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

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Legislative Update from Rep. Mary Franson

Friday, March 1, 2024

Dear Friends,

This week, Minnesota Management and Budget released the February Budget and Economic which showed a $3.7 billion surplus in 2025, but a $1.5 billion deficit beginning in 2026. The deficit is forecasted as if the surplus will not be spent, meaning any new spending bills passed in 2024 will further increase the deficit. 

News of a looming budget deficit is a direct result of Democrats’ reckless spending spree last session that spent a historic $17.5 billion surplus. They knew their spending was out-of-control, so they raised taxes on hardworking Minnesotans by $10 billion to pay for their 40 percent increase to the state budget. In total, that’s a $28 billion increase which is not sustainable. Government spending must be reined in to prevent any future deficits. When family budgets are being stretched thin, Minnesotans tighten their belts and cut back on their spending. It’s time government does the same.

This Democrat deficit highlights the problems with one-party control of our state government. We need balance restored in St. Paul so we can stop wasting taxpayer dollars on frivolous spending. I will continue to stand up for family budgets and bring our shared fiscal conservative values to the State Capitol this session.

Extreme Anti-2nd Amendment Bills Get Hearing

Yesterday, Democrats held a gun hearing on two bills. The first, HF 601, would create an arbitrary reporting deadline for lost or stolen firearms. The other bill, HF 4300, would mandate specific storage methods for firearms, reducing effectiveness for self-defense.

Democrats are refusing to hold criminals accountable while also introducing legislation that weaken penalties for gun-related crimes. While they work to reduce penalties for violent criminals, HF 601 effectively criminalizes victims for not reporting a crime within their arbitrary timeframe. We should not be criminalizing people who are the victims of other crimes.

These bills fail to address the root cause of gun violence or hold criminals accountable. Instead, they create burdens on law-abiding gun owners, making it increasingly difficult to own and keep firearms in the home. Democrats, prosecutors, and activist judges should spend their time enforcing the countless gun laws already on the books, prosecuting and holding violent criminals accountable, and giving law enforcement the resources they need to keep our communities safe.

Democrats Threaten Religious Liberty

This week, the Judiciary Committee held a hearing on a bill to change provisions in the Minnesota Human Rights Act (MHRA). Before last year, gender identity was included in the MHRA definition of sexual orientation and the religious exemption for sexual orientation covered gender identity claims as well. When a new, separate definition of gender identity was created last year, there was no corresponding religious exemption added. The removal of this protection from the Human Rights Act breaks decades of precedent in an attack on Minnesota's religious communities.

A GOP amendment was offered that would have restored the religious exemption in the MHRA and protect religious organizations and faith-based schools against claims of gender identity discrimination. Already, at least one faith-based school is facing an employment complaint at the Department of Human Rights because of the removal of the exemption. The exemption ensures that religious organizations and faith-based schools can, among other things, hire teachers and ministers consistent with their mission and values. Democrats refused to fix the problem and voted the amendment down.

Our country was founded on the values of separation of church and state. Democrats clear refusal yesterday to maintain that longstanding principle shows they put their extreme ideology above your constitutional rights