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

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Legislative Update from Rep. Mary Franson

Friday, April 14, 2023

Dear Friends,

I hope you had a wonderful Easter. The legislature reconvened this week after our Easter/Passover break to begin debating omnibus budget bills. Remember: Democrats are pushing for $9.5 billion in tax increases while Minnesota has a $17.5 billion surplus. There is no reason to spend more money to grow our state budget by 40% when Minnesotans are being overtaxed.

I will continue advocating for permanent, meaningful tax relief to support family budgets until the end of session. Minnesotans want more money in their pocketbooks, not more funding for government bureaucracy.

“Protect Democracy Act”? More Like “Protect Democrat Victories Act”

Yesterday, Democrats passed the most partisan election bill in Minnesota history. It violates a longstanding tradition that elections bills in Minnesota have bipartisan support. This bill will regulate campaign speech and limit engagement in the political process. Most concerningly, it will threaten election integrity with automatic voter registration when a person signs up for a driver’s license. As a reminder, Governor Walz signed a new law this session to give undocumented immigrants drivers licenses.

Other troubling aspects include:

  • Creates a permanent absentee voter list. Voters who register for the list will receive absentee ballots automatically instead of receiving a registration form for the absentee ballot.
  • Expands the definition of express advocacy. With this provision, more speech will be regulated, and it will have a chilling effect on campaign speech which the U.S. Supreme court has protected.
  • Prohibits “foreign-influenced corporations” from engaging in the political process. While this sounds like a good thing, in reality it creates a confusing standard for what is “control” of a corporation. Corporations headquartered here may have shareholders outside of the country and they will no longer be allowed to exercise their right to free speech.

I voted against this extreme bill. Minnesotans deserve free and fair elections. We will not have election integrity if the playing field heavily favors one side. I encourage you to reach out to your Senators so we can stop this partisan bill from becoming law.

Will Democrats $2.2 Billion Education Omnibus Fully Fund Education?

This week the Education Omnibus bill was heard in the Ways and Mean Committee, the final stop before heading to the floor. Democrats want to pass a $2.2 billion omnibus that is full of new mandates that will get in the way of parents, teachers, and school boards as they work together to support our students.

The current bill will mandate curriculum, limit and restrict discipline in the classroom, and restrict class sizes. It will add 47 new positions in the Department of Education and will provide $38.8 million to non-profits. Our parents, teachers, and school boards need to be empowered to work together to support our students. Creating new mandates and expanding MDE gets in the way of that goal. More local control and less bureaucracy is the best way of ensuring that every child in Minnesota receives a great education. Republicans will continue fighting for our students and families when we debate the Education Omnibus bill.  

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