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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Steve Drazkowski (R)

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Monday, June 2, 2008
Minnesota House lawmakers are now in the record books. Before this biennium, the modern-day record for the most legislative days in a biennium was 116, set back in 1999-2000 and 2001-2002. On May 16, that record was broken after lawmakers attended Session Day 117 in this current biennium. For the record, we used 119 total days. Also during the past two years, members introduced the largest number of bills in Minnesota’s history at 4,246. These are records you really don’t want to hang your hat on. Think of the staff hours wasted compiling and debating these measures, all at your expense. Thankfully, most of them never saw the light of day. Sadly, some of them did. When you have an overwhelming majority like the Democrats do in the Minnesota House, it stands to reason that you will see some radical bills being approved on the House floor. Shockingly, the Senate also approved some of this legislation, meaning Governor Pawlenty served as the last line of defense. Thankfully, he’s done his job, and done it so well that he made a record number of vetoes. One bill would have established a grace period for homeowners with subprime mortgages in foreclosure, which legislatively preempts contracts between borrowers and lenders. Had it become law, you can bet that banks would have increased rates to compensate for the additional risk they would take on each time they originate a loan. Others centered on tax increases, such as on natural gas, or on paint in order to fund a paint recycling program. Another would have allowed local units of government to give away its money to non-profit organizations. Banning the use of flame retardants in appliances also didn’t survive the governor’s veto pen, and neither did putting state government in charge of collecting and storing genetic samples from newborns. This biennium, Governor Pawlenty and House Republicans played goalie, and we needed a bigger hockey stick to protect the net of freedom. The majority party was on a power play, but luckily, we had a number of great blocked shots.
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