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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Mary Franson (R)

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Legislative Update from Rep. Mary Franson

Friday, February 10, 2023

Dear Friends,

This week the Senate debated a bill to change the design of our state flag. They believe that our current flag is not inclusive and has racist overtones.

Democrats are trying to change everything in our state. They want to take down our statues. They want to redefine history. They want to redefine gender.

In 1984, George Orwell wrote:

Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.

It's almost like he predicted the future.

Democrats Pushing Bad School Policies

Last night, Democrats passed a bill to provide universal school meals for all students, regardless of income. No child in Minnesota should struggle to learn at school because they are hungry. Instead of creating a targeted policy that would have a meaningful impact, Democrats rushed through a one-size-fits-all bill that won’t actually address the issues with student hunger.

Republicans tried to make changes, like increasing the number of students who would qualify for free and reduced lunches, but Democrats insisted on providing free meals for everyone, even the wealthiest families in our state. These school meals will still have to abide by USDA portion standards, so there will be students who need additional entrees or a la carte items that families will have to pay for to make sure that their child is full.

Instead of creating these universal policies that don’t actual fix the problem we are trying to solve, we should be focused on solutions that empower parents, school boards, and school administrators to ensure that no child in their community is hungry.

Another bill, HF1269, was heard in the Education Policy committee this week. This bill would create more mandates that will restrict the ability of parents and educators to work together to serve each individual student. It will also have an enormous impact on homeschool families who would be forced to report their students’ test scores. Parents of homeschool students should have the freedom, responsibility, and privacy to measure their own child’s success. I will oppose this bill and its infringement on the rights of our homeschool families.

Paid Family Leave Bill Moving Quickly

Democrats are quickly moving HF 2, their Paid Family and Medical Leave bill through committees without accepting any Republican amendments. This bill would have an enormous impact on every small business in Minnesota. Here is what the bill includes:

  • Requires all Minnesota employers to provide employees with up to 12 weeks of paid leave benefits for qualifying family care and up to 12 more weeks for qualifying medical reasons. 
  • Increases payroll taxes by 0.7%. 
  • Expands government bureaucracy and creates a Family and Medical Benefit Insurance Division under DEED. Hundreds of FTEs will be needed to start and implement this program.
  • Creates a mechanism for an employee to be away from their job for up to 24 weeks each year – 44% of a working year!

According to the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, 80% of their members already provide some form of paid family and medical leave. After we forced businesses to close during COVID, they do not need another government mandate that will force them to make tough decisions again. I strongly urge you to contact state legislators and urge them to oppose this bill.

Lawns to Legumes Bill Passes

Democrats passed another bill last night to fund the “Lawns to Legumes” project to create more pollinator habitat. We have a $17.6 billion surplus and instead of providing tax relief, Democrats are providing Minnesotans with $350 to establish their own pollinator habitat in their yards.

Once again, Democrats demonstrated how out of touch they are with the priorities of Minnesotans with this bill. Taxpayers don’t want to fund your yard work. They want to see their hard-earned tax dollars returned to them in the form of permanent, meaningful tax relief.

Bills to Combat Fraud Heading to the Floor Next Week  

I wanted to provide a preview for you of two bills will be before the House next week regarding the CCAP program. As you may recall the CCAP program, like Feeding Our Future, has faced immense scrutiny for its fraudulent grant making. HF 13 and HF 150 will be debated on Monday, and I look forward to providing you with a full recap of the discussions next week.

Under Democrat leadership, our state agencies have failed to monitor the programs that are doling out money to these organizations. The vast majority of nonprofits in Minnesota are wonderful organizations that serve their communities well. But our state agencies have a responsibility to ensure state funds are getting to the people they are intended to help. Time and again, our agencies have failed at this task.