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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Jim Nash (R)

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Scrapping MNLARS & maybe the worst bill

Friday, May 03, 2019

Friends,
 

The House completed passing the remainder of our budget bills. I continue to hold numerous concerns with the spending, taxing, and bad policy provisions in these bills. Despite a $1 billion budget surplus, Democrats’ bills would raise taxes by $12 billion across their budget bills. This is going to make Minnesota even more unaffordable. 

The next step is the conference committee process, where members of the House and Senate will come together to work out the differences in their respective budget bills. During this process, I’m hopeful the Republican Senate can help improve these bills before they go to the governor.

 

Public Safety

"We've had a lot of bad bills, I think this one tops the list." This is how I started my floor speech during the debate of this bill. And it is true. The gun control provisions in the House Public Safety bill will do nothing to stop criminals and only put up barriers for law-abiding citizens wanting to exercise their Second Amendment rights. It is sad that House Democrats chose to include the controversial gun-grabbing bills in their public safety bill. I voted no, and we will now have to rely on the State Senate to take these bad ideas out of the bill. 

Hyper-partisan Elections Bill

As part of their Omnibus State Government Finance bill (SF2227), Democrats passed a hyper-partisan elections bill that rejects a precedent we've had under Republican, Democrat, and Independent governors. I hope the Senate and Governor Walz will reject this divisive approach and continue Minnesota's long history of only approving election law changes with strong bipartisan support. During the debate, Democrats also endorsed the idea of allowing prisoners to vote, and rejected an amendment to prohibit Minnesota's constitutional officers from electioneering from their official office 60 days after the legislature adjourns sine die—the same restrictions in place for lawmakers.

Governors dating back to former Governor Ventura have upheld a standard that requires changes to election law to receive broad bipartisan support in order to earn a governor's signature. Previous chairs of the House Elections Committee have advanced bills that have earned unanimous support coming out of committee, and only addressed changes with broad support from both parties. SF2227 includes controversial provisions including felon voting and National Popular Vote among others that have little or zero support from Republicans.


Scraping MNLARS 

Governor Walz announced this week that he will accept the recommendation of experts to scrap MNLARS in favor of a packaged software is a welcome relief for Minnesotans. For years, I have been pushing to get our state government out of the IT software development business for a simple reason: there is a high probability that a vendor exists to provide the software we need and will be able to expertly deliver on their promises. The focus now needs to be on making Deputy Registrars whole – they suffered, through no fault of their own, the most due to the failings of MNLARS. Many were forced nearly out of business due to something far out of their control, the failings of a government agency.

In 2018, Republicans successfully passed legislation requiring the Dayton administration to issue a request for information (RFI) on the feasibility of a private vendor to replace MNLARS. The Dayton administration declined to take any action to pursue private vendor options that were detailed as a result of the Republican-led RFI legislation.

Over the past two years, Democrats have repeatedly dismissed the idea of bringing in an outside vendor to repair or replace MNLARS. This session, Democrats have brought forward bills that would require major technology builds, including a Paid Leave proposal funded by a new tax on Minnesotans' paychecks.

Technology is only becoming a bigger part of our lives and Minnesotans should be able to expect their government to be able to deliver basic functions without throwing away hundreds of millions on broken technology. I look forward to continuing to serve on the Blue Ribbon Council and using my eleven-plus years as an IT professional to bring forward solutions such as the one we put forward today to ensure Minnesotans get the functioning technology they deserve.
 

Please Contact Me

While we are in session, we’ll be discussing countless ways to improve our state. I hope you’ll call, email, or visit to share your thoughts, ideas, or questions. As you know, I’m here to serve you and want to help in any way I can. My office is located on the third floor of the State Office Building, Office 349, and my phone number is 651-296-4282. If you are coming by the Capitol, please stop by my office! 

Have a great weekend,

Jim

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