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Legislative Update (2-20-20)

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Dear Neighbor,

Just in case you are still wondering where the House Democrats’ loyalties lie, this week they slow-rolled funding that would benefit farmers while putting gun-grabbing bills on the fast track.

On Wednesday night, Democrats voted to push two anti-gun bills (H.F. 8/background checks and H.F. 9/red flags) through the Ways & Means Committee, meaning those proposals can come to the House floor for votes of the full body at any time.

I strongly oppose H.F. 8/9 and any other proposals that would infringe on our Second Amendment rights. These bills violate the oath of office House members took to uphold the Constitution, but the majority will move as many politically motivated pieces of legislation as they can to satisfy the most liberal among them and their supporters.

Those of us who cherish the Second Amendment need to continue standing up for our rights. Thankfully, grassroots momentum is growing at the local level, with at least four Minnesota counties – including Clearwater – having declared themselves Second Amendment sanctuaries. Wadena, Marshall and Roseau counties also have made this move and votes in more counties are planned.

By declaring themselves sanctuaries, these counties are declaring they will not use local resources to restrict our Second Amendment rights. It’s refreshing to see local folks speaking up and telling St. Paul to back off.

It is good the Republican-controlled Senate has declared these bills dead on arrival and already has conducted hearings on anti-gun bills. That said, we still need to buckle in because the House majority’s radical agenda is likely to continue at the Capitol.

And, as I mentioned, the majority seems bent on grabbing our guns but does not appear to be in any hurry to help farmers. House Democrats this week unanimously voted against and blocked a House Republican proposal to allocate funds for a depleted loan program which aids farmers.

The Rural Finance Authority loan program runs out of funds on Friday, according the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. House Republicans attempted to replenish those funds to eliminate uncertainty for farmers and help them prepare for the upcoming growing season.

The bottom line is the House majority failed our farmers this week. There is no point in waiting until later this session to replenish funding for an account we already know is running dry. All that’s going to happen by waiting is that farmers will continue to face uncertainty and added financial stress as we enter the new growing season.

The RFA partners with agricultural lenders to provide low-cost financing to farmers on terms and conditions not otherwise available from other credit sources. The RFA portion of the loan is carried at a reduced interest rate to improve the cash flow of eligible farmers. RFA offer loans within the beginning farmer loan and seller assisted program, agricultural improvement program, debt restructuring program, and livestock expansion programs.

Look for more news from the Capitol soon and I’ll do my best to let you know if there is anything to report on anti-gun bills.

-Steve

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