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Legislative Update (3-26-21)

Friday, March 26, 2021

Neighbor, 

The 2021 session will be two-thirds complete by the time the Legislature returns from observing the Easter/Passover holiday. 

It is bad enough that we have little progress to show on important, time-sensitive matters such as ending Minnesota’s status as the only state in the Upper Midwest to tax emergency loans businesses received from the federal government to make payroll. The House also has failed to approve legislation to spare unemployed workers from receiving unexpected tax bills.

Now, as the House majority continues to leave those bills in limbo, it is focusing on tax hikes and growing government. While they will not release the particulars until next month, it is a given House Democrats will be looking for significant tax increases – even with a $1.6 billion surplus and $8 billion coming from the federal government.

The House Democrat chair on taxes said their caucus plans to only release one tax bill this session, which means we can expect delays to continue with the aforementioned tax provisions as the majority holds them back for no good reason. House Republicans have attempted to bring up and pass bipartisan bills to ensure Minnesota government doesn't profit from federal relief payments, but House Democrats blocked those attempts. This is an injustice to Minnesotans.

House Democrats also continue ignoring legislation that would ensure our law enforcement agencies have the resources they need in rendering mutual aid to places outside their jurisdiction (Minneapolis, for example). Hypocrisy was on full display this week when the House Speaker claimed there is no "realistic path forward" and falsely blamed Republicans for the stalled SAFE/LEO bill.

Let’s stop with the nonsense about Republicans holding up this legislation. House Democrats tried and failed twice to bring up and pass their own bill, and have repeatedly blocked efforts by House Republicans to even allow votes on the compromise SAFE Account proposal which was endorsed by the Star Tribune, as well as the bipartisan Senate LEO bill that passed last month.

It is quite clear that the House Democrats themselves are the sticking point to passage of the SAFE/LEO Account bill. If House Democrats in the majority can't even get enough support to pass their own bill, it is time to allow a vote on a compromise proposal, or work with Republicans to negotiate a meaningful compromise.  

I have serious reservations about sending funding to Minneapolis for this issue, but that’s beside the point. Our law enforcement agencies deserve our support and Minnesotans deserve the truth about what is happening on this issue. 

-Steve 

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