The legislature is back to work after a short break for precinct caucuses. Thank you to those of you who were able to attend. It was great to hear from many of you about the important issues facing our state. No matter what party you are from, caucuses are an opportunity to become engaged in grassroots government at its finest, so thank you for taking the time to participate.
If you haven’t gotten an opportunity to respond to my 2012 Legislative Survey, there’s still time to fill it out. You can find the survey at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/M8D6VJ9. Your input is very valuable as I move through the session.
I wrote last week about the tort reform bills passed in the House and passed under the guise of job creation. These tort reforms would rig Minnesota’s judicial system in favor of big corporations and insurance companies at the expense of consumers, victims and small businesses. These bills aren’t job creators; they’re job killers. Rather than help out middle-class folks or the little guy, these bills are giveaways to big business.
There is no evidence that these measures are necessary. In fact, they may be soft on scam artists who rip off everyday Minnesotans. These bills make it more difficult to victims of fraud, discrimination, or harassment to seek recourse, and simply line the pockets of corporations and insurance companies.
DFL members offered a number of amendments to protect and help Minnesota seniors, military members, small businesses and consumers who have been intentionally defrauded or harassed. All were defeated on party-line votes. The bills passed the Senate on Wednesday and have been presented to Governor Dayton. I hope he vetoes these poorly conceived pieces of legislation.
Not content with their initial giveaway to big businesses, Republicans are pushing another constitutional amendment: a “Right-to-Work" Amendment, or as opponents call it, a “Right-to-Work for less.” This is another piece of their deliberate, anti-union agenda and would transform Minnesota into a low wage, anti-middle class state and take away things like collective bargaining.
Studies have shown that “Right-to-Work” drives down wages, for both union and non-union workers. Both union and non-union workers in states with these laws make an average of $5,538 less per year than those living in states without the law. Without collective bargaining, benefits are often reduced, and workplace safety suffers greatly.
“Right-to-work” also lets freeloaders enjoy union benefits without joining the union or paying union dues. That’s simply not right and it’s not a Minnesota value.
As a strong supporter of union workers, I’ll do all that I can to oppose this anti-middle class amendment.
Thank you again for the honor of serving you in the legislature. You can reach me by phone at (651) 296-3751, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by sending mail to my office: 229 State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Saint Paul, Minnesota 55155.