For more information contact: Leah Patton 651-296-9895
This week shifted back to floor session, with a couple of major bills passing the House. Here are some details regarding those bills, and a couple of items from our community.
On Monday, the House passed a bill allowing for Sunday sales of liquor. This legislation simply means that liquor stores will be able to choose whether or not they will stay open on Sundays themselves, providing more economic freedom. This bill continues to be debated in the Minnesota Senate.
On Thursday, we passed a Real ID bill, HF3, off the House floor.
By way of some concise background, in 2005 the federal government passed enhanced security requirements for state IDs. These measures were passed in the wake of 9/11 to combat terrorism.
The essential difference between a standard Minnesota driver’s license and a Real ID is that the information on your application will me run through an extra federal security database to confirm your social security number is actually yours, that you don’t have a driver’s license in another state, and that you are a U.S. citizen or have status in this country that allows for a driver’s license.
Neither the state, nor federal government, will require, or have access to, any additional information that what is currently required to get a driver’s license. The only difference is the additional security measures involved in processing your application, meaning “pinging” it through a database.
Some Minnesotans still have privacy concerns with these additional security requirements. Others are more concerned with being able to fly in the U.S., enter a federal facility, or a military base using their driver’s license. The bill that we passed in the House, HF3, is a compromise that respects both sides of this issue.
HF3 allows Minnesotans to choose which ID they want: a standard license that we have now or a Real ID compliant license. You can decide what fits your needs most.
This bill passed the House on a bipartisan vote, and is still being debated in the Senate. I will keep you updated as we move forward with this issue.
MET Council Reform
Possible overreach by the MET Council has been the cause of some concern in recent years.
The Metropolitan Council is a regional governing authority with 17 members appointed by Governor Dayton; none of its members are elected. It was established in the 80’s to help streamlines public works efforts in and around the Metro, and currently controls a budget of $1 billion annually. This group of unelected officials can levy property taxes and control sales tax in the Metro, going against the principle of “no taxation without representation.” This overreach is concerning to many people in our area and around the Metro.
Measures were announced in the legislature this last week that would change the way MET Council officials are selected, allowing local elected officials to appoint members to represent them and the interest of their community. Other measures are being considered as well to provide more accountability for the MET Council; I will keep you informed as this issue develops.
There has been some discussion regarding our First Amendment lately, which protects the right to free speech allows for peaceful protest. This right is central and essential to being an American. Also concerning, however, is how some protests recently have escalated and resulted in damage to property and threatening public safety.
Two bills have been introduced in the House that will address these two concerns. The first will protect taxpayers and local businesses from having to pay to repair the damages by holding individuals accountable for the damage they cause if they are convicted of a crime. The second bill will raise criminal penalties for blocking highways, which can obstruct emergency medical services from reaching those in dire situations.
Both damaging property and obstructing highways are already illegal, regardless of whether it is done in protest or not. These bills do not impugn First Amendment rights; they simply protect the rule of law in our communities.
Save the Date
Rep. Erin Maye Quade (House District 57A), Sen. Greg Clausen (Senate District 57), and I will be holding a town hall in our district on March 11th at 1:30 PM. A location is forthcoming, but be sure to mark your calendars and join us for a conversation! Visit the Facebook event for details and updates: https://www.facebook.com/events/1687191627965605/
Keep in Touch
As always, please don't hesitate to contact me with your comments, questions, and concerns. Email me any time at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 651-296-4306. You can also follow my updates on Facebook at www.facebook.com/repannawills. If you plan to stop by and visit me at the Capitol once I have returned from maternity leave, my office is 491 in the State Office Building.
State Representative, District 57B
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