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

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Legislative update

Thursday, March 28, 2024


The McDonald family sends you and yours best wishes as we celebrate the Easter/Passover holiday season.  

This week’s biggest topic of discussion in St. Paul centered on Republicans intensifying efforts to address an issue related to religious freedom. Democrats then put that issue on indefinite hold.

It started with a Monday press conference where dozens of religious leaders from around the state joined Republicans in calling for religious freedom to be restored in the Minnesota Human Rights Act, protecting religious organizations and faith-based schools against claims of gender identity discrimination.

Shortly thereafter, Democrats in the majority tabled a House Republican motion to bring forward legislation to make that happen. It was the third time this session Democrats had at least temporarily blocked a Republican attempt at restoring religious freedom language to the HRA, following committee votes in both the House and the Senate.

As I said in my last email update, the blatant attack on religious freedom we are seeing in the Legislature this session is an insult to organizations that have done so much great work in our state and nation. It’s also a blow to Minnesotans who cherish religious liberties.

Before last year, when gender identity was included (or subsumed) within the MHRA definition of sexual orientation, the still-existing 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. This issue caused alarm among Minnesota’s faith community and House Republicans worked with religious leaders to craft H.F. 3926, which ensures religious organizations and faith-based schools can, among other things, hire teachers and ministers consistent with their mission and values.

It remains unclear when – or if – the Democrat-controlled House will revisit that bill. In the meantime, at least one faith-based school already is facing an employment complaint at the department of human rights because of the removal of the exemption.


Granddaughter Ruby

Look for more news from the Capitol as we get back to business after the holiday, heading into the home stretch toward our scheduled May 20 date for adjournment. Until next time, may you and your family enjoy the company of one another as we share His glory.

God bless, 


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