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

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Legislative Update from Rep. Swedzinski

Friday, February 8, 2013

Dayton Delivers State of State

Dozens of business owners from throughout the state were special guests of House Republican members as Gov. Mark Dayton delivered his State of the Speech Address this week. The business owners participated in a very productive roundtable discussion with House members prior to Dayton's speech. They shared a wide variety of thoughts and concerns regarding Minnesota's business climate.

I was proud to bring along Jon Knochenmus, President of Ralco Nutrition (Marshall) and Kevin Wald, CEO of Ritalka, Inc. (Montevideo) who are both creating jobs in our area. You can hear my general comments after the speech by going to my audio page here.

The governor started his speech by highlighting many of the good things which have transpired over the last two years, but was light on new, innovative initiatives for the future. He first took credit for the improvements Republican-led policies brought to Minnesota the last two years. We have gained 72,000 jobs in that span, our state’s bottom line is in better shape and the 2011 K-12 shift is fully paid off. In the next breath, Dayton referred to our progress as “failed experiments” and the “old order.” You can’t have it both ways, governor. The numbers tell the truth: His plan calls for $16 in tax increases for every $1 in spending reductions.

MN Health Insurance Exchange

The Health Insurance Exchange (HIX) bill received testimony in the Health and Human Services (HHS) Policy committee this week. Our main concern was to address the fact that nowhere in the bill does the HIX assure lower health care costs for individuals, lower costs throughout the health care system, an expansion of coverage for Minnesotans, or improved quality of health care—even though the HIX is costing our state hundreds of millions of dollars to build and operate. On party-line votes, the new Democrat majority defeated our amendments to require that the HIX be subject to oversight and accountability to taxpayers. The bill’s next stop is the Government Operations committee.

Gun Legislation

The Minnesota House Public Safety Committee spent most of this week debating a series of bills that address gun use in our state. Hundreds of concerned citizens from across the state descended on the Capitol to voice their concerns about the bills which they believe violate the Second Amendment. 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.”

House Democrats need to explain why limiting our Second Amendment rights is a higher priority for them than enacting a state budget or expanding our economy. The fact is, bills sponsored by Democrats in Minnesota are even more restricting than what the President wants to pass. This would do nothing to keep certain firearms out of the hands of wrong-doers. Criminals are criminals. These new laws would disarm the good, law-abiding citizens.

Please feel free to contact me with any thoughts or concerns you may have. I can be reached at 651-296-5374 or by e-mail at


Rep. Chris Swedzinski