House Rejects Transparency and Accountability
The ONE change that would drastically improve government accountability and transparency, as well as, reduce the influence of lobbyists and special interest groups in St Paul is to end the unconstitutional use of multi-subject omnibus bills. These bills allow bad legislation and wasteful spending to pass by cramming numerous bills into one vote.
Yesterday, we forced a roll-call vote on the House Floor on a rule's change to require single-subject bills. All Democrats and even a few Republicans voted against this rule change. Below, I explain what’s wrong with omnibus bills, and why I voted in support of Representative Bahr’s amendment for transparency and accountability in government.
Watch Video against multi-subject bills
This week my colleague Senator Carla Nelson (R-Rochester) introduced a bill Senate File 2 which removes the Governor's authority to close or alter their schedules via executive order.
Senator Nelson said, “We have to think about what is best for students above all. At this point in the pandemic, there is widespread agreement about the importance of getting students back into the classroom,”
The Governor has ignored the concerns of parents here. We have students yearning to get back into the classroom who are struggling remotely, and athletes who are passing out, or fainting from wearing masks during practices. Depression and sucide rates among young adults have skyrocketed during distance learning. Not only has the Governor ignored the voices of the people, he is now ignoring the facts. Reuters reported on a study of 191 countries and found no clear link between school reopening and coronavirus surges. In addition, the Atlantic Magazine wrote that kids are not superspreaders. We need our kids back in the classroom, and on the fields. We need to start to return to normal.
I will be working to pass Cassy’s law again this year. This bill works to address how we treat people with brain injuries in the judicial system. I met Tim Barry, a citizen activist, two years ago at the Capitol where he had been fighting for justice for his daughter Cassy. She had been locked in solitary confinement for nine months. She had a massive stroke, traumatic brain injury, and was an amputee.
Our criminal justice system fails many with mental health issues and Tim wanted a change. Together, we wrote “Cassy’s Law”. After presenting it in five committee hearings, the bill passed the House of Representatives. Unfortunately, Sen. Ingebretsen wasn't able to get it through the Senate, so it did not become law. We will try again this year and I am hopeful we can build bipartisan support again.
In the link below, Tim shared his story and concerns.
Watch video of Tim Barry tell the Story of Cassy
Coming Up Next Week
I have my first bill hearing scheduled for Tuesday for the wastewater project in Vernon Center; Mayor Dana Ziegler of Vernon Center will be joining me over zoom to testify.
My Colleagues Rep. Petersburg (R-Waseca) and Senator John Jasinski (R-Faribault) are introducing a bill in support of Officer Matson which strengthens state criminal penalties against individuals who are convicted of attempted first-degree murder of a police officer, judges, prosecutors, or correctional officers. The legislation (Senate File 82, House File XX) would increase the minimum sentence from 20 years, to life with a minimum of 30 years in prison before parole. They were joined at a press conference in support of the bill by Officer Arik Matson, a Waseca police officer who was nearly killed in the line of duty last January,
Watch video introducing Officer Matson bill
If you want to hear more about what happened this week at the capitol, download my free podcast covering what went on this week in Saint Paul. I will be releasing these weekly to keep you up to date on everything happening at the capitol.
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, Grayson, at Grayson.email@example.com
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