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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Chris Swedzinski (R)

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Legislative report

Thursday, February 28, 2019

The steady stream of meetings with various groups – including many from the district – continues in St. Paul, including with Farm Bureau folks (above) and Yellow Medicine Watershed Board members (below). Thanks to all those who continue coming by the Capitol to share their views on whatever issues are important to them.

Dear Neighbor,

Here is a quick look at some of this week’s headlines from St. Paul:

Economic forecast

Minnesota Management & Budget issued an updated economic forecast for the state this week. It reports a surplus of $1 billion into the next biennium, which is down from $1.5 billion projected in November. Here’s what MMB says about this in its report:

“The projected balance for the upcoming biennium is $1.052 billion, which is $492 million less than the November forecast. Slower projected economic growth and lower observed collections compared to prior estimates result in a reduced revenue forecast throughout the budget horizon. A slightly lower expenditure forecast partially offsets the overall reduction to the projected balance. The trend of slower growth continues into the planning horizon with projected spending growth outpacing forecast revenue growth into FY 2022-23.” 

This means two things to me as we work to set a new two-year state budget. First, with a surplus, a tax increase really needs to be off the table. In addition, we need to proceed with caution in setting a new spending total. I think we need to be really smart about this to make sure we’ve got a little buffer room – obviously, weve seen a decline in the last few months.

Gun bills

Hearings took place this week for a pair of bills that propose new restrictions on guns. Here’s a quick overview:

  • House File 8 creates several new restrictive requirements on the transfer – not just the sale – of all firearms, including long guns, and only allows one firearm per permit to purchase, which expires after 30 days. It also raises the age to buy firearms to 21 and imposes a requirement for private parties to keep records in perpetuity. Even transfers between friends would require individuals to pay a fee to send and take back their firearm, and individuals would be guilty of a gross misdemeanor if they misplaced transfer paperwork and were unable to produce it to authorities.
  • House File 9 permits practically anyone to file a court order that can remove firearms through an ex-parte process where the accused is not present, and cannot offer a counter to the accusation. Law enforcement would be responsible for delivering the order and executing the firearm seizure, often without the accused even knowing an accusation has been made against them.

As a Second Amendment advocate I do not support these bills. We would be better served by focusing our efforts on mental health issues to help provide support people need to avoid getting to those violent places in the first place. Also, I am authoring a bill that makes practical sense by providing tax exemptions on purchases of gun safes to provide further incentive for gun owners secure their firearms.

Look for more news soon and, until next time, have a great weekend.