Black Republican, Black Democrat
I am not afraid to be thrown into difficult political conversations. As such, I have been a frequent guest on the show, "Black Republican Black Democrat '' where I appeared opposite Rep. John Thompson. We discuss race, legislation, and how the government is "putting the brakes on" free speech. Rep. Thompson is the chief author of the Money to End All Racism bill and a bill to allow Minneapolis to enact a maximum rent on all apartments in Minneapolis, further driving down the value to property and investment in the city. While much of the show was a heated debate, John and I managed to find some common ground on my Food Freedom Act. We will return to the show soon for a whole hour discussion.
Piles of Local Aid from the Federal Government
The 1.9 Trillion dollar debt bill passed by Congress (dubbed "American Rescue Plan") funnels money directly to each State, County, City, and Township in America. Minnesota and local governments are receiving 4.881 BILLION dollars in total. I represent portions of four counties, and the amount each level of government is detailed in the photo above. As with CARES Act funding, there are loose guard rails on how the money can be spent. I encourage you to participate in your local government board meetings to ensure this 'one-time' money is spent responsibly and doesn't create programs that will demand future funding. We already have a huge surplus in St Paul. We didn't need an extra $2.577 billion of taxpayer money thrown into the general fund.
Download the spreadsheet for full data on all MN cities, counties, and townships here: https://tinyurl.com/yegc74r4
In 2019, over 76 million dollars were spent lobbying Minnesota lawmakers. Minnesota's lobbying laws are weak and much of the additional spending is not reported. Our State received a D minus grade on a national review of lobbying laws. This week, the Minnesota Reformer interviewed me about a lobbying reform bill I have authored.
"A bill [HF1348] introduced by Rep. Jeremy Munson, R-[Lake] Crystal, would prohibit legislators from being employed by businesses that primarily work in lobbying and government relations. Under current state law, legislators cannot be registered lobbyists. Munson said he’s concerned about conflicts of interest that could arise when lawmakers take on other roles at lobbying firms."
“We have a law that says lobbyists can’t give a legislator more than $5, but we don’t have a law that says a lobbying firm can’t give a legislator a six-figure salary,” Munson said.
We have legislators on both sides of the aisle who are lobbying for clients without registering as lobbyists. Other States have reformed laws to purge the DC swamp from circumventing State lobbying regulations. The Minnesota Campaign Finance Board, which oversees lobbying, has asked the legislature to enact such reforms. I have met with the CFB and drafted HF1348 to address this concern.
The REAL Bill to Fix The Governor’s Powers
Don't be fooled by imitation "fix the emergency powers" bills. HF2204 is the only one that doesn't allow the governor to unilaterally write the law, which violates our State constitution. Several bills remove the legislative veto, but they don't prevent the governor from simply renewing his powers every 30 days as Walz threatened to do. I am proud to author this bill with Rep. Mortensen which restores the constitutional balance of power between three co-equal branches of government.
Thank you for being engaged in Government,
State Representative, 23B
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.firstname.lastname@example.org
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