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House rules committee holds over resolution affirming election results, condemning local and national violence

A Minnesota State Patrol squad car is part of the increased security presence outside the State Capitol Jan. 20, following the attack on the U.S. Capitol two weeks earlier. Photo by Paul Battaglia
A Minnesota State Patrol squad car is part of the increased security presence outside the State Capitol Jan. 20, following the attack on the U.S. Capitol two weeks earlier. Photo by Paul Battaglia

UPDATED Jan. 22 - The committee approved the resolution, as amended, with no discussion Friday. HR1 is expected to be on the House Floor sometime next week.  

One day after Joe Biden took office as the nation’s 46th president, a committee began discussing a resolution Thursday saying, in part, the House and the state support the certified election results and do not support the destructive actions earlier this month by supporters of Donald Trump.

In addition to supporting “the full certification” of Minnesota’s electoral college votes and those from across the country, HR1 notes that the House and state “unequivocally condemns violence directed at the United States Capitol and at state capitols” and calls for prosecution of participants “in the criminal destruction of property and assaults on our law enforcement officials at the United States Capitol.”

Further, it “condemns attacks on our constitutional democracy” and “reaffirms our commitment to democracy, free and fair elections, and the rule of law.”

Rep. Jamie Long (DFL-Mpls) sponsors the resolution.

House Rules and Legislative Administration Committee 01/21/21

“The goal in bringing forward the resolution is to give opportunity for members of the Legislature to be on the record standing up for democracy and for the rule of law and against the attacks that we saw on the U.S. Capitol and the threats we’ve seen against the State Capitol,” he told the House Rules and Legislative Administration Committee. “Our intent is to try to make it a resolution that can be broadly supported.”

If passed on the floor, the resolution would be entered in the House Journal.

House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt (R-Crown) said the Jan. 6 violence in Washington D.C. should be denounced and people partaking in the destructive behavior need to be held accountable, but wording in parts of the resolution would be problematic for some members of his caucus.

Rep. Jim Nash (R-Waconia) urged things be written “more tightly” so the resolution can stand the test of time without, for example, concern that people may have differing views on the common usage of  “democracy.”

House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler (DFL-Golden Valley) said the goal is to make a “clear statement in a way that we think most members of the Minnesota House of Representatives should be able to find acceptable.”

Ultimately, Winkler, the committee chair, decided the best course of action would be to work on some of the concerns and return to the committee with another draft, maybe as soon as Friday.

Among Republicans’ concerns is the resolution speaks to all Electoral College votes, not just the 10 from Minnesota. Daudt — who acknowledges that Biden beat Trump — said it is not the House’s responsibility, nor should it be, to determine what happened in the other 49 states is accurate.

“It’s a fair point that we should be focused on the Minnesota elections,” Long said, expressing support for removal of that section.

Rep. Cal Bahr (R-East Bethel) noted the United States is a constitutional republic, not a “constitutional democracy” as stated in the resolution. And Daudt questioned the use of “murdered by members of the mob” to describe the death of a U.S. Capitol officer during the insurrection.

“People will be tried and I assume they will be convicted, but until that has happened I don’t know that we can (say) they murdered him,” Daudt said. “… I believe they did, but I also do believe in the foundations of our system of government that ensures these people will get a day in court.”

Winkler said some issues raised by Republicans may not be “reasonable” from his side of the aisle.

“Sometimes you can nitpick or minimize enough words to eventually not say anything at all. That is something we are probably resistant to doing. … The point is to be fair and accurate, but to characterize it for what it was.” 

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