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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Chris Swedzinski (R)

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Legislative update

Thursday, March 28, 2024

Dear Neighbor,

Here’s wishing you a blessed Easter holiday. Let this holiday be a joyous one as we celebrate Jesus’ sacrifice and offer thanks for our bountiful gifts.

Here is more from the House this week:

Local visitors


It was my pleasure to welcome more groups to the Capitol this week, including this Farm Credit representatives (above).

Religious freedom

Republicans in the Minnesota Legislature on Monday intensified their efforts to address an issue related to religious freedom. Democrats then put that project on indefinite hold.

The afternoon started with a 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.

We gave House Democrats a lifeline, a chance to take a step back and show Minnesotans they agree with the rest of us who support religious freedom in Minnesota. Instead, Democrats simply dug in even harder on their radical position that our state’s views to trump your religious beliefs. The fact they did this during Holy Week, of all times, only makes it more insulting to Minnesotans.

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. 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.

Until next time, I hope you enjoy Easter and please stay in touch.