I wrote last week about a handful of bills I’ve authored and three of them received legislative hearings this week. All three have been set aside for possible inclusion in omnibus bills later this session.
One bill would allow ice-fishermen to use a third line, another would expand licensing of mini trucks and the third would allow vision-impaired hunters to use laser sights on their bows. A program called Starting Line interviewed me about the bow-hunting bill and you can click here to view the brief segment.
The Capitol complex was a busy place in general this week, with an enormous turnout by people who wanted to discuss Second Amendment rights. The majority has introduced a lengthy list of bills which would place new restrictions on firearms citizens came out strong to send a message to Gov. Mark Dayton and legislators that they are very concerned and opposed to the bills being authored.
The bills included legislation requiring background checks for gun shows and private sales; limiting gun permit access for some Minnesotans; and a ban on “assault weapons.” The definition of “assault weapons” in the bills seems quite expansive and open for interpretation.
One puzzling thing is that bills were discussed for hours on end, but no votes were taken and the bills are now idle. It will be interesting to see what transpires and when the new majority will put gun bills back in play. Many people – including me – would just as soon see the bills stay in mothballs.
STATE OF THE STATE
The other highlight of this week was when dozens of business owners from throughout the state were special guests of House members for the governor’s State of the Speech Address. The business owners participated in a very productive roundtable discussion with House members prior to Dayton's speech. My personal guest was Harold Stanislawski, the Economic Development Director for Fergus Falls.
The business owners shared a wide variety of thoughts and concerns regarding Minnesota's business climate. A few of the points we heard from business owners small and large include:
· The governor’s budget will make us downsize our business and we've already downsized because of the economy.
· I'm looking to neighboring states to expand.
· It is insulting to be demonized as the job creators.
· We are labeled as the rich who need to pay their fair share. We are hurting and we aren't the big corporations.
The governor started his speech by highlighting many of the good things which have transpired as a result of decisions made the last two years when Republicans held majorities. We have gained 72,000 jobs, our state's budget is in much better shape and the 2011 K-12 shift is fully repaid. The governor took credit for these developments - some of the very same things he and other naysayers in the new majority have consistently criticized - but was light on new, innovative initiatives for the future.