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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Cal Bahr (R)

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Friday, January 15, 2021

With the events going on around the start of our session this year, it really emphasizes how much the actual process matters and that our government as a whole needs to do a better job at hearing constituents. Being in a minority caucus means there are numerous ways that the majority caucus tries to shut us down and silence debate - the same as the Governor. We had our first opportunity to stand up for transparency in our legislative process and real debate this week.

Let's Talk About the Rules

The House of Representatives adopted new Permanent Rules of the House on Thursday with some debate - less than in previous years, but still with some sincere and pointed discussion. I offered two different amendments to the proposal.

The first amendment would have removed the ability to combine legislation into Omnibus bills. This has been an issue at the forefront of my efforts from the start. I support true Single Subject Legislation. The courts have ruled that the House is responsible for defining 'single subject' and that is done completely within the Rules of the House. THIS is where we have to push to make that change happen and the amendment I offered even got the support for a roll call vote. We have each and every member of the House on record for whether they truly support transparency in legislation.

You can watch that discussion here: Rep. Bahr's Rules Amendment Discussion

Rep. Munson also spoke in favor of the rule change to prohibit Omnibus Bills.

My second amendment was to remove the pre-filing requirement for amendments to amendments - which currently have to be filed within 6 hours of the closing on the amendment window. All these moves are meant to quell opposition and close the door on debate before discussion has even begun.

Rep. Drazkowski Got Bipartisan Support.

But our Caucus continued to push where neither of the other caucuses we willing to rock that boat. Rep. Drazkowski also offered an amendment designed to remove the pre-filing requirement for amendments almost completely - still with a half hour period to allow them to be electronically distributed and made available to public. Reading through complex legislation takes time that doesn't always allow for necessary changes to language to be found more than 24 hours in advance of the bill discussion. His proposal would have allowed our constituents to have a greater voice in suggesting improvements to legislation that may not have come through any of the committees we are assigned to. This amendment had vocal bipartisan support during discussion.

You can hear more that discussion here: Rep. Drazkowski's Amendment to House Rules.

And Rep. Munson again spoke up in support of that amendment and was even successful at once again, getting enough support on the floor to require a roll call vote so every member is on record for their constituents. 

Rep. Miller Offered the Final Amendment

Rep. Miller also asked the House leadership and the majority members to provide consistent direction in regard to their heavy-handed policies in regard to mask-wearing but disregard of other health practices. In an attempt to point out that hypocrisy, he offered an amendment to the house rules that would allow anyone who chose to have the vaccine to be exempted from the requirement to wear a mask. Of course, your actual ability to catch or share the virus isn't the point of the requirements to wear masks in situations where possible contamination is nearly nil. Rather than take up the discussion and be accountable to constituents, the majority party simply brushed the discussion aside and buried in yet another committee.

If you want to hear Rep. Miller's proposal, you can find that video here: Mask Amendment to Rules.

While discussions like these may seem pedestrian, they are at the core of trying to make your government truly representative. I hope that you will continue to watch who is listening and who pushes your concerns to the side while issuing edicts for you to obey.

Choose Freedom,


Cal Bahr
State Representative, 31B

Coming up Next Week

  •  I am introducing a bill that will allow Townships to choose to preserve their Township form of Government.  Here is a video that I made explaining the bill. 
  • I will be in committee hearing bills and meeting with constituents all week . I will also be talking to the Office of the Legislative Auditor about Minnesota's publicly funded Early Childhood Programs that have been found to have a lot of fraud, mismanagement and overlap.


If you have any questions regarding COVID-19, please don’t hesitate to contact me or my office. We are still attempting to provide regular contact remotely so if you have other needs, please email my Legislative Assistant, Barbara, at

Watch the Minnesota House on Public TV

Video: Streaming Website. Also you can watch committees and Floor Sessions on YouTube.