Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Greetings from the Capitol! Today ends the first full week of legislative activity in St. Paul. Before the weekend gets underway, I wanted to give you a quick update with some info on some of the big items of discussion so far.
Red Flag Bill
Democrats are back in the majority in the House and it hasn’t taken long for them to introduce plans to confiscate firearms from law-abiding gun owners and infringe on your Second Amendment rights in the process. The number one issue I have heard about from folks in our district is a bill being called the “red flag bill”. This legislation would allow a gun owner’s friends, family members, or even a disgruntled neighbor to petition a court to prohibit that gun owner from possessing firearms. Under this proposal, due process is stripped away and the gun owner would never have the opportunity to defend his or herself in court. I am a supporter of due process which, like the Second Amendment, is a fundamental right protected by the Constitution. Please know that I will always stand up to violations of our Second Amendment rights and will do everything in my power to defeat unconstitutional bills like this one.
This week, my House Republican colleagues and I encouraged Governor Walz and Democrats to not reinstate the sick tax, which would raise healthcare costs for Minnesota families. Also called the provider tax, the sick tax is a tax on most patient services in Minnesota, including things like baby deliveries, chemotherapy treatments, routine doctor visits, and emergency room visits. Thanks to legislation Republicans enacted in 2011, the sick tax is set to expire in 2020.
Democrats spent the summer and fall promising lower healthcare costs, and now they want to reinstate this tax, which would increase healthcare costs for Minnesotans by over $600 million each year. Simply stated, you can’t make healthcare more affordable by increasing taxes on it.
With a $1.5 billion state budget surplus, reinstating a $600 million per year sick tax makes even less sense. Instead of reinstating a tax that will hit Minnesotans with already mounting medical bills the hardest, the focus should be on free market solutions that will truly lower costs. Democrats claim that funds collected from the sick tax are necessary to provide healthcare and other services to low-income Minnesotans. However, with a $1.5 billion budget surplus and by eliminating widespread waste and fraud in our public programs, we can make sure services are available for those who need it – without increasing health care costs on every Minnesotan that goes to the doctor.
Raising healthcare taxes on Minnesotans already facing high healthcare costs is simply the wrong approach, and I will continue to oppose this harmful and unnecessary tax.
Hands Free Bill
With multiple bill versions already introduced to address the issue, another big topic of discussion at the legislature this year is distracted driving. There is already legislation being considered that takes aim at distracted driving by banning the use of handheld cellphones and devices while driving – unless they are operated hands-free. Likewise, there is also legislation being considered to increase penalties for texting while driving and expand certain driving crimes to include texting while driving.
I have heard from countless people on both sides of this issue – both supporters and opponents of the proposed legislation. I understand that there is merit to each side’s arguments, whether it be making roads safer or reining in big government. Your input will help us enact the best possible policies, so I would like to encourage everyone to please contact me to share your stance on the issue.
Please Contact Me
If you ever have any questions, comments, or concerns regarding any issue related to state government, please feel free to contact me. I can be reached via phone at 651-296-3201 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I value your input and would love to hear from you.
I truly represent the best!