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Legislative Update (6-18-20)

Thursday, June 18, 2020


Greetings as we make our way through the first week of a special session that liberals have hijacked to push their extreme agenda. 

Yesterday, House Democrats voted to block passage of legislation to allocate $841 million in federal funding under the CARES Act. The bill was agreed to over the weekend by all four legislative caucuses and was passed 62-4 by the Senate on Tuesday. House Democrats blocked the bill from a vote on the House floor yesterday and now are adding to it spending that Governor Walz wants.

That additional spending was not part of the four-way agreement and, assuming the House Democrats approve the bill, I don’t know how it will be received by the Senate. Again, there was an agreement among the four caucuses on the structure of the CARES Act funding. But House Democrats broke the deal by expanding the bill, at the very least delaying it and ultimately potentially derailing the compromise that was in place.

We also have learned the Walz administration apparently is looking to spend away the state reserves. This will negatively affect our bond rating and result in increased debt service on existing bonds. The Legislature passed economic relief packages earlier this year, money that was to be repaid from federal stimulus dollars. Now it looks like the Walz administration does not want to repay the money and instead will continue spending even though a shortfall is projected.

Legislation related to public safety/criminal justice also is up for discussion this special session and is set to come to the House floor this evening. While valuable reform was approved by the Senate, House Democrats also propose allowing felons to vote and requiring the courts to use a presumption of release of a defendant on personal recognizance instead of money bail in misdemeanor cases.

Those are both bad ideas and so is the House majority’s push to hand over all officer shooting incidents to the Attorney General’s office. These cases must be dealt with fairly, without bias, and should remain in the hands of county attorneys because, unlike the Minnesota Attorney General, they are non-political offices.

This week also brought news of agreements reached by Secretary of State Steve Simon with the League of Women Voters of Minnesota Education Fund and the Minnesota Alliance For Retired Americans to eliminate two longstanding state election laws. This includes not enforcing the absentee ballot witness signature requirement, and allowing ballots to be accepted after Election Day. (A recent COVID-19 election bill which passed the legislature with almost no opposition re-affirmed that ballots must be received on Election Day or before to be counted.)

The two aforementioned liberal groups sued the state last month and, instead of defending the integrity of our elections, SOS Simon simply agreed with the groups and let the changes occur. 

This is highly concerning because these moves could completely undermine our elections system. However, it appears the Trump administration is getting involved and I hope the situation is rectified before irreparable damage is done to the foundation of our voting republic.

As we House Republicans continue to do our part on these issues, we can be grateful for our Senate Republican majority that is pushing back against radical proposals the House Democrats and Gov. Walz keep putting out. That said, the Senate Republicans need our support, so please join me in letting them know we appreciate their effort and ask them to keep standing strong as this special session takes its twists and turns.


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