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

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Legislative Update from Rep. Mary Franson

Friday, March 24, 2023

Dear Friends,

Democrats are spending Minnesota’s $17.5 billion surplus 6 ways to Sunday. This week the Governor, Speaker of the House, and Senate Majority Leader announced their budget targets as we work this session to create the new two-year state budget.

One would hope with a historic surplus the budget would have billions of dollars earmarked for permanent tax relief for Minnesotans. There is $3 billion set aside for the Taxes Committee, but this could be for spending in the form of refundable tax credits. A full exemption of the social security tax to support our seniors is far from guaranteed.

Also included in the budget targets was $2.2 billion for Education and $1 billion for Housing. But how much was included for crises that are affecting Minnesota right now? Our nursing and long-term care facilities are facing an existential crisis as they are unable to keep up with the staffing demands. The Governor and Democrats don’t seem to be treating this crisis with the seriousness it deserves. They only set aside around $4 million for grants to support our seniors living in long-term care. This is unacceptable.

Democrats want to spend your surplus to grow government and set Minnesota on an unsustainable path. We will face a budget deficit if this spending spree goes unchecked. Then, instead of providing permanent and meaningful tax relief for Minnesotans, we will be forced to raise taxes to pay for all these government programs. Democrats want to spend all the surplus for their pet projects. Republicans want to return the surplus to you and that’s what we’ll continue fighting for this session.

Protecting Kids

In the dark of night – and by that, I mean 5am – Democrats passed a bill to make Minnesota a sanctuary state for transgender health care. This bill:

  • Failed to protect kids, who can be brought to Minnesota “by one parent or a person acting as parent” and be given transgender health care, including puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and genital surgery, in some cases without their parents’ permission. There are no age limits on how old children must be before getting these irreversible treatments.
  • Created a new definition of “gender-affirming healthcare” that “respects the gender identity of the patient, as experienced and defined by the patient.” This is an unprecedented standard, where the patient, including a minor, can self-diagnose and the doctor must provide care according to the patient’s definition.
  • Undermines parents’ long-standing Constitutional rights to direct the upbringing of their children. 
  • Puts Minnesota above the law by prohibiting our state from recognizing out-of-state subpoenas and our extradition statutes are amended to exclude acts involving gender-affirming health care.

As you know, I have long been an advocate for the rights of parents and standing up against female genital mutilation. I offered two amendments to try to protect our kids:

  • Clarifying that gender affirming care does not include the crime of female genital mutilation. We do not want people bringing young girls to Minnesota under the guise of seeking “gender affirming care” when they really want to commit a crime. This amendment was ruled out of order.
  • Specifying that gender affirming health care does not include treatment that can result in permanent loss of sexual function, permanent sterilization, or permanent change to the bone density or structure to minors. The Democrats gutted this amendment with their own amendment, so I withdrew my original amendment.

This extreme bill failed to protect our kids and never should have seen the light of day. No wonder we had to debate it in the dead of night. I urge people to reach out to their Senators and encourage them to protect our kids against legislation that fails to provide any guardrails