant Experience.  Other panelists include representatives from the U.S. Attorneys Office, the Civil Rights unit of the Department of Homeland Security, and the President of SEIU Local 26.  Mr. Frey reported that there will not be a session on Comprehensive Immigration Reform. 

Working with Phil Duran on a CLE regarding Bateson-type peremptory-challenge situations under MN Rule of Criminal Procedure 26.02:  Ms. Schrero agreed to contact Mr. Duran to assist in putting together this CLE.

Find a speaker on mortgage foreclosure crisis as a human rights issue for October meeting:  Ms. Walbran believes she can find a good speaker or two on this topic and she will check their availability to attend the Committee’s October 19 meeting.  If they are available on that date, CLE credit will be applied for and the meeting will be moved into the largest MSBA conference room to accommodate extra participants.  The CLE could be advertised in the MSBA’s weekly enewsletter, Legal News Digest (LND) which is sent on Wednesdays.  The purpose of the program would be to educate members and see if there is specific action the Committee could take.  Ms. Aggerbeck can help get the word out in the law schools.

YWCA request for sponsorship of its 7th Annual “It’s Time to Talk” community dialogue on race:  President Leo Brisbois received a request that the MSBA buy a table and help spread the word about this upcoming event on November 10 that draws over 1100 people.  A table of 10 is $1000.  The Committee did not feel able to take on the commitment of buying a table, but some members will take this back to their law firms and see if their firm might do so.

Diversity Planning Task Force:  Ms. Mischel mentioned that a new Diversity Planning Task Force, chaired by Phil Duran, is looking at all of the MSBA’s work in the area of diversity to see where there is overlap and to ensure resources are being used in the most effective way possible.   Because there is some overlap between the work of the Human Rights Committee and the Diversity Committee, Ms. Mischel suggested someone from the Human Rights Committee join the Task Force.  Mr. Frey agreed to serve.

 

Any new ideas/business for this year's Committee work:

Next Meeting:  October 19 at noon.

Meeting adjourned.


Human Rights Committee
October 19, 2009
Meeting Summary

 

The meeting was chaired by Peter Mikhail.

Members Present:  Mary Ellison, Amanda Heyman, Sonja Peterson, Lauren Schrero, Colleen Walbran, Lauren Wood, Lloyd Zimmerman, MSBA Staff Nancy Mischel.  By phone:  Margaret Erickson, Mark Frey, Sarah Hunter, Caroline Palmer.

International Criminal Court Resolution:  Mr. Mikhail provided background on this resolution which was referred back to the Committee for further work by the General Policy Committee of the Assembly last year.  General Policy requested that the report address the reasons why the issue is controversial.  Mr. Mikhail, with the help of his law clerk, added substantial information to the report as requested.  A motion was made to approve the revised report.  The motion was seconded and passed.

Humphrey International Fellows:  There is interest in having the Humphrey Law Fellows attend a future meeting of the Committee.  Whenever that is scheduled, the meeting will begin at 12:30 p.m. rather than noon to accommodate the fellows’ schedule.

Follow-up regarding increased need at Hennepin County Self-Help Center:  Mr. Mikhail shared an email from Mr. Cummins who followed up to see how volunteers might help in the self-help center.  Mr. Cummins suggested a better solution is to support additional funding for the self-help center so additional permanent staff can be hired.  Volunteers take time in terms of training and supervision.

Follow-up on working with Phil Duran on a CLE regarding Bateson-type peremptory-challenge situations under MN Rule of Criminal Procedure 26.02:  Ms. Schrero indicated there will be a MN CLE video course on Bateson on February 18; details will be forwarded to the Committee when they are available.  She also noted that OutFront MN has a resolution in support of marriage equality that Mr. Duran will bring to the Committee.

Follow-up on speaker regarding health care as a human right:  Ms. Palmer reported that Advocates for Human Rights did not have a speaker available on the topic of health care as a human right for either the Committee’s October, November or December meeting.  She will request a speaker for the January meeting, which will be moved from the third Monday (October 18) to the fourth Monday (October 25) of the month due to the Martin Luther King holiday.

MN Advocates Update:  Ms. Ellison reported that MN Advocates is continuing to pursue legislation that would provide a cause of action for victims of sex trafficking to sue for damages.  She may ask for the Committee’s support of the legislation when it is in final form.  MN Advocates can provide a speaker on the issue of comprehensive immigration reform for the Committee’s February meeting.

Foreclosure Crisis:  Eric Myott from the Institute on Race and Poverty (IRP) at the U of M shared information the Institute gathered showing that there is a high rate of foreclosures and subprime loans in communities where a majority of the residents are from minority groups, regardless of income.  The disparities are sufficiently high that they cannot be explained easily.  Research also shows there is less lending overall in neighborhoods of color.  The Twin Cities area ranks very low in terms of banks with branches in high minority areas.  One problem is that there is not enough funding for regulators to oversee banks’ responsibilities under the Community Reinvestment Act.  The results of IRP’s report have not yet been shared with the legislature but when they are, it is possible there may be some legislative proposals as a result.

Next Meeting:  November 16 at 12:00 or 12:30 p.m.

Meeting adjourned.

Human Rights Committee
Meeting Summary
April 21, 2008 - MSBA Offices

The meeting was chaired by Judge Lloyd Zimmerman and Kristen Gast.

Members present: Kevin Finnerty, Nicole Haaning (New Lawyers Section Liaison), Lee McGrath, Sonja Peterson, and Tram Nguyen (MSBA staff liaison).

The March minutes were approved.

Report on meeting with ISAIAH
No update. Judge Zimmerman and Sonja Peterson will schedule a meeting with ISAIAH and will report back at the next meeting.

Update on the Corrections Ombudsman Working Group's Report and Recommendations

The Committee unanimously voted via an online survey on February 27, 2008 to adopt this resolution. A letter under the Co-chairs signatures will be sent to Commissioner Korbel indicating the Committee's position as outlined below.

Recommendation
That the MSBA Human Rights Committee supports the recommendations of the Minnesota Department of Human Rights Ombudsman for Corrections Working Group, as set forth in the January 2008 report submitted to the Minnesota State Legislature, specifically the recommendation to recreate the Office of Ombudsman for Corrections. While the report suggests that the office should have a focus on juvenile detentions, the Human Rights Committee recommends that the recreated office focus on services to all offender populations in the state. This recommendation represents the views of the MSBA's Human Rights Committee and it does not represent the views of the entire MSBA.


Republican National Conference
Update on the National Lawyers Guild's May 16, 2008 CLE Program:
Nicole Haaning from the New Lawyers Section volunteered to email the flyer to her section members. Information is posted on the Committee's website at http://www.nlgminnesota.org/files/516%20CLE%20Flyer.pdf

Discuss proposal to develop a CLE program for local government and media:
The Committee decided not to go forward with this program as there are enough existing efforts out there.

Update on website revamp
This item was tabled.

Other Business
Committee Chair/Co-Chairs for 2008-09: Judge Zimmerman announced that he will not be continuing in his role as Co-Chair next year. If anyone is interested in being considered, please let Tram Nguyen know at tnguyen@mnbar.org. All appointments are made by incoming President Michael Ford.

Next Meeting
The next meeting of the Human Rights Committee will be held on May 19, 2008 at Noon at the MSBA offices. Part of this meeting will be used to brainstorm for 2008-09 and committee members are encouraged to attend.

Meeting adjourned.


Human Rights Committee
Meeting Summary
March 17, 2008 - MSBA Offices

The meeting was chaired by Judge Lloyd Zimmerman and Kristen Gast.

Members present: Roger Branigin, Kevin Finnerty, Peter Mikhail, Caroline Palmer, Sonja Peterson, Artika Tyner, and Tram Nguyen (MSBA staff liaison).

Present by invitation: Jay Schmitt, co-director of ISAIAH.

The February minutes were approved.

Presentation and information from Jay Schmitt
Jay Schmitt, co-director of ISAIAH, provided the Committee with information on his organization and ideas for collaborations between ISAIAH and the Human Rights Committee. ISAIAH is a collection of congregations that focus on immigration and other human rights issues. Judge Zimmerman, Sonja Peterson, and Artika Tyner will meet with ISAIAH representatives to further discuss possible opportunities for co-sponsorships.


Discuss results of Committee's vote and any additional information regarding the Corrections Ombudsman Working Group's Report and Recommendations

Recommendation
That the MSBA Human Rights Committee supports the recommendations of the Minnesota Department of Human Rights Ombudsman for Corrections Working Group, as set forth in the January 2008 report submitted to the Minnesota State Legislature, specifically the recommendation to recreate the Office of Ombudsman for Corrections. While the report suggests that the office should have a focus on juvenile detentions, the Human Rights Committee recommends that the recreated office focus on services to all offender populations in the state. This recommendation represents the views of the MSBA's Human Rights Committee and it does not represent the views of the entire MSBA.

The Committee unanimously voted via an online survey on February 27, 2008 to adopt this resolution. A letter under the Co-chairs signatures will be sent to Commissioner Korbel indicating the Committee's position (Caroline Palmer will draft the letter). Caroline Palmer attended the Public Finance Committee hearing on February 28, 2008 and reported that the Public Finance Committee was welcoming of the idea of starting an Ombudsman office again but due to the financial situation, it might not happen this year. The Human Rights Committee plans to ask for full MSBA support and put it on the MSBA lobbying list for 2009 if necessary.

Discuss issues related to the Republican National Conference
Results of Committee's vote to co-sponsor the National Lawyers Guild's May 16, 2008 CLE program:

Recommendation
That the MSBA Human Rights Committee agrees to join with MN Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers as a co-sponsor of the National Lawyers Guild CLE tentatively titled "Defending Dissent: Representing Activists and Protesters at the Republic National Convention" to be held Friday, May 16, 2008, at the University of St. Thomas School of Law. It is understood that co-sponsoring does not entail a financial obligation.

The Committee voted unanimously (with one abstention) via an online survey on February 27, 2008 to adopt the resolution. For more information or to register for the CLE program, please visit: http://www.nlgminnesota.org/files/516%20CLE%20Flyer.pdf. It will also be posted on the Human Rights Committee's webpage.

Discuss proposal to develop a CLE program for local government and media:
There was no update as Burt Johnson was not present at the meeting. At the February meeting, Mr. Johnson suggested the Committee explore interest or the need for a seminar for local government agencies regarding local government's response to protest activity during the Republican National Convention. It may be beneficial for local government agencies and perhaps the media to be educated about protester's rights. Mr. Johnson agreed to prepare an outline for a CLE program: organizations or sections that could be asked to co-sponsor the CLE, possible speakers, and content and present the information at the March meeting. Peter Mikhail agreed to connect with Mr. Johnson and work with him on this program.

Update on website revamp
This item was tabled.

Other Business

Artika Tyner reported that the Hennepin County Bar Association New Lawyers Section is sponsoring a book drive during the month of March for Books for Africa (BFA). Books for Africa is a non-profit organization that collects, sorts, ships and distributes books throughout Africa. A collection box is located at the HCBA office during the month of March. NLS will also volunteer at the BFA warehouse located at 775 East Minnehaha Avenue, St. Paul on Saturday, April 5, 2008 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Volunteers will sort and box books for shipment. The Committee voted unanimously to co-sponsor the BFA book drive. Additional information on Books for Africa is available at www.booksforafrica.org.

Next Meeting
The next meeting of the Human Rights Committee will be held on April 21, 2008 at Noon at the MSBA offices.

Meeting adjourned.


Human Rights Committee
Meeting Summary
February 25, 2008 - MSBA Offices

The meeting was chaired by Judge Lloyd Zimmerman.

Members present: Justin Cummins, Burt Johnson, Caroline Palmer, and Amy Slusser. Denise Plachecki, Interim Staff Liaison.

Present by invitation: Frances Buckley (an attorney from Ireland attending at Judge Zimmerman's invitation).

The January meeting summary was approved.

Recommendation to Support Minnesota Department of Human Rights Corrections Ombudsman Working Group's Report

Background
Caroline Palmer provided a brief summary about the Corrections Ombudsman Office and the Working Group's recommendation. Caroline noted that attached to the final report are comments from other organizations indicating support for the Working Group's recommendations as well as comments from a few organizations that indicated they could not comment on the recommendations until they had more time to review the report.

Additional background information can be found in the November 19 Committee minutes; and at the MN Department of Human Rights website (http://www.humanrights.state.mn.us/).

The Public Safety Finance Committee will hold a hearing on Thursday, February 28th; Caroline Palmer plans to attend the hearing as an observer and will provide the Human Rights Committee with updated information during its March meeting.

During the January Committee meeting Caroline Palmer was asked to draft for the Committee's review a recommendation in support of the Working Group's recommendation. The draft recommendation was amended slightly. Members of the Human Rights Committee will be asked to vote (online) on the following amended recommendation:

Recommendation
That the MSBA Human Rights Committee supports the recommendations of the Minnesota Department of Human Rights Ombudsman for Corrections Working Group, as set forth in the January 2008 report submitted to the Minnesota State Legislature, specifically the recommendation to recreate the Office of Ombudsman for Corrections. While the report suggests that the office should have a focus on juvenile detentions, the Human Rights Committee recommends that the recreated office focus on services to all offender populations in the state. This recommendation represents the views of the MSBA's Human Rights Committee and it does not represent the views of the entire MSBA.

If the recommendation is approved by the Human Rights Committee, the Human Rights Committee will seek approval from the MSBA before presenting its recommendation to the Legislature.

Recommendation to Co-Sponsor National Lawyers Guild CLE Seminar

During the January Committee meeting, Caroline Palmer was asked to draft a recommendation in support of co-sponsoring an upcoming National Lawyers Guild's CLE seminar.

Caroline mentioned that the CLE seminar will be held on Friday, May 16, at the University of St. Thomas Law School. The MN Assn of Criminal Defense Lawyers is also a co-sponsor and there may be others; co-sponsorship does not include a financial obligation. The CLE will run from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and the cost is $85 general/$60 for public defender, non-profit, limited income. There will also be a student rate. At this point the agenda includes a session on criminal defense for beginners, a session on the types of charges that are likely to come up when defending protesters, lessons from the NYC RNC 2004 presented by Gideon Oliver, a NYC attorney, possibly a judge's viewpoint of the planning and processing of so many defendants, a presentation by Washington D.C. attorney Marya Verheyden-Hilliard talking about the interaction between law enforcement and activities (including potential illegal activities by law enforcement) and finally a panel of local activists and protesters talking about what they need from attorney-client relationship.

The draft recommendation was amended slightly. Members of the Human Rights Committee will be asked to vote (online) on the following amended recommendation:

Recommendation
That the MSBA Human Rights Committee agrees to join with MN Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers as a co-sponsor of the National Lawyers Guild CLE tentatively titled "Defending Dissent: Representing Activists and Protesters at the Republic National Convention" to be held Friday, May 16, 2008, at the University of St. Thomas School of Law. It is understood that co-sponsoring does not entail a financial obligation.

The Committee also talked about having a judge from Hennepin County and Ramsey County speak to the Committee about their county's plans during the Republican National Convention. Judge Lucy Wieland may be asked to speak to the Committee.

Civic and Human Rights Education for Immigrants

The Committee is still very interested in obtaining information from the immigrant community about the type of education they need. The Committee encourages Sonja Peterson to continue to try to obtain information from ISAIAH and have someone from the organization speak at an upcoming Committee meeting. Judge Zimmerman will ask Kathy Fennelly to speak at the March 17th meeting. Ms. Fennelly is a professor at the Humphrey Institute, some of her areas of expertise include immigration, cross cultural relations, and diversity.

Website

This item was tabled.

Other Business

Burt Johnson suggested the Committee explore interest or the need for a seminar for local government agencies regarding local government's response to protest activity during the Republican National Convention. It may be beneficial for local government agencies and perhaps the media to be educated about protester's rights. Mr. Johnson agreed to prepare an outline for a CLE program: organizations or sections that could be asked to co-sponsor the CLE, possible speakers, and content. He will try to present this information to the Committee during its March meeting.

Next Meeting

The next meeting of the Human Rights Committee will be held on March 17th at Noon at the MSBA offices.

Meeting adjourned.


 

Human Rights Committee
Meeting Summary
January 28, 2008 - MSBA Offices

The meeting was chaired by Judge Lloyd Zimmerman and Kristen Gast.

Members present: Justin Cummins, Peter Mikhail, Caroline Palmer, Sonja Dunnwald Peterson, Artika Tyner, and Lynn Wartchow. Denise Plachecki, Interim Staff Liaison.

Present by invitation: Colleen Beebe, The Advocates for Human Rights, Frances Buckley (an attorney from Ireland attending at Judge Zimmerman's invitation), and Bruce Nestor, National Lawyers Guild

The minutes from the November and December meetings were approved.

Update on Minnesota Department of Human Rights Corrections Ombudsman Working Group:
Caroline Palmer served on the working group and provided the Committee with an update.

Background:
Caroline Palmer provided some background information about the corrections ombudsman office and the working group's charge. Additional background information can be found in the November 19 Committee minutes; and Caroline encouraged Committee members to visit the MN Department of Human Rights website (http://www.humanrights.state.mn.us/) for additional information. The January 2002 Ombudsman for Corrections Report to the MN Legislature can be reviewed at http://archive.leg.state.mn.us/docs/pre2003/mandated/020127.pdf

Update:
Caroline Palmer indicated that the working group completed their report and submitted it to the Legislature. Although it was a challenging task because of all of the viewpoints, the working group did come to a consensus. The working group recommends that the Ombudsman for Corrections office be reopened. The working group's preliminary report was discussed at a hearing on January 17; Caroline Palmer and Kristen Gast were present at the hearing. The working group's report can be reviewed at http://www.humanrights.state.mn.us/resources_ombud_pubdoc.html.

At the direction of the Committee, Caroline Palmer was asked to present a draft resolution to the Committee at its February meeting. The Committee may present the resolution to the Legislature speaking in favor of the working group's report and recommendations.

Presentation from the National Lawyers Guild (NLG):
Bruce Nestor provided information about the National Lawyers Guild.

Bruce Nestor mentioned that it is the National Lawyers Guild's 70th anniversary; it is the first interracial bar association in the United States. The NLG's primary purpose is to defend peoples' right to protest and the right for space to protest.

Because of the National Lawyers Guild's observations during other political events across the United States, they would like to proactively take steps to prepare for the Republican National Convention in hopes that protestors at that event have a different experience than those in other parts of the country. The Republican Convention will be held in the Twin Cities September 1 - 4, 2008.

The National Lawyers Guild is currently working with different agencies. They want to obtain permits, free speech zones, and provide trained legal observers who document interaction between law enforcement and protestors and assist in defense and civil litigation if violations occur. They anticipate having 300 legal observers at the Republican National Convention.

The National Lawyers Guild is planning a May CLE primarily for the criminal defense bar; the seminar will focus on issues related to arrest and representing a political defendant. Attorneys from New York who have experience representing protestors will be the key speakers. The NLG asked the Committee to consider being co-sponsors of the CLE. The NLG will present a more specific request for co-sponsoring the CLE to the Committee at its February meeting. The Committee, with Peter Mikhail abstaining from the vote, asked Caroline Palmer to draft a resolution for the Committee's consideration at its February meeting that would indicate the Committee's approval as a cosponsor of the CLE.

The Committee discussed ways it could be an advocate for citizen engagement. The Committee would like a broad spectrum of points of view presented at the National Lawyers Guild's CLE to help promote the Constitution. If this is not possible, the Committee may explore other ways this can be accomplished.

The Committee asked Bruce Nestor if there were other things it could do. In addition to promoting the CLE event, he indicated that the Committee could promote the need for legal observers. No action was taken on this item.

Discussion of Civic and Human Rights Education for Immigrants:
Colleen Beebe from The Advocates for Human Rights, which is the organization's new name, provided information to the Committee about the organization including volunteer opportunities as well as the scope of the organization's work. For more information, please visit their website: http://www.mnadvocates.org/.

The Committee asked Colleen to keep it informed of how it could help the organization.

Refugees and Immigrants Education:
Sonja Peterson will continue to try to obtain information from ISAIAH. Sonja will ask if a person from the organization can speak at the February meeting. The Committee remains interested in learning from the immigrant community what type of education they feel would be helpful to them.

Update on Website Revamp:
Because of the presentations and discussions, there was not time to discuss this item. It was tabled until the February meeting.

Next Meeting:
The Committee will meet on February 25, 2008, at Noon at the MSBA Offices. Please note that February 21 is the Presidents Day Holiday and the MSBA is closed.

Meeting adjourned.


Human Rights Committee
Meeting Summary
December 17, 2007 - MSBA Offices

The meeting was chaired by Judge Lloyd Zimmerman and Kristen Gast.

Members present: Justin Cummins, Margaret Erickson (by phone); Warren Ortland, Sonja Peterson, Artika Tyner, Lynn Warthchow, and Tram Nguyen (MSBA Staff Liaison).

The approval of the minutes from the November meeting was deferred to the January meeting so that everyone could have a chance to review them.

Pakistan Resolution:
Judge Zimmerman drafted the resolution that was circulated to the Committee for vote via email on December 7. A quorum was met on December 10 all in support of the resolution. Kristen Gast presented the resolution to the MSBA General Policy Committee for approval on December 12 and the resolution was approved with some minor edits. The amended resolution was presented at the MSBA Assembly meeting on December 14 by Judge Zimmerman and Kristen Gast and it was passed unanimously, with one abstention. The MSBA-approved resolution reads as follows:

RECOMMENDATON

That the MSBA pass the following resolution:
That the MSBA joins the actions of the ABA and other bar associations around the country, condemning the actions against judges and lawyers in Pakistan, and supporting the rule of law;

That the MSBA calls for the release of lawyers and judges who have been arrested, imprisoned, or removed from office because of their support for the rule of law in Pakistan; and

That the MSBA calls on the United States government to use its influence to restore the rule of law in Pakistan, and to secure the release of lawyers, judges, and others who have been imprisoned or detained because of their support for the rule of law.

A motion was made by Judge Zimmerman to give thanks to the MSBA staff for their help with the resolution. The Committee approved and motion was carried.

Refugees and Immigrants Education:
The Committee discussed the importance of soliciting feedback from the immigrant communities to determine what kind of education they need/want before proceeding. Representatives from ISAIAH and Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights will be invited to speak at the January meeting for a brainstorming session (Sonja Peterson will contact ISAIAH; Kristen Gast will contact Minnesota Advocates).

New Business

Republican Convention 2008: Warren Ortland mentioned that different groups, including the National Lawyers Guild, are planning things to do to ensure civil, human, and first amendment rights are protected during the convention and suggested that the Human Rights Committee get involved. The Committee will invite a representative from the Guild to speak at the February meeting (Warren will contact Caroline Palmer, who is a member of the Board).

University of Minnesota Human Rights Center: Judge Zimmerman indicated that it would be great for the Committee to work with this organization on future projects. The Committee will invite a representative from this organization to speak at one of our meetings

Committee's webpage: Kristen Gast will take lead in the revamping of the committee's webpage (as was discussed at the October meeting) and hopes to have a mock-up of the new and improved content at a future meeting. If anyone has ideas for what they want to include on the webpage, please contact Kristen at kgast@faegre.com.

Next Meeting:
The Committee will meet on January 28, 2007 at Noon at the MSBA offices. Please note that January 21 is Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday and the MSBA offices will be closed.

Meeting adjourned.


Human Rights Committee
Meeting Summary
November 19, 2007 - MSBA Offices

The meeting was chaired by Judge Lloyd Zimmerman. Co-chair Kristen Gast could not make it to the meeting and sent her apologies.

Members present: David Ahlvers, Katherine Belzowski, Roger Branigin, Margaret Erickson (by phone), Kevin Finnerty, Burt Johnson, Lee McGrath, Peter Mikhail, Sonja Peterson, and Tram Nguyen (MSBA Staff Liaison).

Present by invitation: Caroline Palmer, MSBA Pro Bono Development Director and Elizabeth Anderson (1L from St. Thomas, observing).

The minutes from the October meeting were approved.

Minnesota Department of Human Rights Corrections Ombudsman Working Group:
Caroline Palmer serves as the MSBA staff liaison to this working group and was present at the meeting to provide the Committee with some updates and obtain feedback.

Background: The legislature tasked the Minnesota Department of Human Rights with this undertaking and the group is charged with determining whether the corrections ombudsman office should be reinstated in Minnesota. It was dissolved in 2003 after operating for a little over 20 years as part of the executive branch. Here is a link to some of the background materials gathered from the legislative library: http://www.leg.state.mn.us/webcontent/lrl/pdf/ombudsman.pdf

Many complaints from inmates and their families now go to individual legislators.
The work group is comprised of corrections representatives, community advocates, legislative representatives, and others. There has been growing pushback from the corrections representatives regarding the reinstatement of an ombudsman, culminating in some strong opinions being voiced in response to reports given by three former ombudsmen. Many of the corrections folks feel an ombudsman is necessary because they have a grievance process in place.

Update: The working group is working toward "something" and would like to obtain feedback on whether or not the Committee thinks there should be an ombudsman office or something similar to that; and if not, what should be in its place. A report is due at the legislature on January 15. Any feedback and comments should be directed to Caroline at cpalmer@mnbar.org or 612/278-6308.

Refugees and Immigrants Education Resources:
Roger Branigin provided an overview of various resources that may be used as or adapted to a program aimed at educating refugees and immigrants on human and civil rights. The materials reviewed can be broken down into four categories:

1. Human rights lesson plans and seminars, many of which were prepared for elementary and/or secondary school students;

2. Literacy initiatives with a special focus on informing refugees and immigrants of their civil rights;

3. Information on various mentoring programs designed to provide practical, one-on-one assistance to refugees and immigrants as they navigate various aspects of the immigration law system and/or American judicial system, e.g., ICE detention, spousal abuse;

4. Brochures and other materials on human rights to be broadly disseminated to various immigrant and refugee population groups.

Given the different focus for each of the categories, the first thing that the Committee needs to decide is where we want to take our initiative. What audience do we want to target? The consensus from the Committee is that many immigrant communities would appreciate and welcome this type of education. The Committee thanked Roger for his hard work and will further discuss this at the December meeting.

Proposed Resolution from the MSBA Diversity Committee for MSBA Task Force on Rights of Same-Sex Couples:
Dave Ahlvers presented the Committee with the following resolution and requested support from the Committee to jump on board with the Diversity Committee and other organizations that will be impacted by the changes:

RESOLVED: That, in light of the disparity between legal rights and protections available to same-sex couples as compared to different-sex couples, the President of the Minnesota State Bar Association create a task force to review the current state of Minnesota law and to make recommendations as to desirable changes, if any, in the law to address this disparity. The President is encouraged to invite broad participation by MSBA members from relevant sections and committees with a goal of producing a report to be considered by the MSBA Assembly no later than its June, 2009 meeting.

The Committee voted to support the resolution.

Pakistan Resolution:
The Committee would like to adopt a resolution in response to the Pakistan situation. It will be a 2-part resolution: 1) supports the plight of the rule of law in Pakistan; and 2) praises MSBA President Brian Melendez for the MSBA's quick action at the November 14 rally. Judge Zimmerman will draft the resolution to be circulated via email to the Committee for approval.

Next Meeting:
December 17, 2007 at Noon at the MSBA offices.

Meeting adjourned.


Human Rights Committee
Meeting Summary
October 15, 2007 - MSBA Offices

The meeting was chaired by Kristen Gast. Co-Chair Judge Zimmerman could not make it to the meeting and sent his abject apologies.

Members present: Roger Branigin, Kevin Finnerty, Peter Mikhail, Sonja Peterson, Amy Slusser, Artika Tyner, and Tram Nguyen (MSBA Staff Liaison).

Co-Chair Kristen Gast welcomed and thanked everyone for coming to the Committee's first meeting of the 2007/08 bar year. Introductions were made.

Sponsored Event: Human Rights, Civil Rights, and Treaty Rights CLE - September 29, 2007
The Committee co-sponsored this CLE with the League of Minnesota Human Rights Commissions on September 29 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Mille Lacs Casino in Onamia, MN. The conference focused on American Indian human rights issues in Minnesota. Morris Dees of the Southern Poverty Law Center was the key note speaker. It was well attended with over 300 attendees. 4 CLE credits were approved.

Committee Representative to the MSBA task force on translating MSBA legal forms
Peter Mikhail volunteered to serve as the Committee Liaison to this Task Force.

Committee Representative to Corrections Ombudsman Working Group
Thanks to Caroline Palmer, MSBA Pro Bono Development Director, for continuing to serve as the Liaison to this working group. Caroline will keep the Committee updated; however, if anyone wants to be more involved in this working group or get more information, please contact Caroline at cpalmer@mnbar.org.

Brainstorm: Projects for 2007-08
1) Community outreach efforts in regards to immigration issues.
a) Possible joint efforts with the Civic Education Committee (Kevin Finnerty will follow up), Immigration Law Section (Kristen Gast will follow up), and other existing initiatives (Robert Branigin and Sonja Peterson will follow up).
2) Land use
a) Kristen Gast will follow up with Minnesota Environmental Advocates to see if there is anything going on in this area.
3) Rule of law
a) Make connections with the local organizations to see what is happening in this area. Richard Branigin will follow up with Minnesota Advocates
4) Asylum issues/ education/training
a) Possible joint efforts with New Lawyers Section (Amy Slusser will follow up) and Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights (Kristen Gast will follow up).
5) Legislative
a) The committee will continue to monitor legislation affecting human rights and will take action when necessary.
6) Updating website
a) Kristen Gast will be developing additions to the website and will bring the list to the November meeting for the Committee to review. If anyone has ideas, please feel free to forward them to Kristen at kgast@faegre.com

Next meeting:
Monday, November 19 at noon at the MSBA offices.

 

 

Human Rights Committee
Meeting Summary
April 16, 2007 - MSBA Offices

The meeting was chaired by Emily Good.

Members present: Justin Cummins, Warren Ortland, Mollie Smith, Lloyd Zimmerman, and Tram Nguyen (MSBA staff).

Guests: Nancy Walrich and Abigail Johnson, St. Thomas School of Law

May meeting guest - Arnold Tsunga:
Emily Good reported that Mr. Tsunga, an internationally-celebrated civil rights leader, may not be able to speak the May meeting as previously planned. The Committee will explore other dates.

Legislative update:
No update.

Action re raids on workplaces by immigration authorities:
The following options were discussed:

1) Draft a resolution, whether as a Committee alone or jointly with other groups including the Labor and Employment Law Section, urging that the rule of law be upheld when conducting these raids, and encouraging the creation of an independent Commission to oversee the process and ensure that there is some transparency. Emily will draft the language and will circulate it to the Committee for review. Justin Cummins reported that the MSBA Labor and Employment Law Section is receptive to do something jointly with the Committee.

2) Sponsor a public forum in September of 2007 at one of the law schools. Emily will write a letter to ICE to see if they are interested in participating.

3) Sponsor a CLE program as part of Human Rights Day. Emily will follow up with Sonja Peterson on the timeline for program submission.

Chair for 2007-08:
Emily's term as Chair will be expiring June 30, 2007. If you are interested in being the Chair for 2007/08, please email Tram Nguyen at tnguyen@mnbar.org. All appointments will be made my incoming President Brian Melendez.

Next meeting:
The Committee will meet next on May 21, 2007 at noon at the MSBA offices.


Human Rights Committee
Meeting Summary
January 22, 2007 - MSBA Offices

The meeting was chaired by Emily Good.

Members present: Justin Cummins, Kirk Lund, Sonja Peterson, Lloyd Zimmerman, and Tram Nguyen (MSBA staff).


Maria Inamagua Update
a) Report on CLE on Human Rights Day:
The CLE went well, with about 25-30 attendees. The program focused on human rights treaties and the applicability of those in every day life.

Minnesota Department of Human Rights
Justin Cummins reported that during his talks with Linda Hansen, she indicated that the Department is limited to what they can initiate with regards to changes to the Human Rights Act. The Committee will continue to be in discussions with the Department for updates and strategies to initiate change.

Legislative Update
The Committee discussed the Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the recent raids that happened in January. It was recommended that the Committee send a letter to Senator Keith Ellison and encourage him to make sure that the person being appointed to the ICE understands the duties involved. The Committee will seek co-signatories from the MSBA Immigration Law and Labor/Employment Law Sections.


Next Meeting
The Committee will meet next on February 26, 2007 at noon at the MSBA offices.


Human Rights Committee
Meeting Summary
November 20, 2006 - MSBA Offices

The meeting was chaired by Emily Good.

Members present: Justin Cummins, Warren Ortland, Sonja Peterson, and Tram Nguyen (MSBA staff).

Present by invitation: Peter Brown, Minnesota Chapter of National Lawyers Guild

Update on MSBA legislative positions
The following resolutions were voted at the October meeting but we did not have a quorum therefore additional votes were sought via email (these positions already exist, we are simply making the wording more general). The resolutions were passed as follows:

1) Resolved that in an era when safeguarding Minnesotans' civil rights has become more important than ever, the Legislature should not move to withdraw, or more narrowly define, any currently-protected class from the scope of the Minnesota Human Rights Act.
2) Resolved that the MSBA opposed legislation seeking reinstatement of the death penalty in Minnesota.
3) Resolved that the MSBA supports clarification of the Minnesota Human Rights Act to clarify that a tenant's guest is entitled to protection under the Minnesota Human Rights Act

Continue Discussion of resolution proposals related to Maria Inamagua issue
a) Review options:
The Committee discussed the proposal from the Campaign at the meetings on September 18 and October 16. Among the concerns expressed by committee members was that the resolution was too narrow, and that it may not be appropriate to request action from the General Assembly on an individual case. In response, the Campaign explained that the investigation would ensure that no other person suffers the same harm as Maria, and as such it was quite a broad issue and well within the scope of the Human Rights Committee. The Committee proposed broadening the language of the resolution to the MSBA so it would include a more general position about the observance of human rights standards in the state of Minnesota. There was some discussion about whether this issue was limited to detention issues only, or had a broader implication. There was also concern that an overly broad resolution that was not tied to a specific legislative initiative or larger issue might not be successful before the Assembly. The Committee agreed that the Maria Inamagua case was illustrative, and that any proposal brought to the Assembly should include the case as an example of the need for human rights standards to be better recognized.

The Committee agreed that education of the Bar, in the form of CLE programs, was important. The Committee is participating in a panel on Human Rights Day discussing the use of Human Rights Treaties locally, which was proposed by the Campaign.

Listed below are different proposals relating to this issue. The Campaign would like quick action, as the investigation may conclude soon. The first proposal is from the Campaign and is the language specific to Ms. Inamagua's case, urging the thorough investigation, and formal support from the MSBA. The first alternate committee proposal was crafted based on discussion at the meeting, and reflects the interest in broader language and still would send a resolution to the MSBA. The second alternate committee proposal reflects the discussion of the committee and the desire for additional education before sending a resolution to the MSBA.

I. Maria Inamagua Campaign for Justice Proposal:

That the Human Rights Committee of the Minnesota State Bar Association will take timely action to initiate a resolution to be brought to the General Assembly of the Minnesota State Bar Association which would place the MSBA officially on record as supporting that the federal investigation undertaken into the death of Maria Inamagua should include an assessment and certification of compliance or non-compliance by Ramsey County officials and employees and Department of Homeland Security officials and employees with applicable provisions of the human rights treaties.

(The proposal to the MSBA would then be …)
Be it resolved:
The MSBA officially supports the federal investigation into the death of Maria Inamagua including an assessment and certification of whether or not the staff of Ramsey County Jail and the Department of Homeland Security complied with the requirements of the applicable human rights treaties in their response to Ms. Inamagua's condition.

II. Alternate Committee Proposals:

1. That the Human Rights Committee of the MSBA will initiate a resolution to be brought before the General Assembly of the MSBA which would encourage compliance by all Minnesota detention facilities with the requirements set out in the various human rights treaties to which the United States is a signatory.

(The resolution proposed to the MSBA would then be…)
Be it resolved:
The MSBA encourages all Minnesota detention facilities to comply with the requirements set out in the various human rights treaties to which the United States is a signatory.

-OR-

2. That the Human Rights Committee of the MSBA will develop CLE programs to educate the greater Bar about the applicability of human rights treaties to state, local and federal agencies throughout the State of Minnesota. Based on the response to the CLE programs, the Committee will determine whether a resolution to the greater MSBA is appropriate and what the wording of that resolution might be.

Currently, the Committee still does not have a quorum to determine the next direction; therefore, the Committee will continue to discuss this at our upcoming meetings.

b) Discuss CLE/education ideas and assign committee members to help develop:
The Committee is participating in a panel on Human Rights Day discussing the use of Human Rights Treaties locally, which was proposed by the Campaign. Depending on how the audience responds to this panel presentation, the Committee will consider doing a CLE in early February or late March on this issue.

Human Rights Day
Human Rights Day is scheduled for December 1 at the St. Paul RiverCentre. Dr. Mary Frances Berry is the keynote speaker. The Committee is participating in a panel on Human Rights Day discussing the use of Human Rights Treaties locally, which was proposed by the Campaign.


Next Meeting
The Committee will meet next on December 18, 2006 at noon at the MSBA offices.


Human Rights Committee
Meeting Summary
September 18, 2006 - MSBA Offices

The meeting was chaired by Emily Good.

Members present: Justin Cummins, Warren Ortland, Sonja Peterson, Mollie Smith, and Tram Nguyen (MSBA staff).

Present by invitation: Peter Brown, Minnesota Chapter of National Lawyers Guild

Emily Good welcomed everyone to the first meeting of the 2006/2007 bar year and thanked everyone for serving on the Committee.

Update on Health Care CLE on September 20
Warren Ortland reported that everything is set for the CLE. It was reported that to date there are 25 people who have signed up for the Program. The Committee thanked and applauded Warren for his great work on putting together the Program.

Peter Brown - Maria Inamagua Campaign
Peter Brown presented a proposal on behalf of the Maria Inamagua Campaign for Justice. The Campaign was formed as a grassroots response to the death of Maria Inamagua, an Ecuadorean immigrant who was being held in the Ramsey County Jail pending deportation. Ms. Inamagua's death raised issues of her access to medical care that may have helped prevent her death. The Campaign is seeking a broader forum to advocate for the practical application of human rights treaties in seeking to ensure that what befell Ms. Inamagua does not happen to anyone else.

The Committee today began to vote to adopt a resolution as follows:

"That the Human Rights Committee of the Minnesota State Bar Association will communicate its concern and seek confirmation from the Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties within the Department of Homeland Security that its investigation into the death of Maria Inamagua will include assessment and certification of compliance or non-compliance by Ramsey County officials and employees as well as Department of Homeland Security officials and employees with applicable provisions of the human rights treaties."

All those present at the meeting voted to adopt the above resolution, however, a quorum was not met therefore an email will be sent to the Committee asking members to vote via email. Essentially, the Committee would agree to send a letter to the Office of Civil Rights (in the Department of Homeland Security) encouraging their investigation of the incident and encouraging them to assess the compliance of the agencies involved with applicable treaties and provisions.

There are additional actions the Committee is considering in connection with this issue which will be explored further at the next meeting.

For more information about the Maria Inamagua case: (Information provided by Peter Brown)
http://www.mapm.org/nlgnews/NewsRelease07-28.pdf#search=%22maria%20inamagua%22

Human Rights Day
Human Rights Day is scheduled for December 1 at the St. Paul RiverCentre. Dr. Mary Frances Berry is the keynote speaker.

Goals and Planning for the Year
This will be tabled to the next meeting.

Next Meeting
The Committee will meet next on October 16, 2006 at noon at the MSBA offices.

 


 

Human Rights Committee
Meeting Summary
April 17, 2006
MSBA Offices - Honors Room

The meeting was chaired by Emily Good.

Members present: Justin Cummins, Mark Frey, Warren Ortland, Sonja Peterson, Mollie Smith, Valerie Tremelat, Lloyd Zimmerman, and Tram Thai of the MSBA staff.

Special guest: Professor Anita Ho

The Committee welcomed Profession Ho and thanked her for speaking to us on ethics and access to health care in Canada and the United States. Professor Ho gave an overview of her work in this area and answered questions from committee members. The Committee hope to bring Professor Ho back for the September Health Care CLE.

September Health Care CLE:
Warren Ortland has is in the process of securing speakers and will have an update at the May meeting. A suggestion was made to include a discrimination aspect to the program. Emily Good and Warren Ortland will put together a more specific program outline for the May meeting.

Legislative Update:
a) Immigration Proposals
i. Federal: The House and Senate have not reached a compromise so the proposal is currently stalled.
ii. State: The proposal is currently broken down into different pieces (drivers license, ordinance separation, etc)
iii. Committee Motion: The Committee voted via email to adopt the two motions entertained at the March meeting (opposing bills H.F. 3308 and H.F. 1443)
iv. Immigration Law Section: The Section is interested in joint action with the Human Rights Committee on immigration proposals
b) Voter registration - no update
c) Marriage Amendment - This was defeated in the Senate Judiciary Committee so this proposal will likely not go forward.

Minnesota Department of Human Rights - Speaker/Joint CLE:
We are tentatively planning for something in late fall or in conjunction with Human Rights Day. This will be further discussed at future meetings.

Next Meeting: May 15, 2006 at noon at the MSBA offices.

Meeting adjourned.


Human Rights Committee
Meeting Summary
March 20, 2006
MSBA Offices - Honors Room

The meeting was chaired by Emily Good.

Members present: Justin Cummins, Sonja Peterson, Mollie Smith, Valerie Tremelat, and Tram Thai of the MSBA staff.

September health Care CLE update:
Warren Ortland will continue to work on securing panelists and will report back at the next meeting with possible dates. The Committee is tentatively looking at mid-September.

Legislative Issues:
a) Marriage Amendment:
Staff will check to see if this will be part of MSBA's lobbying efforts this session.
b) Immigration Legislation:
A motion was raised to oppose the current Immigration Legislation that is pending in the Minnesota House - Bill H.F. 3308. Among other things, this legislation would overturn the city separation ordinances that protect immigrants from discrimination. A second motion was raised to oppose the current Voting legislation, which is also pending in the Minnesota Legislature - H.F. 1443. This bill would require people to present proof of citizenship when registering to vote and would require a photo ID when actually voting. The spirit of this bill runs counter to the motor-voter act, which intended to make it easier for people to register to vote (and vote) and therefore encourage greater participation in elections. The members present voted to adopt both motions, however, we did not have enough votes to make quorum therefore voting will take place via email. At this point, the Committee is seeking an up or down vote on these two motions. Additional actions may follow once the motions are approved. Emily Good will contact the Immigration Law Section to see if they want to have joint actions.

Other Business:
Sonja Peterson reported that the Minnesota Department of Human Rights is concerned there is a lack education/discussion on the Minnesota Human Rights Act (as compared to the federal act) and would like to work with the Committee to put on a CLE program highlighting the MHRA. Perhaps have a comparative discussion between federal EEOC and state EEOC. Justin Cummins will bring this to the attention of the Labor and Employment Law Section and will report back at the next meeting.

Next Meeting:
The Committee will meet on April 17, 2006 at noon at the MSBA offices.

Meeting adjourned.


Human Rights Committee
Meeting Summary
February 27, 2006

The meeting was chaired my Emily Good.

Members Present: Justin Cummins, Warren Ortland, Sonja Peterson, Mollie Smith, Valerie Tremelat, Lloyd Zimmerman, and Tram Thai (MSBA staff).

Special guest: Valerie Vasicheck

Laurie Vasicheck - EEOC information
Ms Vasicheck reported that the EEOC has been re-organized as of January 1, 2006. The restructuring of the EEOC was a result of a study that was done to determine ways that the EEOC can be more responsive. The study provided several proposals to this end: 1) creation of a call center; 2) reorganization of field officers; and 3) potential organization of the D.C. headquarters.

North Country CLE wrap-up
The February 24 CLE was a success, with about 100 people in attendance. The committee was pleased with how everything turned out. Sonja Peterson and Lloyd Zimmerman will be writing thank-you letters to the panelists.

Health Care CLE planning/decision making
Warren Ortland reported that Professor Ho is on board as one of the panelists, but he is having problems securing other speakers, especially a legislator due to the legislative session (which will start March 1). It was suggested that if the committee felt it is important to have a legislator on the panel that the CLE should be postponed until after session, possibly in September or October. The committee agreed that it was important to have a legislator on the panel; therefore the committee decided to postpone the program until September so that legislators would be more available.

Emily Good will contact the MSBA Health Law Section to see if they want to co-sponsor the event. It was suggested that it be a 3-hour program (instead of a noon hour), and it'd be held at one of the graduate schools. The committee plans to have date and speakers and other details in place by September

It was also suggested that we invite Professor Ho to our April 17 meeting to discuss access to health care issues.

Immigration Action - Annoucement on March 1, 2006 event
URGENT CALL TO ACTION
Your presence is urgently needed
Wednesday, March 1st to oppose anti-immigrant legislation!

WHEN: Wed., March 1, 2006 from
1:00-2:15 P.M.
WHERE: Room 10 of the State Office
Building at the Capitol
WHY: Minneapolis, Saint Paul, and other cities have passed ordinaces to keep immigration enforcement out of community policing. H.F. 2576 seeks to overturn these ordinances. Elected officials, police chiefs, social service providers, and immigrant advocates have spoken out against proposals like H.F. 2576. It is critical to have a good show of support at the hearing to let legislators know how Minnesotans feel.


Next Meeting
The Committee will meet next on Monday, March 20 at noon at the MSBA Offices.

Meeting adjourned.


Human Rights Committee
Meeting Summary
January 23, 2006

The meeting was chaired my Emily Good.

Members Present: Justin Cummins, Mark Frey, Ani Hartzheim, Warren Ortland, Sonja Peterson, Stephen Smith, Valerie Tremelat, and Tram Thai (MSBA staff).

Status of North Country CLE Event
The program will take place on February 24 at the Heights Theater in Columbia Heights from 12-4 p.m. Mark Frey & Emily Good are working out the contract details. Panelists will include Jean Boler, Penny Phillips, Dick Kaspari, and Judge Lay. Judge Zimmerman and Sonja Peterson will serve as moderators.

April Health Care CLE
It is tentatively scheduled for the week of April 10 or 17. Warren Ortland is working on securing the speakers. Updates will be given at the next meeting.


Legislative Update
Immigration issue - Pawlenty report and National bills:
The committee is concerned about possible legislation requiring public services employees to inquire about people's immigration status. The committee will keep on a look out for this and to take action as necessary.

The Legislative session begins on March 1, 2006. Immigration, health care, Human Rights Act, and the marriage amendment are possible areas to be covered during this short session.

CLE credit for Pro Bono Legal Services
Caroline Palmer, MSBA Pro Bono Development Director, was present to ask the Committee's support in joining the Legal Assistance to the Disadvantaged Committee's (LAD) proposal to establish CLE credit for pro bono legal services for inclusion under Rule 6 (Special Categories of Credit) of the MN State Board of CLE. The LAD Committee will present this proposal at the MSBA Assembly meeting in April. Motion was made for the Human Rights Committee to support this proposal. Motion was seconded, and carried. If the Assembly approves the proposal, it will be taken to the Minnesota Supreme Court for vote.

Convention CLE
The Legal Assistance to the Disadvantaged Committee is sponsoring a CLE on civil Gideon (right to counsel) to be held at the June MSBA Convention in Brainerd. Caroline Palmer who also serves as the LAD Committee's staff liaison asked for the Committee's support. Motion was made for the Human Rights Committee to co-sponsor the CLE program. Motion was seconded and carried.

Next Meeting
The Committee will meet next on Monday, February 27, at Noon at the MSBA Offices.

Meeting adjourned.


Human Rights Committee
Meeting Summary
December 19, 2005

The meeting was chaired my Emily Good.

Members Present: Justin Cummins, Mark Frey, Warren Ortland, Laura Young, and Judge Lloyd Zimmerman, and Denise Plachecki (MSBA staff).

Status of North Country CLE Event
The Committee prefers to hold the CLE event at The Heights on a Friday in February. Mark Frey will contact The Heights for available dates and forward this information to the Committee.

There was discussion about who should participate on the panel. Members of the defense counsel have declined the Committee's invitations to participate in a panel discussion that follows the presentation of the movie. After discussion, the Committee concluded that Judges Lay and Rosenbaum should be asked to participate in the panel. Judge Zimmerman will contact Judges Lay and Rosenbaum as well as Jean Boler to ask about their interest and availability to speak on the panel in February.

At this time, the Committee is not able to finalize a budget for the event. The Heights will charge $500 for renting the film, providing a projectionist, and renting the theatre. After the panel members are finalized and their travel expenses known, a budget will be created to determine the registration fee, if the two sponsoring organizations need to be asked to contribute funds, and/or if the MSBA's Council will be asked for funding. Emily Good is going to contact the Chair of the Civil Litigation Section to inquire about the Section's interest in being a sponsor.

Because there will be a panel discussion following viewing the movie, it is recommended that three CLE credits be applied for.

Health Care CLE
The Committee would like to present its Health Care CLE program in April. Warren Ortland will contact Senator Berglin's office, Dorsey and Whitney attorneys and former Senator Dave Durenberger to determine their interest and availability in April. The Committee would like to use the program it designed in June 2005.

After the speakers are finalized, the Committee will review the program content and determine if the program could be completed in 1.5 hours or if it should be scheduled for 2 to 3 hours. If the Committee feels the program will draw more than 40 registrants, the program will not be held at the MSBA Offices.

Guest Speakers for Meetings
Emily Good distributed a draft letter to Laurie Vasicheck at the EEOC for review and comment. The letter is an invitation for Ms. Vasicheck to speak to the Human Rights Committee at its February 27 meeting; it highlights the types of information the Committee would like her to address during the meeting. The Committee approved the letter, which will include a copy of a letter the Committee previously sent to the EEOC.

Legislative Update
The Legislative session begins on March 1, 2006. Immigration, health care, Human Rights Act, and the marriage amendment are possible areas to be covered during this short session.

The Committee will be discussing possible actions its members and other groups may be asked to take about the Governor's comments about immigration. Emily Good will draft a letter for Committee review and approval during their January meeting. Committee members may be asked to quickly send the letter to the Governor and their legislative representatives. The Committee feels more balanced information about immigration could be provided by the Governor.

Next Meeting
The Committee will meet next on Monday, January 23, at Noon at the MSBA Offices. Please note this meeting is not held on January 16 because it is the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday.


Human Rights Committee
Meeting Summary
November 21, 2005

The meeting was chaired by Mark Frey at Emily Good's request.

Members present: Justin Cummins, Erika Donner, Sonja Dunwald Peterson, Mollie Smith, Valerie Tremelat, and Denise Plachecki (MSBA Staff)

Status of "North Country" themed CLE

Speakers
There was discussion about potential speakers. Judge Lay has agreed to participate on the panel. Mary Stooma is considering the request. Justin Cummins will ask David Goldstein if he is interested in participating on the panel. The Committee would like to have the defense side of the case represented on the panel; however, if the invited speakers decline, this may not be possible. The primary purpose of the CLE program may be to highlight both the human perspective rather and the legal perspective of the issues.

Date, Location, Co-Sponsors
The Committee felt it would be difficult to hold the event in December. Mark Frey received responses from two of the theatres he contacted. Because of The Heights convenient location, reasonable rental and technical fees, and their ability to procure the film, the Committee prefers this site to the Walker. Justin Cummins indicated that the MSBA Labor and Employment Law Section and The MN Chapter of National Employment Lawyers Association were interested in co-sponsoring the event. Mark Frey will ask Judge Zimmerman if he can contact Jean Boler and Lois Jenson to determine their availability in January. Mark Frey will also ask Judge Zimmerman if he has additional information; if so, Mark will distribute the information.

Budget and CLE Credits
There was a brief discussion about expenses. If the Committee determines that revenue will not cover expenses, they will need to ask the MSBA for funding to cover expenses. Denise Plachecki will obtain information about the MSBA's process for submitting funding requests. Denise will also obtain information from MSBA staff about the number of CLE credits that should be requested for this program.

New Business

Letter to EEOC
As a follow up to the Committee's letter to the EEOC about restructuring, Justin Cummins will ask Laurie Vasicheck if she can speak at the February 27 Committee meeting about the status and strategies.

Next Meeting

The Committee will meet next on Monday, December 19, at Noon at the MSBA Offices.


Human Rights Committee
Meeting Summary
October 24, 2005

The meeting was chaired my Emily Good.

Members Present: Justin Cummins, Mark Frey, Sonja Peterson, Steve Smith, Lloyd Zimmerman, and Tram Thai (MSBA staff).

Plans for the 2005-06 Committee Year:
The Committee discussed at the last meeting on doing 3 CLE programs. Topics include: diversity, access to health care, and poverty. Tentative dates are December, February and May. At this meeting, the Committee discussed the need to form subcommittees. A message will be sent via the committee listserv asking for interested members to serve on the subcommittees and work on these programs.

Emily Good received a memo from the Convention Committee inviting all MSBA sections and substantive committees to submit proposals for consideration for the Policy Track to be presented at the MSBA 2006 Convention in Brainerd, Minnesota. The Policy Track will focus on significant, timely, even controversial policy and legal issues. The overarching theme for this one and half day track will be "Access to Quality Justice", a key priority of the MSBA for 2005-2006. It was the consensus of those present at the September and October meetings that the Committee will not be doing a solo CLE program at the Convention due to budget constraints and difficulties in securing speakers. The Committee is open to co-sponsoring with other committees and/or sections on a joint program. Emily Good will follow up on the memo.

A new CLE idea was brought up by Judge Lloyd Zimmerman of doing a CLE in December or January on the movie "North Country" and issues surrounding sexual harassment and civil liberties. The program would consist of a showing of the movie, followed by a panel discussion. It could be held at one of the law schools or at the local theatres. Potential speakers were explored, including: Judge Lay, Judge Magnuson, Mary Stooma, Jean Boller, Lois Jenson, and David Goldstein. Potential co-sponsors include the Labor and Employment Law Section (Justin will contact) and the Civil Litigation Section (Emily Good will contact). Mark Frey will check with the following theatres: RiverView, Oak Street, The Heights, and The Walker. Lloyd Zimmerman will make the initial contacts with potential speakers. Tentative dates are: December 9, December 16, and Fridays in January.

EEOC Response:
The Committee has not received any response to the letters that were sent last year soliciting additional information on the restructuring of the EEOC. Justin Cummins will check with Laurie Vasicheck at the EEOC and also the union advocate to get their input on follow up strategies. The Committee discussed inviting Vasicheck to speak at one of our meetings.

Diversity Task Force Involvement:
The Committee will send a letter to MSBA President Susan Holden supporting the idea that Diversity Task Force's focus be expanded to include disability and sexual orientation, and also to offer the committee's assistance in any work that needs to be done.

Legislative Activity:
No update.

Next Meeting:
The Committee will meet next on Monday, December 19 at noon at the MSBA Offices.

Meeting adjourned.


Human Rights Committee
Meeting Summary
September 19, 2005
MSBA Honors Room

The meeting was chaired by Emily Good.

Members Present: Mark Frey, Andrea Guenther-Pal, Peter Mikhail, Warren Ortland, Sonja Peterson, Evon Spangler, Valerie Tremelat, and Tram Thai (MSBA staff).

Emily Good welcomed everyone to the first meeting of the 2005-06 bar year. Brief introductions were made.

Assembly Resolutions Recap:
Emily reported that the following resolutions were adopted by the MSBA Assembly on June 17, 2005:
(1) Resolution: That the MSBA should address the increasing attacks on the Judiciary; and (2) Resolution: That the MSBA should affirm the legal commitment to civil liberties.

Emily will follow up with MSBA lobbyist Lloyd Grooms to determine if any follow up work has been done since then.

Emily also recapped the Committee's work last year, which mainly focused on issues surrounding torture.

Human Rights Day - December 2, 2005 at RiverCentre - CLE Program:
The Committee has traditionally done something in connection with Human Rights day and would like to be on the schedule again if there is a slot available. Emily will check and will report back at the next meeting.

Brainstorming ideas for 2005-06 activities:
The Committee offered the following ideas as potential projects for the year:

1) CLE programs
Topics: diversity, access to health care, and poverty.
Tentative time: December, February, and May.
Plan: We will collaborate with other sections and committees (Diversity Committee, Health Law Section, and LAD Committee). There was a suggestion to incorporate a pro bono component to the programs. We will pick dates and form subcommittee groups at the next meeting.

2) Guest speakers
Invite someone from the EEOC and/or Minnesota Department of Human Rights speak at one of our meetings.

3) Follow up on letters to EEOC
The Committee briefly discussed follow-up strategy with the EEOC restructuring. Emily will check with Justin Cummins regarding the best way to proceed.

4) MSBA Diversity Task Force involvement
Motion was made and adopted for the Committee to recommend to the MSBA that the focus for the Task Force on Diversity be expanded to include disability and sexual orientation. There was discussion on what role the Committee could play in terms of assisting the Task Force.

Meeting schedule for 2005-06:
The Committee will meet monthly on the third Monday at noon at the MSBA Offices. Note that the third Monday in January and February are national holidays, therefore, the Committee will meet on the following Monday instead.

Next meeting:
Unless otherwise noted, the Committee will meet next on Monday, October 17, 20005 at noon at the MSBA offices. A meeting notice and agenda will be emailed to members approximately two weeks in advance.

Meeting adjourned.

 

Human Rights Committee
Meeting Summary
May 16, 2005

Present: Emily Good (Chair), Joan Bibelhausen (by phone), Justin Cummins, Erika Donner, Kirk Lund, Mollie Smith, Valerie Tremelat, and Tram Thai (MSBA staff).

Adjourn previous meeting:
Emily Good officially adjourned the April meeting. The meeting was left open so members can vote via email on the resolutions.

Resolution proposal update:
A quorum was reached with votes via email all in favor of the resolutions that were discussed at the last meeting. Copies of the resolutions and accompanying reports were distributed via email. The resolutions and reports have been submitted for the June 17 Assembly meeting in Brainerd. Emily Good and/or Peter Brown will make the presentation.

Convention CLE update:
We are not having much luck lining up speakers. Professor Ho remains the only confirmed speaker to date.

We got an official decline from Senator Berglin's office; and former Senator Dave Durenberger will be out of the country. We have invited Senator Keoring who is from the Brainerd area but he could not guarantee his participation due to the possibility of a special session.

We have not heard back from the emergency room doctors who are also lawyers that Warren contacted. Mollie Smith volunteered to send out an email to the Health Law group at Fredrikson and Byron to see if anyone would be interested. Erika Donner will check for speakers as well.

If we cannot secure speakers by May 20, we will make a decision to cancel and notify Professor Ho before she leaves for China on May 23rd.

Close of business for the year, recap:
The committee thanked Emily for doing a great job as Chair this past year. Emily expressed her thanks and appreciation to committee members and look forward to another successful year in 2005-06.

We will put the EEOC issue on the September agenda to further discuss any follow-up efforts.

Next meeting:
The committee will adjourn for the summer and will meet again on September 19 at noon at the MSBA offices. All meetings for the 2005-06 bar year will continue to be held on the third Monday of each month, except if it conflicts with a holiday.

Meeting was adjourned.


Human Rights Committee
Meeting Summary
April 18, 2005

Present: Emily Good (Chair), Joan Bibelhausen, Justin Cummins, Erika Donner, Mark Frey, Ani Hartzheim, Warren Ortland, Stephen Smith, Valerie Tremelat, Lloyd Zimmerman, and Tram Thai (MSBA staff).

Guest: Peter Brown, National Lawyers Guild

MSBA Convention CLE update:
Professor Ho is confirmed for the panel.

We have invited Senator Linda Berglin, chair of the Health and Human Services Finance Committee in the Senate to represent the legislature. Unfortunately, her attendance is tentative. If the legislature goes into a special session, she will not be able to attend. Warren will contact former Senator Dave Durenberger.

We have had little success so far in securing a speaker from the health care perspective. Warren has a couple more contacts to make - emergency room doctors with Allina Hospitals who are also attorneys.

Torture CLE update:
The CLE will be held on May 4 from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Minnesota Conference Center.

Legislative update:
No update.

Resolutions:
Peter Brown was present to ask for the committee's support on 2 resolutions. The first resolution deals with the continued attack on "activist Judges" and the attempts by the other branches of government to reduce the power of the Judiciary. The second resolution deals with infringements on civil liberties (illustrated by the Patriot Act).

The committee members present discussed and made some changes in the wording and generally favor the resolutions. We did not have a quorum however, so the resolutions will be circulated for members to review and vote on whether they support the Human Rights Committee presenting them to the MSBA Assembly.

Next meeting
The committee will meet next on Monday, May 16 at noon at the MSBA offices. A separate meeting notice and agenda will be emailed.

The meeting was not adjourned and left open in order to vote and get quorum on Peter Brown's resolutions.


Human Rights Committee
Meeting Summary
March 21, 2005

Present: Emily Good (Chair), Joan Bibelhausen, Justin Cummins, Erika Donner, Warren Ortland, Sonja Peterson, Stephen Smith, Lloyd Zimmerman, and Tram Thai (MSBA staff).

MSBA Convention CLE update
When: Thursday, June 16, 2005
Time: 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
Where: Madden's Resort in Brainerd
Invited speakers: Senator Berglin, Lauri Hanson, Marianne Short, Anita Ho
Marketing: Elder Law Section, New Lawyers Section, Health Law Section, and Legal Assistance to the Disadvantaged Committee

There was a suggestion to include discussion on access to health care with respect to minorities and the immigrant communities. This will be included in the list of topics to be covered by the panelists.

Update on the torture memo follow-up
Following the discussions with Barb Frey at the last meeting, the committee voted to recommend to the MSBA Council that the MSBA sign onto the ABA proposal. Motion was made and carried. Emily Good will notify MSBA David Stowman.

Emily will also follow up with Sam Heintz and Barb Frey to get information on the CLE proposal.

Legislative update
Gay marriage issues:
Warren Ortland reported that the anti-marriage bill has been passed in the House and has been introduced in the Senate (SF 1691). Emily Good will write a letter to the MSBA alerting them to this fact so that lobbying resources can be used as appropriate. The MSBA has previously voted to oppose an amendment to the constitution defining marriage.
Changes to the Human Rights Act:
Emily Good reported that this will not likely go through this legislative session.
Voting bills:
No update. The committee will continue to monitor this and will take action as necessary.

Other business
April 11 MSBA Immigration Law and Criminal Law CLE: "From Here to Guantanamo: King George Revisited-Habeas Corpus for Detained Non-Citizens" with Joseph Margulies as the presenter:
Motion was made and carried for the committee to be a co-sponsor this CLE. Emily Good will contact Chairs of the Sections.

Proposed co-sponsorship of CLE on FBI interviews immigrants with the Immigration Law Section, possibly Criminal Law Section and Minnesota Advocates:
This was tabled until further notice as the committee already has a full plate.

Position available:
Minnesota Advocates is seeking a staff attorney for their Refugee and Immigration Department. Anyone who is interested should contact the Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights Office.

Next meeting
The committee will meet next on Monday, April 18 at noon at the MSBA offices. A separate meeting notice and agenda will be emailed.

Meeting adjourned.


Human Rights Committee
Meeting Summary
February 28, 2005

Present: Emily Good (Chair), Amy Bergquist, Joan Bibelhausen, Justin Cummins, Roger Kramer, Andrea Guenther Pal, Ani Hartzheim, Warren Ortland, Sonja Peterson, Rebecca Vanderwerf, and Tram Thai (MSBA staff).

Guest: Barbara Frey, University of Minnesota Human Rights Program

Barb Frey on torture, the memos, and Gonzales as Attorney General
Emily Good welcomed and thanked Barb Frey for speaking to the committee today.

Ms. Frey provided some background information on the August 2002 memo regarding the U.S. position on torture; and indicated that a new memo was issued in December 2004, which is available at http://www.usdoj.gov/olc/dagmemo.pdf. Members are encouraged to look at the memo for further information.

On August 9, 2004, the ABA adopted a resolution condemning torture of American prisoners and also condemning any governmental officials or lawyers who authorized it. Ms. Frey recommended that the Human Rights Committee and the MSBA endorse its support of the ABA resolution. The committee is interested in finding out what the ABA is doing to implement the recommendations set forth in their resolution. Amy Bergquist volunteered to check with the ABA and will report to the committee at the next meeting.

Ms. Frey also recommended that the Human Rights Committee co-sponsor a CLE featuring Sam Heintz on the laws of torture. Ms. Frey will confirm details with Mr. Heintz and will get back to Emily Good with more information for the committee to consider.

The committee will further discuss this issue and will plan the next steps at the March meeting.

MSBA Convention CLE on Health Care Access
The committee's CLE program has been confirmed for Thursday, June 16 from 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.

The following program description was submitted for the convention brochure:
As mounting medical bills contribute to bankruptcies and credit card debt; as worker strikes frequently revolve around health care benefits; as hospital emergency rooms absorb increasing patient loads; and legislatures battle over medical programs for the poor it is clear that accessing and paying for health care has become an issue in many different areas of law.

The MSBA's Human Rights Committee invites you to join us for a program addressing the rising concerns about access to health care. The seminar will include a focus on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights statement about the right to health care; followed by brief presentations and a panel discussion about the rights and responsibilities of patients, hospitals, insurers, and the government. Presenters will include representatives from hospitals, the insurance industry, private attorneys, and the legislature. Attendees will learn about the legal issues surrounding health care access and how to address those issues when they arise in practice. Additionally, learn what changes may affect how patients access care in the future. 1.0 CLE credits will be applied for.

Emily will be contacting the Health Law Section to see if they have any suggestions for speakers. Valerie Tremelat suggested Professor Anita Ho, a philosophy professor from St. Catherine's. She specializes in medical ethics and knows a lot about health care systems, particularly U.S., Canada and China, and would lend a greater human rights discussion on health care access. Warren Ortland will also be contacting some prospects at the County Attorney's Office.

Legislative update:
Warren Ortland reported that the anti-marriage bill has not been introduced in the Senate. There is a House hearing in Grand Rapids on March 18 at 10:30 a.m.

Sonja Peterson noted that the Senate may be looking at removing protected classification language for those serving on the Human Rights Commissions. The committee voted to oppose removing any protected classification from the Human Rights Act, including but not limited to, those serving on the Human Rights Commissions. It was noted that the MSBA has endorsed a resolution opposing removal of any protected classification from the Human Rights Act, and that the resolution will be in place for six years.

The committee will also be monitoring legislation regarding voter registration drive.

EEOC update:
No update.

Proposed co-sponsorship of CLE on FBI interviews immigrants with the Immigration Law Section, possibly Criminal Law Section and Minnesota Advocates:
The committee discussed having a 2-3 hour training/CLE introducing what you can do if you are called to represent a client on an FBI interview. The CLE will be at low cost or free. This would be a good pro bono opportunity. A suggestion was made to get the New Lawyers Section involved. It was tentatively scheduled for early-mid April 2005. Will be further discussed and planned at the next meeting.

Next meeting:
The committee will meet next on Monday, March 21 at noon at the MSBA offices. A separate meeting notice and agenda will be emailed.

Meeting adjourned.


Human Rights Committee
Meeting Summary
January 24, 2005

Present: Emily Good (Chair), Joan Bibelhausen, Justin Cummins, Roger Kramer, Andrea Guenther Pal, Ani Hartzheim, Andrew Miller, Sonja Peterson, Stephen Smith, Valerie Tremelat, Rebecca Vanderwerf, and Tram Thai (MSBA staff).

Discuss Justin's letter to the EEOC, update:
Justin reported that revisions were made to the original draft based on helpful comments from many committee members. The revised draft was sent out via the committee's email listserv for review on December 13, 2004. The letter was approved and Justin was given the go-ahead to send it out on MSBA letterhead.

CLE for MSBA Convention - proposal due February 15:
Planning for the CLE program on access to health care as a human rights issues is underway. The program will include a panel discussion on the following components: legislative issues concerning access to health care, health care laws, logistics of getting health care, etc. Emily will contact the Health Law Section to see if they want to cosponsor.

Warren Ortland will be attending an informal session on January 12 that features a speaker on HealthCare Policy. Warren will update the committee at the next meeting as to whether he thinks this would be a good candidate for our panel.

Emily will circulate a draft for the committee's review prior to the next meeting.

Proposals are due to the MSBA by February 15.

Sponsor a program in the spring - possible topics:
Emily will contact former committee member, Caroline Palmer, now the MSBA Pro Bono Development Director regarding some pro bono programs.

Legislative update:
Warren Ortland was meeting with legislators and therefore could not be present at the meeting but provided some updates via email. Warren has been reviewing bill introductions in both the House and the Senate for human rights issues. Rep. Holberg has introduced a bill for a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman (HF 0006). That was introduced on January 6. Sen. Moua has introduced a bill making technical changes to the Minnesota Human Rights Act (SF 215). Warren has briefly reviewed the bill and the changes are mainly adjustments to language; no significant substantive changes.

Joan Bibelhausen encouraged everyone to contact their legislators and ask them to vote against the marriage bill.

Other business:
Joan Bibelhausen indicated that the MSBA Life and the Law and the Diversity Committees have traditionally held a booth at the MSBA annual Convention and suggested that perhaps the Human Rights Committee could ask the Diversity Committee if we could have some literature out on their table. Tram will follow up with the Diversity Committee.

Next meeting:
The MSBA offices will be closed in observance of Presidents Day on February 17; therefore, the committee will meet on Monday, February 24 at 12 noon at the MSBA offices. Emily will invite Barbara Frey to attend this meeting to offer her views on the torture memo. A separate meeting notice will be sent approximately 2 weeks in advance.

Meeting adjourned.


Human Rights Committee
Meeting Summary
November 22, 2004

Present: Emily Good (Chair), Joan Bibelhausen, Justin Cummins, Erika Donner, Andrea Guenther Pal, Mark Frey, Ani Hartzheim, Warren Ortland, Caroline Palmer, Valerie Tremelat, Lloyd Zimmerman, and Tram Thai (MSBA staff).

Update on Human Rights Day CLE: December 3, 2004 from 2:30 - 3:30 p.m. at the Saint Paul RiverCentre
Emily Good reported that everything is set to go. Barbara Frey, Colonel David Dietz, and someone from CVT will be speaking

Update on the changes occurring at the EEOC:
Justin Cummins reported that the MSBA Labor and Employment Section has declined to take a position on this issue even though we did not ask for a position but merely for them to join us in the inquiry. The committee discussed what steps to take next and agreed for Justin to contact the EEOC union representative to get some direction. Justin will also draft a letter to the EEOC asking them to provide us with more information on the nature of the outsourcing and the reasons for it. The letter should also include inquiry into what offices are being closed and whether or not it is related to the outsourcing. Justin will either circulate the draft letter via email or bring copies to the December meeting for review. Valerie Tremelat agreed to get the contact information.

Legislative update:
Thanks to Valerie Tremelat, Mark Frey and Warren Ortland for volunteering to be the committee's Legislative Coordinators this year. Tram will make sure that all three are added to the LC email listserv.

Emily Good will check with Kevin Ruether and Sonja Peterson on the status of amending the Minnesota Human Rights Act to clarify that a tenant's guest is entitled to the MHRA's protections. The MSBA is asking whether or not we still need to keep this on the legislative agenda for this year.

Other business:
Barbara Frey has indicated that she would be happy to talk to our committee about the torture memo. Emily Good will invite Barbabra to the January meeting.

Valerie Tremelat suggested that the committee perhaps in conjunction with the MSBA Immigration Law Section look in to local detention issues/stories for spot lights in the media. We will keep track of the issue.

Caroline Palmer reported that she has been hired as the MSBA's Pro Bono Development Director. Congratulations Caroline!

Next meeting:
The committee will meet next on Monday, December 20 at 12 noon at the MSBA offices. A separate meeting notice will be sent out about 2 weeks in advance.

Meeting adjourned.


Human Rights Committee
Meeting Summary
October 18, 2004

Present: Emily Good (Chair), Joan Bibelhausen, Justin Cummins, Harry Friedman, Ani Hartzheim, Mark Headey, Roger Kramer, Laura Nolen, Warren Ortland, Caroline Palmer, Sonja Peterson, Kevin Reuther, Valerie Tremelat, and Lloyd Zimmerman.

Update on CLE program at Human Rights Day about torture:
Emily Good updated the committee about the proposed CLE. Emily had contacted Professor Delahunty at University of St. Thomas Law School who had co-authored one of the "torture" memos to see if he would be a speaker at the CLE. He declined. The committee discussed what step to take next.

Caroline Palmer had spoken with the Human Rights Department and we have a slot on Friday, December 3 from 2:30-3:30. Roger Kramer stated that he has a friend who has been a military lawyer and would likely be willing to lend his perspective. He is going to contact him. Emily is going to contact Barb Frey to see if she is willing to participate, and also someone from CVT to provide a client based perspective.

Further comments regarding the DOJ memo on torture:
There was no further information. Joan Bibelhausen suggested that we invite Barb Frey or someone from her office who is more familiar with the issue to offer comments to us, rather than our committee trying to distill the meaning.

Program on health care at the MSBA convention:
Warren Ortland had assembled a few names of people who might be willing to participate, including Kip Sullivan, Matt Entenza, Linda Berglund and Kathy McDonough. A health care law representative will also need to be found. It was suggested that perhaps someone from one of the hospitals, such as HCMC, could also provide insight into how the hospital is burdened when people are uninsured and other health issues that directly impact care.

Sonja Peterson suggested that we also wait until after the election to make any commitments to a topic to see what other issues may arise.

Harvey Friedenson suggested that we consider the perspective of people who cannot access benefits such as SSDI or other disability determinations because they cannot get initial medical assessments for lack of insurance and are therefore denied access to the system. Also, look at a way to address the issue of damage limits (litigation caps) as detrimental to fair health care access.

Legislative update:
Valerie Tremelat is willing to continue as legislative liaison, and would be happy to work with Mark Frey if he is interested. Sonja stated that she was contacted by the Department of Human Rights, as there may be a continuing issue with legislation to change the definition of sexual harassment again this year. We will track the issue. Anticipate a possible challenge to the inclusion of sexual orientation inclusion, too.

Other business:
Lloyd Zimmerman expressed concern that the EEOC has set up a 4.2 million dollar private contract with a company that will now field their inquiries. He is concerned that it may be a back door start to dismantling the office. The committee decided to gather information about the issue, and to talk to the Labor & Employment section. Justin Cummins will contact the L&E section and follow up.
Lloyd Zimmerman proposed a Resolution to wish Tram a Happy Birthday, it was seconded by Caroline Palmer and passed unanimously.

Next meeting:
The committee will meet next on Monday, November 15 at 12 noon at the MSBA offices. A separate meeting notice will be sent out about 2 weeks in advance.

Meeting was adjourned at 12:45 pm.


Human Rights Committee
Meeting Summary
September 20, 2004

Present: Emily Good (Chair), Joan Bibelhausen, Mark Frey, Caroline Palmer, Warren Ortland, Kevin Reuther, Karen Ring, Lloyd Zimmerman and his law clerk, Imani Jaefer Mohemu, and Tram Thai (MSBA staff).

Welcome and introductions:
Chair Emily Good welcomed and thanked everyone for being at the meeting. Brief introductions were made.

Discuss committee goals and priorities for 2004/05:
Emily Good met with MSBA President David Stowman along with other committee and section chairs over the summer. Emily reported on some of Stowman's goals and priorities, including reaching out to more out-state members and to the Bar as a whole. The following ideas were generated as possible projects for the upcoming year:
1) CLE program or discussion forum on torture in conjunction with Human Rights Day; and
2) CLE program on access to health care, possibly at the MSBA convention in June or in conjunction with Human Rights Day in December.

Caroline Palmer will check with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights to determine what their programming plans are for the Human Rights Day.

The committee will further explore other program ideas at the next meeting.

Discuss torture memo:
Emily Good reported that MSBA President David Stowman requested that the committee review the August 1, 2002 memo from White House legal counsel regarding the United States' use of torture on prisoners. Stowman is requesting that the committee review and recommend to him a position the MSBA should take on this issue. Stowman asked that the committee, in reviewing the memo, not focus on the ethical implications of the lawyer's actions but focus more on the legality of the issue. This issue will be further discussed at the next meeting.

Legislative issues:
No report. Emily Good will check with Valerie Tremelat to see if Valerie wants to continue as the legislative contact for the committee.

Other business:
The following announcements were made:
1) Meet Kirk Bloodsworth: The True Story of the First Death Row Inmate Exonerated by DNA. Hosted by Hamline on Monday, September 27 at Klas Center, Hamline University at 7:30 p.m.

2) FREE CLE - QPR Traning for the Legal Community. QPR stands for Question, Persuade, Refer; it is a process which includes simple and highly effective techniques for helping a depressed or suicidal person. This approach has been proven to be effective when used by trained individuals. Sponsored by Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers and MSBA Life and the Law Committee on September 23, 2004, 12:00-1:30 MSBA Offices. For more information, go to www.mnlcl.org.

Meeting schedule for 2004/05:
The committee will meet on the third Monday of each month at noon at the MSBA offices.

Next meeting:
The committee meets next on Monday, October 18 at noon at the MSBA offices. A separate meeting notice with the agenda will be sent out about 2 weeks prior to the meeting date.

The meeting was adjourned at 1:00 p.m.


Human Rights Committee
Meeting Summary
April 19, 2004

Present: Caroline Palmer, chair; Justin Cummins; Emily Good; Erika Donner; Mark Frey; Sonja Peterson; Valerie Tremelat; and Tram Thai, MSBA staff.

Report on the March 25 Pro Bono Housing Law CLE:
Sonja Peterson reported that the CLE was very well received. There were 9 people who signed up to take a pro bono case in Hennepin County Housing Court. This list will be turned over to the MSBA Pro Bono Development Director Nancy Wallrich. Suggestions were made to hold the next CLE in St. Paul to generate pro bono cases in Ramsey County Housing Court.

Report on the April 16 BOG action re Minnesota's anti-marriage amendment resolution:
Caroline Palmer and Phil Duran (from the Diversity Committee) presented the resolution for action at the MSBA Board of Governors April 16 meeting. The BOG voted 21-12 to recommend that action be taken at the General Assembly annual meeting in Duluth with the broader membership. The General Assembly will be held on Friday, June 10 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. There were concerns that using "anti-marriage" in the title may have negative connotations and that a title may need to be revised for the General Assembly agenda.

Update on the convention CLE:
Caroline Palmer reported that planning for the program on "Reinstating the Death Penalty in Minnesota and Addressing Wrongful Convictions: Past, Present and Future Perspectives" is going well. It will include a historical background on the death penalty in Minnesota presented by author and death penalty defense attorney John Bessler as well as panel discussion/debate. Invited speakers include forensic anthropologist Susan Myster, exonerated former inmate Bobby McLaughlin, legislators, prosecutors, defense attorneys, other legal professionals. 2.75 elimination of bias credits will be applied for. It will be held on Thursday, June 9 from 9 a.m. to 12 noon in Duluth.

Update on the May 17 Federal Sentencing Guidelines CLE:
Caroline reported that the program may need to be cancelled due to problems in securing a speaker. The Criminal Law Section will be doing a program on violence against women instead. Caroline will check with the Section again to determine if we should cancel.

Update on changes to the Human Rights Act:
No updates.

Legislative updates:
No updates.

Other business:
Emily Good has agreed to chair the committee next year. Tram Thai will pass the recommendation on to David Stowman, incoming MSBA President, who will officially make all committee appointments. The committee commended and thanked Caroline Palmer for her exceptional work and commitment as chair for the past two years.

Next meeting:
The next meeting will be held on May 17 at 12 noon at the MSBA offices.

Meeting adjourned.


Human Rights Committee
Meeting Summary
March 15, 2004

Present: Caroline Palmer, chair; Justin Cummins; Emily Good; Sonja Peterson; Sheila Stuhlman; Valerie Tremelat; Lloyd Zimmerman; and Tram Thai, MSBA staff.

Present via teleconference by invitation: Linda Hansen, Policy Coordinator for the Minnesota Department of Human Rights.

Update on March 25 Pro Bono Housing Law CLE:
Sonja Peterson reported that things are all set for the program and encouraged members of the committee to attend if possible.

Update on co-sponsorship with the MSBA Criminal Law Section on Federal Sentencing Guidelines CLE:
Caroline Palmer reported that the program will be held on May 17 at 12 noon at the MSBA offices, which will take place of the committee's regular meeting. Caroline will continue to work with the Criminal Law Section on lining up speakers for the program. Further details will be available at next month's meeting.

Update on changes to the Human Rights Act:
Linda Hansen, Policy Coordinator for the Minnesota Department of Human Rights, reported that the housekeeping and policy bills have been introduced in committee hearings. The punitive damages and jury trial initiatives were not approved, most likely due to the increase in schedule and financial burden on the Courts. The Minnesota Department of Human Rights will survey other states who have these initiatives to determine if this claim is true.

Legislative Updates:
Caroline Palmer reported that she, Mark Frey and Phil Duran from the Diversity Committee presented the committees' resolutions at the February 20 Executive Committee meeting. The Executive Committee was very receptive and determined that the Human Rights and Diversity Committees could go forward with the resolutions so long as it is made clear that they are representative of the committees only. The matter will be put on the April 15 Board of Governors agenda and the Executive Committee has asked that the Diversity and Human Rights Committee come to a joint resolution and present that for a vote on a Bar position against the proposed constitutional amendment. The Human Rights Committee agreed to use the Diversity Committee's resolution language for the joint resolution < Resolved: that the MSBA Diversity and Human Rights Committees oppose any effort to amend the Minnesota Constitution to forbid the creation of legally-recognized relationships between persons of the same sex, and encourages the MSBA Board of Governors to take the same position>. The MSBA Family Law Section has also voted to support the resolution so their name will be added to the final BOG resolution, which will be submitted on March 19. It was noted that Lloyd Zimmerman abstained from voting on the resolution due to possible conflict of interests.

Convention planning:
The Human Rights Committee and Criminal Law section are collaborating with the Innocence Project of Minnesota to present a CLE examining wrongful convictions and different perspectives on the reinstatement of the death penalty in Minnesota. It will be held in conjunction with the MSBA annual convention in Duluth on Thursday, June 10 from 9 a.m. to 12 noon. The program will be presented by author and death penalty defense attorney John Bessler as well as panel discussions. Invited speakers will include forensic anthropologist Susan Myster, legislators, prosecutors, defense attorneys, and other legal professionals.

2004/05 committee chair:
Caroline Palmer reported that she would like to take a year off from volunteer work and will not be continuing as chair in the upcoming year. The committee commended Caroline for doing such a great job leading the committee these past couple of years. Anyone who is interested in being chair/co-chair next year was encouraged to apply by notifying Tram Thai of the MSBA staff at tthai@mnbar.org or 612.278.6316. It was noted that all appointments are made by the MSBA incoming President-elect David Stowman.

Next meeting:
The committee will meet next on Monday, April 19, 2004 at 12 noon at the MSBA offices.

Meeting adjourned.


Human Rights Committee
Meeting Summary
February 12, 2004

Present: Caroline Palmer, chair; Joan Bibelhausen; Justin Cummins; Erika Donner; Mark Frey; Emily Good; Sonja Peterson (by phone); Valerie Tremelat; and Tram Thai, MSBA staff.

Update on March 25 Pro Bono CLE:
Sonja Peterson reported that things for the 3-hour CLE on housing are moving along fine. Erika Donner will check to see if the New Lawyers Section would be interested in co-sponsoring the program. Sonja will set up a meeting next week between all participants and will send updates to the committee's listserv. It was noted that the MSBA is also doing a pro bono program around the same time and that some coordination is needed between the committee and Nancy Wallrich of the MSBA. Sonja will contact Nancy Wallrich to discuss this.

Update on Co-sponsorship of the Midwest Regional Women in the Law Conference:
Joan Bibelhausen reported that the conference schedule is full and that there are no sponsorship opportunities available at this time. Joan indicated there will be 2 programs relating to human rights: 1) Human Rights Issues for Women: The World Stage; and 2) The Next Act: Current Issues in Domestic Violence. The conference will be held April 21-23 at the Marriott Minneapolis, City Center. More information on the conference is available at the Minnesota Women Lawyers' website at www.mwlawyers.org.

Update on Co-sponsorship with the MSBA Criminal Law Section on Federal Sentencing Guidelines CLE:
Caroline Palmer reported that the Criminal Law Section is still interested in doing the CLE in April or May. More updates will be given at the next meeting.

Update on the Changes to the Human Rights Act:
Valerie Tremelat reported that she spoke with Linda Hansen at the Minnesota Department of Human Rights and they are going forward with their housekeeping and policy bills. Ms. Hansen indicated that the sections on increasing punitive damages and allowing jury trials are still pending. Valerie will follow up with Ms. Hansen to find out what committees this is going through and will report back at the next meeting.

Legislative Updates:
Caroline Palmer reported that the committee's resolution opposing a constitution amendment on marriage has been put on the February 20 Executive Committee meeting agenda for discussion and that the Human Rights Committee is not authorized (per Articles 13 and 14) to advance our position until further notice. There were concerns among the Executive Committee members that this issue may need input from the broader MSBA membership and therefore would like a chance to discuss the issue further with the Human Rights Committee. Caroline will attend the February 20 Executive Committee meeting along with Phil Duran from the Diversity Committee (the Diversity Committee has also adopted a resolution opposing the constitution amendment on marriage) to state our case. It was noted that the Family Law Section has decided not to take any action on this issue until actual language is seen. There were discussions on whether or not the Human Rights Committee should partner with the Diversity Committee on their resolution if they decide to take it to the MSBA Board of Governors for action. There were mixed feelings on this matter. The committee will wait to see what happens at the February 20 Executive Committee meeting before deciding the next course of action.

It was reported that nothing much is happening with the death penalty issue and that MSBA lobbyist Lloyd Grooms will notify us of any action or hearings.

Convention Planning:
Caroline Palmer reported that the committee's CLE program proposal on the death penalty has been approved for Thursday, June 10 from 9 a.m. to 12 noon. The committee will need to have a description of the program submitted to the MSBA by March 12. The committee discussed possible speakers including; Governor Tim Pawlenty, Sandra Babcock, John Besser, US Attorney Tom Heffelfinger, John Stewart, The Honorable Sharon Hall, and a lead attorney in a big law firm. The Criminal Law Section will co-sponsor.

Other Business:
Emily Good reported that Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights is sponsoring a CLE on June 18 and asked if the Human Rights Committee would like to be a cosponsor. Motion was made for the Human Rights Committee to cosponsor the June 18 CLE with Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights. Motion was seconded and carried.

Valerie Tremelat reported that she has an interesting 26-minute radio peace from Canadian Broadcasting and asked if the committee would be like to hear it at one of our future meetings. The committee plans to do so at the April meeting.

National Lawyers Guild is having a Social Justice Dinner on February 21 in St. Paul. Keynote speaker will be Congressman Dennis Kucinich. Committee members interested in attending should register soon!

Next Meeting:
Please note that the committee will meet on the third Mondays for the rest of the bar year. The next committee meeting is on Monday, March 15 at 12 noon at the MSBA offices.

Meeting adjourned.


Human Rights Committee
Meeting Summary
January 8, 2004

Present: Caroline Palmer, chair; Justin Cummins; Emily Good; Amy Ireland; Sonja Peterson; Valerie Tremelat; and Tram Thai, MSBA staff.

Update on Pro Bono CLE (March 25, 2004):
Sonja Peterson reported that the Subcommittee is still working on a topic for the program. After a brief brainstorming session, a suggestion was made for the topic to be on landlord/tenant issues. Sonja will follow up with Jay Wilkenson at the Housing Discrimination Project for his input.

Update on co-sponsorship of Midwest Regional Women in the Law Conference (April 2004):
No updates.

Update on co-sponsorship with the MSBA Criminal Law Section on federal sentencing guidelines CLE:
Caroline Palmer will follow up with the Section again to determine if they are still interested in the program.

Update on the changes to the Human Rights Act:
Legislative Coordinator Valerie Tremelat will follow up with Linda Hansen for any progress reports and will find out what conference committee this will go through.

Legislative updates:
Valerie Tremelat reported that there has not been any recent legislation directly related to human rights. The committee will continue to keep a watch on the death penalty legislation.

Other business:
Caroline Palmer reported on a letter she received from the MSBA Convention Committee regarding any proposed CLE program for the 2004 Convention in Duluth. The deadline to respond is January 30; and the committee will be notified by February 16 whether the committee's program is chosen. It was agreed that the committee will put on a CLE on death penalty. Further planning to be done at the next meeting.

Caroline also reported on a letter she received from MSBA President-elect David Stowman regarding the Falun Gong case. The committee is uncertain of what the request entails at this time. Caroline will get more information from David Stowman for the next meeting.

Next meeting:
The committee will meet next on Thursday, February 12, 2004 at 12 noon at the MSBA offices.

Just a reminder: Starting in March, the committee will meet on the third Mondays of each month until the end of the fiscal year.

Meeting adjourned.


Human Rights Committee
Meeting Summary
December 11, 2003

Present: Caroline Palmer, chair; Joan Bibelhausen; Justin Cummins; Erika Donner; Mark Frey; Emily Good; Sonja Peterson; Valerie Tremelat; and Tram Thai, MSBA staff.

Report on December 5 Human Rights Day
Caroline Palmer reported that the committee's panel on direct threat defense went well. There were about 30 people in attendance. The panelists were Justin Cummins, Kathy Hagen, Penelope Phillips, and Laurie Vasichek. Caroline was the moderator.

Update on pro bono CLE
Sonja Peterson plans to get the Subcommittee together soon to start the planning process. Due to time constraints, the committee decided to push the program, which was originally scheduled for January 29, to March 25, 2004. Tram will reserve the MSBA Presidents Room.

Update on co-sponsorship of April 2004 Midwest Regional Women in the Law Conference
Joan Bibelhausen reported that although plans have not been finalized for the conference, things are coming along nicely. Joan will continue to work on this and will keep the committee updated.

Update on co-sponsorship with the MSBA Criminal Law Section on federal sentencing guidelines
Caroline Palmer reported that there are no updates. A question was raised as to whether or not the committee should still pursue this. Caroline will check with Lloyd Zimmerman to get his thoughts on the matter.

Update on the changes to the Human Rights Act
No news. Caroline Palmer reported that the policy changes are still at the Governor's office. Caroline will check with Linda Hansen at the Minnesota Department of Human Rights for updates.

Legislative updates
a) Caroline Palmer reported that the Human Rights Committee resolution opposing the death penalty was adopted by a substantial majority of the MSBA Board of Governors at their December 5 meeting after a lengthy (over one hour) and interesting debate. Caroline thanked everyone for their support. Caroline was also commended for doing an outstanding job presenting the proposal. A good summary of the discussions was included in the "Bar News" section of the December 10 MSBA Legal News Digest. Committee members were also encouraged to submit their thoughts and feedback to the MSBA on this matter using the "Bar Talk" feature in the Legal News Digest.

b) The committee discussed whether or not to take a position on the introduction of Minnesota legislation on amending the constitution limiting marriage to a man and a woman. A motion was made for the Human Rights Committee to oppose any legislation that seeks to amend the constitution limiting marriage to a man and woman. Motion was seconded and carried.

PLEASE NOTE: Change in meeting schedule starting March 2004
It was noted that Lloyd Zimmerman has another meeting that conflicts with the committee's present meeting schedule. To better accommodate Lloyd's schedule, the committee will meet on the third Mondays of each month starting in March. The meeting schedule for the rest of this year is as follows:

" Thursday, January 8, 2004
" Thursday, February 12, 2004
" Monday, March 15, 2004
" Monday, April 19, 2004
" Monday, May 17, 2004

All meetings are at 12 noon at the MSBA offices. Mark your calendars!

Next meeting
The committee will meet next on Thursday, January 8, 2004 at 12 noon at the MSBA offices.

Meeting adjourned.


Human Rights Committee
Meeting Summary
November 13, 2003

Present: Caroline Palmer, chair; Joan Bibelhausen; Erika Donner; and Tram Thai, MSBA staff.

Continued planning for Pro Bono CLE (January 29, 2004)
It was reported that due to the complications of the immigration and family law cases and the difficulties in getting pro bono volunteers to take on these cases, the Immigration Law and Family Law Sections suggested that we find more manageable topics to focus on. The committee discussed alternative topics. It was suggested that instead of picking specific topics, maybe we could do a general discussion on the global human rights perspective on pro bono work and provide attendees with practice tips. Caroline Palmer will run this idea through Sonja Peterson; and will put the information on the committee email listserv for other members' feedback.

Update on co-sponsorship of December 5 Human Rights Day:
Caroline Palmer reported that everything is all set to go for the one-hour panel, which will start at 11:15 a.m. Caroline is the moderator; with the following panelists: Justin Cummins, Kathy Hagen, Penelope Phillips, and Laurie Vasichek from the EEOC.

Update on co-sponsorship of the April 2004 Midwest Regional Women in the Law Conference:
Joan Bibelhausen reported that things are on track for the domestic abuse segment that the committee is co-sponsoring with WATCH and Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights. It was suggested that the Sheila Wellstone Institute (which just opened today; and was designed to bring public attention to the problem of domestic abuse) be incorporated into the segment. The committee agreed this was a good idea. Joan will be talking to WATCH to find out if there's something comparable in other states.

Update on co-sponsorship with the MSBA Criminal Law Section on federal sentencing guidelines CLE:
Caroline Palmer reported that the MSBA Criminal Law Section is interested in partnering with us on this project. The next step is to get the Subcommittee (Caroline Palmer, Lloyd Zimmerman, Kevin Reuther, Amy Shroeder) together with the Section to start planning.

Update on the changes to the Human Rights Act:
Caroline Palmer reported that the policy recommendations are still at the Governor's office so there is no new information.

Legislative updates:
Caroline Palmer reported that the committee's proposal opposing the reinstatement of the death penalty in Minnesota, and requesting that the MSBA adopt this position, is on the November 18 Legislative Committee's meeting agenda. Stay tuned for more news on this.

Sandra Babcock:
The committee discussed the possibility of having Sandra Babcock speak at the February committee meeting on her death penalty work, particularly with Mexican immigrants. Babcock is currently part of the Death Penalty Project Lunchtime Speaker Series put on by Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights. The other alternative would be to have her participate in our January 29 CLE. Caroline will check on Babcock's availability and will report back to the committee at the December meeting.

Next meeting:
The committee meets next on Thursday, December 11, 2003 at 12 noon at the MSBA offices.

Meeting adjourned.


Human Rights Committee
Meeting Summary
October 9, 2003

Present: Caroline Palmer, chair; Joan Bibelhausen; Justin Cummins; Sonja Peterson; Valerie Tremelat; Lloyd Zimmerman; and Tram Thai, MSBA staff.

Present by invitation: Nancy Wallrich, MSBA Pro Bono Development Director

Continued discussion of a pro bono CLE that relates to human rights:
Chair Caroline Palmer welcomed MSBA Pro Bono Development Director and thanked her for speaking with the committee. Nancy Wallrich briefly talked about her role at the MSBA and indicated she was pleased to offer any assistance in planning for the CLE.
The committee explored topics, date, time, and possible speakers for the CLE. After some discussions, the committee decided on the following:

Date: Thursday, January 29, 2004
Time: 12 noon - 3 p.m.
Location: MSBA Offices, Presidents Room (tentatively). St. Thomas Law School is a second alternative.
Topics: Immigration, Domestic Violence/Family Law from the human rights perspective
Co-Sponsors: Immigration Law Section, Family Law Section, Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights, and Minnesota Justice Foundation
CLE credits: 2.75 (with possible ethics & bias credits)
Fee: FREE if attendees agree to take at least 1 pro bono case; otherwise $25.
Lunch: People bring their own lunch

Caroline Palmer will call Minnesota Justice Foundation to see how they want to be involved. Sonja Peterson will call chairs of the Immigration Law and Family Law Sections.

Update on the changes to the Human Rights Act:
Caroline Palmer reported that comments from committee members via the email listserv indicated that the committee supports the submission of the letter to the Minnesota Department of Human Rights along the same lines as the NELA letter (the letter was sent to the email listserv on October 13). The committee's letter will be sent to MDHR this week. Caroline will check with Linda Hansen from the MDHR to see what the next steps are and will post any news on the committee's email listserv.

Update on co-sponsorship of December 5 Human Rights Day:
Caroline Palmer reported that the Department of Human Rights has invited the committee to present a workshop at the Human Rights Day on December 5, 2003. The workshop will be on the direct threat defense in ADA cases--especially in the context of the United States Supreme Court's recent ruling in the Chevron v. Echazabel case. Caroline will moderate the 1-hour panel. Justin Cummins and Kathy Hagen have agreed to serve as panelists, possibly along with Laurie Vasichek from the EEOC and Christopher Bell. Caroline will invite Vasichek and Bell.

Update on co-sponsorship of the April 2004 Midwest Regional Women in the Law Conference:
Joan Bibelhausen reported that the conference's planning committee loved the idea of having the Human Rights Committee do a segment on domestic abuse with Minnesota Advocated for Human Rights and WATCH. Joan will continue to work on the details and will be looking at corresponding programs in other states for comparison purposes.

Update on co-sponsorship with the MSBA Criminal Law Section on federal sentencing guidelines CLE:
Caroline Palmer will follow up with the chair of the Criminal Law Section before the next meeting and will report back to the committee.

Legislative updates:
Caroline Palmer reported that the committee's proposal opposing the reinstatement of the death penalty in Minnesota, and requesting that the MSBA adopt this position, has been submitted to the MSBA Legislative Committee.

The committee discussed the importance of having a legislative coordinator as in previous years---someone to monitor and keep track of any human rights issues that arise at the legislature and report back to the committee. The two main things that are anticipated to come up in the next legislative session are the change to the Human Rights Act and the reinstatement of the death penalty. Valerie Tremelat agreed to take on this role---thank you, Valerie!

Other business:
Caroline Palmer reported that she received a request from the Editor-in-Chief of Law & Inequality at the University of Minnesota Law School regarding a symposium on January 23, 2004. The title is "The Legal and Political Implications of the United States as the World's Lone Superpower." Information will be sent to committee members via the email listserv.

Joan Bibelhausen reported that the MSBA Board of Governors has expanded the membership of the BOG Legislative Committee to include non-BOG members on their grassroots organizing and fundraising Subcommittees. Committee members were encouraged to keep an eye on this, as well as consider participating on the Board of Governors when the recruitment period begins in the spring. The importance of having a human rights presence on the BOG was emphasized.

Next meeting:
The committee meets next on Thursday, November 13 at 12 noon at the MSBA offices.

Meeting adjourned.


Human Rights Committee
Meeting Summary
September 10, 2003

Present: Caroline Palmer, chair; Joan Bibelhausen; Erika Donner; Amy Schroeder Ireland; Sonja Peterson; Kevin Ruether; Judge Lloyd Zimmerman; and Tram Thai, MSBA staff.

Chair Caroline Palmer opened the meeting by welcoming all members to the committee for the 2003/04 bar year, followed by brief introductions of all those present at the meeting. Caroline recapped last year's activities and noted that the June 2003 convention CLE was a success with approximately 35 attendees.

Discussion of committee goals for 2003/04:
1) Sponsor a convention CLE
Due to the success of past programs, the committee would like to plan for another CLE at the June 2004 convention in Duluth.
2) Co-sponsor the December 5, 2003 Human Rights Day
The committee began discussions in May with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights on participating in this year's Human Rights Day. The committee reaffirmed this was a good idea. Motion was made for the Committee to co-sponsor the December 5, 2003 Human Rights Day. Motion was seconded and carried. Caroline Palmer will contact the Minnesota Department of Human Rights to gather more information and offer to help publicize the event in the MSBA Legal News Digest and on the committee's website as part of our co-sponsorship.
3) Co-sponsor the April 21-23, 2004 Midwest Regional Women in the Law Conference
The committee discussed co-sponsoring a segment on domestic violence at this conference, possibly with Human Rights Watch and/or Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights. Joan Bibelhausen is on the Conference's planning committee and will discuss the committee's idea with the planning folks to see if they would be interested in having our participation.
4) Sponsor a luncheon CLE on pro bono that relates to human rights in January 2004
It was noted that MSBA President Jim Baillie's main focus this year is on pro bono and that it would be a good idea for the committee to work that into our programming. The committee discussed doing a 1 hour luncheon pro bono discussion that relates to human rights, possibly with the MSBA Legal Assistance to the Disadvantaged Committee. The plan is to have this discussion take place during the January committee meeting and apply for 1 hour of CLE credit. Nancy Wallrich, MSBA Pro Bono Development Director, will be invited to the October meeting for solicitation of her ideas and input. Sonja Peterson, Judge Lloyd Zimmerman, Joan Bibelhausen, and Erika Donner agreed to be on the planning subcommittee. The committee also discussed having a list of pro bono opportunities that relates to human rights put on the committee's web page and/or adding a link to www.projusticemn.org (formerly ProBono.net, which is a website intended for all legal professionals working in legal aid and pro bono) on the committee's web page. Caroline Palmer will talk to Dick Ericson, MSBA Web Services Director, about this.
5) Co-sponsor a CLE with the MSBA Criminal Law Section on the federal sentencing guideline issues from the human rights perspective
The committee discussed concerns relating to Congress' move to tighten sentencing guidelines that limits the range of prison sentences federal judges can dispense. The guidelines, among other things, eliminate the flexibility in setting jail terms for whole categories of crimes. The committee decided it was important to sponsor a CLE on this topic and get discussions going. Caroline Palmer will contact the chair of the Criminal Law Section to discuss our idea. Caroline Palmer, Judge Lloyd Zimmerman, Kevin Ruether and Amy Schroeder Ireland agreed to serve on the planning subcommittee.
6) Legislative Initiatives
a. Death penalty: Motion was made for the Committee to oppose any legislation that proposes the death penalty in Minnesota. Motion was seconded and carried. Caroline Palmer will contact the MSBA Criminal Law Section and Joan Bibelhausen will contact the MSBA Diversity Committee too see if they want to join efforts.
b. Immigrant driver license issue: The committee discussed the possibility that this issue may re-emerge at the legislation and wants to ensure that we keep a close watch on this. Amy Ireland will contact Scott Borene of the MSBA Immigration Law Section to find out if there are any programs that are being done on this issue.

Committee meeting schedule for 2003/04:
The committee decided to meet monthly on the second Thursdays at 12 noon at the MSBA offices. Please note that this is a change from the previous year's schedule (which was on the second Wednesdays). Tram Thai will send out an email to the committee email listserv notifying members of this change immediately.

Next meeting:
The committee will meet next on Thursday, October 9, 2003 at 12 noon at the MSBA offices.

Meeting adjourned.


Human Rights Committee
Meeting Summary
April 9, 2003

Present: Caroline Palmer, chair; Joan Bibelhausen; Amy Ireland; Sheila Stuhlman; Valerie Tremelat; and Tram Thai, MSBA staff.

Update on the convention CLE: "The Attorney's Role in the War on Terrorism"
(June 19, 2003 from 2 - 5 pm @ Hyatt Minneapolis)
Caroline reported that planning for the June 19 CLE is coming along well. The planning group is working on lining up the moderator and finalizing the panel members. Once the moderator is confirmed, a meeting will be scheduled with the moderator to discuss program content.

The committee discussed additional suggestions for panel members. Caroline will email those suggestions to Scott Borene of the Immigration Law Section and Greg Booker of the Public Law Section for their input before an official invitation is extended to the new panelists.

Tram reported that CLE credits will need to be applied by April 28 in time for approval at the convention and requested that panel members submit their bios to Tram by April 28 for the CLE application. The committee is seeking Elimination of Bias credits for this program.

Update on INS detention project:
Caroline reported that she is still waiting to hear from Scott Beneke of the INS regarding obtaining permission for the site visits.

Update on GLBT legislation issue:
Caroline reported that not much will be happening with this issue at the legislative level for now due to the overwhelming lack of support for the proposed legislation.

It was reported that the MSBA Executive Committee has recommended that the Board of Governors adopt the resolution opposing any efforts to narrow the scope of the Human Rights Act to exclude GLBT at the April 26 BOG meeting. The committee noted that if approved by the BOG, the resolution will be good for 6 years incase the issue re-emerges in the future.

Other business:
Caroline is arranging for the new Human Rights Commissioner to come speak at the May or June committee meeting, possibly for CLE credit.

Next meeting:
The committee will meet next on Wednesday, May 14, 2003 at 12 noon at the MSBA offices.

Meeting adjourned.


Human Rights Committee
Meeting Summary
March 12, 2003

Caroline Palmer chaired the meeting by phone. Members present included: Sonja Peterson, and Lloyd Grooms. Tram Thai of the MSBA staff also attended.

Update on the convention CLE program:
Date: June 19, 2003
Time: 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Location: Hyatt Minneapolis
Title: The Attorney's Role in the War on Terrorism (Co-sponsored by the Public Law & Immigration Law Sections)

The program will feature two panel discussions exploring the attorney's unique role in the war on terrorism. An overview will be provided describing changes in antiterrorism legislation and immigration regulations in the period since September 11, 2001. The first panel will discuss these changes as well as how attorneys in both the public and private sector are responding. The second panel will examine the practice challenges attorneys face representing immigrant clients. Panelists include United States Attorney Thomas Heffelfinger, Mark Cangemi of the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Professor Peter Erlinder (William Mitchell College of Law), and local immigration attorneys.

Update on INS detention project:
Caroline Palmer reported that Curtis Aljets is no longer the contact person to get permission for the visits. She has been told that permission for the visits will need to come from Scott Beneke. Caroline has contacted Mr. Beneke and is waiting to hear back from him.

Update on GLBT legislation issue:
The committee's joint HF 341 resolution with the Diversity Committee opposing any efforts to narrow the scope of the Human Rights Act has been approved by the Legislative Committee; and is on its way to the Executive Committee and Board of Governors for action.

Next meeting:
The committee will meet next on Wednesday, April 9, 2003 at 12 noon at the MSBA offices.

Meeting adjourned.


Human Rights Committee
February 12, 2003
Meeting Summary

Present:  Caroline Palmer, chair; Joan Bibelhausen; Josh DuBois (new student member); Mark Frey; Amy Ireland; Sheila Stuhlman; Valerie Tremelat; Lloyd Zimmerman; and Tram Thai of the MSBA staff.

Chair Caroline Palmer welcomed Josh DuBois to the committee.  Josh is a student at the University of Minnesota Law School and is especially interested in the INS detention project.

Update on the convention CLE

Caroline Palmer reported that the MSBA Convention Committee approved the committee’s CLE proposal for Thursday, June 19 from 1 – 3 pm.  The title of the CLE is "The Attorney's Role in the War on Terrorism" and will be co-sponsored by the Public Law Section and the Immigration Law Section.  The program description is due to the MSBA by March 10.  Amy Ireland and Joan Bibelhausen volunteered to help with the planning subcommittee, which will also include representatives from the Public Law and Immigration Law Sections.  Caroline Palmer will send an email to the listserv soliciting ideas for the program.

Update on INS detention project

The committee reviewed the draft letter by Sheila Stuhlman to the INS district director, Curtis Aljets.  It was suggested that information about the visits be included in the convention program and that we should indicate such in the letter to Mr. Aljets.  The revised letter will go out on MSBA letterhead under Caroline Palmer’s signature.  The committee hopes to have the site visits completed by May so that information from the visits can be included in the convention program.

Update on meeting with Professor Krohnke

No report.  Amy Ireland will contact Professor Krohnke for possible dates and will report back to the committee at the next meeting.

Other business

It was reported that the MSBA Diversity Committee has endorsed the resolution opposing the repeal of the human rights act – HF 341, and that a friendly amendment was made to the original language to identify HF 341 by name.  The resolution has been submitted to the MSBA Legislative Committee urging the Legislative Committee and Executive Committee to endorse the proposal and call an emergency meeting or conduct an email poll on the matter.  Joan Bibelhausen and Sonja Peterson are members of the Legislative Committee and will help push that along. 

It was suggested that, given the numerous bills that have been or will be floating around regarding the repeal of the human rights act, a coordinated effort between the committee and other interested groups be made.  Lloyd Zimmerman will contact Janean Rosas and Caroline Palmer will touch base with Phil Duran from Outfront Minnesota to determine what strategies they are using and to coordinate efforts between the groups.  Caroline Palmer will also draft a letter to Representative Karen Clark and Senator Scott Debille to express the committee’s support for the human rights act.

It was reported that there is a proposal at the Minnesota Bar Admissions Advisory Council that would amend the rule on who is eligible to “move’ another for admission into the bar at the admissions ceremony.  The proposal calls for two changes: 1) Adding “Domestic Partner” to those who qualify as an individual sponsor; and (2) Allowing each minority bar association, through its president or designee, to sponsor one student member for admission.  The committee supports this proposal and will send a letter of support to Peg Corneille at the Minnesota CLE Board. 

Next meeting

The committee will meet next on Wednesday, March 12, 2003 at 12 noon at the MSBA offices.

Meeting adjourned.


Human Rights Committee
January 8, 2003
Meeting Summary

Present: Caroline Palmer, chair; Joan Bibelhausen; Justin Cummins; Amy Ireland; Sonja Peterson; Sheila Stuhlman; Valerie Tremelat; and Tram Thai, MSBA staff.

Also present were Phil Duran and Monica Meyer from Outfront Minnesota.

Challenges to the GLBT portions of the Minnesota Human Rights Act
Phil Duran and Monica Meyer from Outfront Minnesota were present to discuss issues dealing with possible upcoming challenges to the Minnesota Human Rights Act. Some of the concerns included adoption, school issues, domestic partner benefits, equal benefits ordinance, and initiative referendum ballots. One particular issue involves the removal of the LGBT from the current language of the MHRA. Outfront Minnesota is concerned that either the LGBT definition will be taken out completely or the definition will be narrowed down to exclude the transgender portion. Motion was made and carried for the Human Rights Committee to adopt a resolution to the MSBA Board of Governors and/or Executive Committee to endorse the following:

Resolved: that in an era when safeguarding Minnesotans' civil rights has become more important than ever, the Legislature should not move to withdraw, or more narrowly define, any currently-protected class from the scope of the Minnesota Human Rights Act".

It was reported that the MSBA Diversity Committee has also endorsed the resolution.

Report on the December 11 meeting with Janeen Rosas, Bobbie Carter, Vanne Owen Hayes, and Tyrone Terrill
Caroline Palmer reported that the meeting was informative with about 12 in attendance. Janeen Rosas gave a candid presentation on how bleak things look for the state Human Rights Department. Van Owen Hayes reported on the Minneapolis Civil Rights Department's mediation process and review board. Bobbie Carter gave an overview of the EEOC process. Tyrone Terrill provided a quick overview of the St. Paul Civil Rights Department.

Update on the human rights evaluation project
No updates. Caroline Palmer will check with Lawrence Winans for any progress.

Update on INS detention project
Caroline Palmer reported that she has not had much success getting in touch with former co-chair Julie Fishel to get information on the project. The committee decided it was best to start over. Sheila Stuhlman will contact the jails to get information on visits. Amy Ireland will talk to Michele Garnett McKenzie about training sessions. Once contacts are made, a time frame will be put together.

Update on meeting with Professor Duane Kronke
Amy Ireland will contact Professor Kronke to see if he's available for the February or March meetings to talk about the possible war on Irag and the legal issues surrounding that.

2003 MSBA Convention
Caroline Palmer reported that the MSBA Annual Convention will be held on June 18-20 at the Minneapolis Hyatt Regency and that the committee needs to make a decision whether to apply for a programming spot at the convention. This year CLE programs will be decided by a selection process. The application is due at the MSBA by January 27. Due to the success of past programs, it was the consensus that the committee should plan on doing one, possibly on the consequences of the war on terrorism. Caroline Palmer will contact the MSBA Immigration Law and Public Law Sections to see if they would be interested in working together on the program. Caroline Palmer will put together a brief description of the program and will send that via email for members to review before submitting it to the MSBA.

Next Meeting
The committee will meet next on February 12, 2003 at noon at the MSBA offices.

Meeting adjourned.



November 13, 2002
MSBA Human Rights Committee

Present: Caroline Palmer, Chair; Joan Bibelhausen; Debra Schneider, New Lawyers Section Liaison; Sheila Stuhlman; Lawrence Winans; Lloyd Zimmerman; and Tram Thai, MSBA staff.

Update on human rights agency evaluation project
Lawrence Winans reported that, based on his preliminary discussions with funders, seeking a grant under the MSBA's name may not be very successful due to it being a large, well-funded organization. It may be better to draft a grant proposal under the Fair Housing Center auspices, which is a small scale 501c3 nonprofit with a number of civil rights grants in its track record.

The FHC, through a Minnesota Justice Foundation intern, is in the process of drafting a preliminary questionnaire to be presented in person to the heads of the Minnesota, Minneapolis and St. Paul human rights departments. It is estimated that information from these interviews will be gathered by early spring 2003.

There were concerns that the project could be misconstrued by opponents of the agencies and information gathered from the project could lead to the abolishment of the agencies. It was stressed that any information gathering needs to exercise diplomacy and convey the message that while we may be critical of the operations, we are supportive of the agencies.

Lloyd Zimmerman volunteered to work with Lawrence Winans on the project.

Update on INS Detention Project
No updates.

War on Terrorism Updates
It was reported that the driver license case is being argued at the Minnesota Court of Appeals on December 11 at 11 am. Caroline Palmer plans on attending and will report back to the committee at the December meeting, Committee members who are interested in the case were encouraged to attend.

Update on luncheon CLE with Duane Krohnke
It was reported that Duane Krohnke is interested in speaking to the committee but will not be available until after January. The committee will plan on having him come to the February meeting. Caroline Palmer will follow up with Amy Ireland to see if Professor Krohnke is available for the February meeting.

Other Business

Next Meeting
The committee will meet next on Wednesday, December 11, 2002 at 12 noon at the MSBA offices.

Meeting adjourned.


October 9, 2002
MSBA Human Rights Committee

Present: Caroline Palmer, Chair; Joan Bibelhausen; Justin Cummins; Barbara Damchik-Dykes; Amy Schroeder Ireland; Sheila Stuhlman; Valerie Tremelat; Lloyd Zimmerman; and Tram Thai, MSBA staff.

Update on human rights agency evaluation project
Larry Winans was not present so discussions will be table to the next meeting.

Update on INS Detention Project
Members of the committee were still interested in pursuing this project. It was reported that several training sessions were held last year but no site visits have been made yet to the 4 facilities. The committee discussed the need to possibly schedule another training session in the near future. Caroline Palmer will seek more information from former co-chair Julie Fishel and the committee will determine a plan of action at the November meeting. Sheila Stuhlman volunteered to help with this project once the committee determines the proper course of action.

War on Terrorism Updates
The committee discussed the possibility of inviting Duane Krohnke from the University of Minnesota Law School to speak at the committee's December 11 meeting as a CLE luncheon. Amy Schroeder Ireland will check with Professor Krohnke to determine if he's available and will report back to the committee.

Update on Human Rights Day Conference
Lloyd Zimmerman reported that the contacted the Minnesota Department of Human Right, the Minneapolis City Civil Rights Department, and the St. Paul Human Rights Department to express the committee's interest on possible collaborations and extend our support and assistance to the agencies. All welcomed the committee's interest but did not indicate anything concrete they want us to help with at this time.

The MDHR indicated that the agenda for their Human Rights Day Conference is already filled up with programs but would like the committee's help in promoting the conference with members of the Bar. Lloyd Zimmerman will get staff the brochure to be posted on the committee's webpage and possibly to include in the MSBA Legal News Digest.

Lloyd Zimmerman also reported that the Hennepin County District Court Equal Justice Committee is planning a program which will address bias across the board (racial profiling, racial disparity in sentencing and jury selection) and suggested that the committee might want to join in on this effort (co-sponsor, help select speakers, promote). The program will be held in January or February possibly right around the Martin Luther King Holiday. Motion was made and adopted for the committee to endorse and support this program.

Other Business

Committee members were encouraged to continue to think of additional ideas and let the Chair know. A question was raised regarding how the MSBA handles federal legislation. Staff will check into this and will report back at the next meeting.

Next Meeting
The committee will meet next on Wednesday, November 13, 2002 at 12 noon at the MSBA offices.

Meeting adjourned.


September 11, 2002
MSBA Human Rights Committee

Present: Caroline Palmer, Chair; Joan Bibelhausen; Justin Cummins; Mark Frey; Sheila Stuhlman; Valerie Tremelat; Lloyd Zimmerman; and Tram Thai, MSBA Staff.

Caroline Palmer opened the meeting by welcoming members present to the first meeting of the 2002/03 bar year and thanked them for their service, followed by introductions.

Caroline Palmer reported that Co-Chair Julie Fishel has relocated out of state and therefore, has resigned her post. Interested members were encouraged to submit their name for consideration. All appointments are made by MSBA President Jon Duckstad. Caroline Palmer will proceed as the sole Chairperson until <if and when> a new co-chair is appointed.

Discussion of 2002/03 Committee Goals

The Committee explored the following possible goals for the upcoming year:

Committee members were encouraged to start thinking about these goals and email Caroline Palmer at cpalmer@mnaidsproject.org for any additional suggestions.

Meeting Schedule for 2002/03

The Committee will continue to meet on the second Wednesday of each month at 12 noon at the MSBA offices. The schedule is as follows:

Other Business

It was reported that the MSBA will be sponsoring a Legislative Coordinator workshop on September 26 to bring sections and committees into the new legislative process. Staff will check with Larry Winans and Barbara Damchik-Dykes to determine of they still plan on serving as Legislative Coordinators for the Committee. If not, the Committee will need to identify new persons for the position. Caroline Palmer (and possibly Larry Winans and Barbara Damchik-Dykes) will be invited to attend the workshop.

Next Meeting

The next meeting will be held on October 9, 2002 at 12 noon at the MSBA offices.

Meeting adjourned.

- Last Updated 08/04/054 -