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

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Legislative update

Friday, March 1, 2024


The House is wrapping up another busy week with a new economic forecast and the Second Amendment making headlines in recent days. Here are some thoughts on those subjects and more:

State economic forecast

State officials issued a new economic forecast for Minnesota on Thursday, with a looming $1.5 billion shortfall through 2027 overshadowing a $3.715 billion surplus for the current biennium.

This clearly indicates a more balanced approach is needed in St. Paul. Poll results have shown Minnesotans wanted more tax relief and bigger rebate checks from last year's legislative session but that did not happen. Instead, the one-party control in St. Paul decided to spend the $17.5 billion state surplus on growing government spending by 40 percent instead of giving these dollars back to hardworking taxpayers.

Minnesotans see what happened, are fired up about it, and won’t soon forget about the broken promises to fully eliminate the tax on Social Security and deliver $2,000 rebate checks. Public accountability is what makes our representative republic so special and it’s going to help us restore some much-needed balance at the Capitol.

Second Amendment

The House committee on public safety on Thursday conducted hearings for a pair of Second Amendment bills authored by Democrats.

The bills are H.F. 601 – Her, arbitrary deadline for reporting for lost and stolen firearms; and H.F. 4300 – Becker-Finn, regarding firearm storage. Both proposals seem to do more to criminalize good-faith, law-abiding gun owners than to crack down on the repeat criminals and other true bad actors our courts continue putting back on the street. I mentioned these bills in a previous email and here’s more:

Rep. Her’s bill puts the onus on the victim of a crime to file a report to law enforcement within the government’s definition of reasonable time – 48 hours. If you are the victim of a firearm theft, and the perpetrator of that crime commits another crime with your stolen weapon, the bill stipulates that you may be held responsible.

Rep. Becker-Finn’s bill requires a person to either store a firearm not in the person’s direct control in a safe or unloaded with a locking device. On the same day the DFL introduced this bill that makes it a crime if a law-abiding firearm owner does not unload a firearm and secure it with a locking device in the person’s home, the DFL also introduced a bill (HF4277) that repeals mandatory minimum sentences for violent crimes involving the possession or use of a firearm.

The increased penalties come at a time when the actual perpetrators of such crimes are increasingly released back out onto the street under laws passed in 2023. It is misguided to crack down on gun owners who honor our laws and act in good faith instead of going after the real criminals.

I do not support that approach and will continue opposing these anti-Second Amendment bills. Instead, our focus should be to enforce existing laws with prosecutors levying stiff sentences and our courts upholding them. We also could do better by increasing penalties for so-called “straw purchases” where someone who is eligible to purchase a firearm purchases one for someone who is prohibited from doing so. This is the type of illegal arrangement appears to have played a role in the recent killings of two police officers and a firefighter medic in Burnsville; God rest the souls of these three heroes.

Local athletes


Good luck to local athletes during state tournament season for winter sports. Congratulations to the Watertown-Mayer wrestling team for advancing to this week’s state tournament.

Have a good weekend … hope you are able to get out and enjoy the unseasonably warm weather we have on tap. Can we hit 70 degrees Sunday?



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