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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Joe McDonald (R)

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Legislative update

Friday, January 27, 2023


House Democrats have been passing one concerning bill after another to the House floor recently. The most recent was just yesterday, when the majority approved legislation which increases consumer energy prices, reduces power reliability and ultimately compromises safety.

The bill (H.F. 7) extends and increases Minnesota’s renewable energy standard to 55 percent by 2035 and requires electric utilities in the state to generate or acquire 100 percent carbon-free energy by 2040.

A report from the Center of the American Experiment estimates the Walz/Democrat plan to move to 100 percent carbon free electricity by 2040 will cost $313 billion, or nearly $3,900 per family per year. The same study indicates the return on these massive consumer costs would be negligible at best, paying to potentially avert 0.00096 degrees Celsius of warming by 2100.

This is a Blackout Bill, plain and simple. It is unsustainable, unaffordable, unreliable, unreasonable and incomprehensible. This is not what Minnesotans asked for and I’m very concerned about the fallout that would result from it becoming law. People already are paying sky-high energy prices, and this would only make things worse throughout our economy, including an estimated 79,000 jobs lost and industrial electricity consumers facing annual electric bills in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The Midcontinent Independent Systems Operator currently has reported a 1,200-megawatt capacity shortfall, indicating Minnesota already doesn’t have enough reliable power-plant capacity online to meet expected peak electricity demand. MISO warnings of capacity shortfalls for peak periods will become more commonplace if our state continues to rely more on intermittent, weather-dependent energy sources as House Democrats propose.

All blackouts are bad, but winter blackouts in Minnesota could pose great dangers that House Democrats are not taking seriously. I’d rather see Minnesota focus on diversifying the state’s grid, tapping into new nuclear technology and carbon capture and storage as lower-cost alternatives for reducing carbon emissions.

Nuclear, coal, natural gas, hydro, wind and solar all have a place on our grid, providing energy diversity and stability and mitigating our vulnerability to outages. On the other hand, we’ve already seen states such as California take a more liberal approach to energy only to suffer rationed power – and requests to limit charging electric vehicles or using appliances during certain hours. Now, the Minnesota House majority wants to bring those same failed policies to our state – a cold-weather state – at a time we already are facing capacity issues as demand for electricity rises.

Republicans offered amendments intended to improve H.F. 7, including by allowing generation and transmission outfits to evaluate their own criteria on whether to modify or delay standard obligations. This takes the decision-making away from the Public Utilities Commission and provides a more flexible, common-sense approach allowing for market-based solutions instead of government mandates.

House Democrats blocked that amendment and other Republican proposals before approving the bill and sending it to the Senate for a vote.

Extreme abortion bill

Approval of the Blackout Bill comes just days after House Democrats passed a bill aligning Minnesota with some of the world’s most extreme positions on abortion, such as North Korea and China.

It’s hard to put into words just how extreme a position House Democrats took with this bill, but let’s start with how the bill (H.F. 1) makes abortion, which already is legal in the state, available at any time during a pregnancy – up to the moment of birth – and with no guardrails.

And the bill fails to even ensure that a woman seeking an abortion receives one in a safe or licensed facility. According to the bill, second- or third- term abortions do not need to take place in a hospital, despite posing medical risks.

The bill also would also allow a minor to obtain “reproductive health care” which specifically includes irreversible procedures like sterilization without parental notification or consultation.

Fellow Republicans voted in unison against these bills but House Democrats approved them on their own.



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