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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Peggy Bennett (R)

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Legislative News from Rep. Peggy Bennett

Friday, March 24, 2023

Dear Friends,


After an incredibly long floor debate that ended around 5:00 this morning, the House Democrat majority passed HF 146 which will make Minnesota a “sanctuary state” for gender transitions for minors.  The “gender affirming care” referred to in this bill includes puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and genital and breast removal.  The bill also allows for children from other states to travel to Minnesota to receive these treatments, with or without parental consent.



The brain is an incredibly complex organ and is not fully developed until approximately age twenty-five. Children, teens, and young adults in this age group do not have a fully developed prefrontal cortex. That’s a scientific fact. This is the area of the brain that performs reasoning, planning, judgement, and impulse control. This developmentally immature brain greatly impacts young people’s decision-making processes, along with their perceptions of themselves and the world.


We must protect children and the sanctity of childhood.


Minnesota has long recognized the sanctity of childhood by acknowledging that minors do not have fully developed brains – they do not have the capability for making adult level decisions, especially those that will have long-term impact on their lives. That’s why we have laws in our state to protect children by not allowing minors to do certain things like get married, own a gun, drink alcohol, or smoke tobacco products. Even the marijuana bill that’s making its way through the House acknowledges the permanent damages that marijuana can have on the young developing brain and makes its use illegal for those under the age of twenty-one.


Minnesota has laws that restrict minors from getting permanent body art like tattoos or body piercings. Certain types of body art cannot be obtained by a minor even WITH parental permission, such as nipple or genital piercings or splitting the tongue. 


So, while it’s against the law in Minnesota for minors to have nipple or genital piercings, those same minors will be able to make the decision to mutilate their genitals or breasts by having them cut off. Does that even make sense? Sadly, this decision will be based upon the perceptions of an underdeveloped juvenile brain, and in the midst of the well-known fact that 80 to 90 percent of children with gender dysphoria return to identifying with their biological sex by the age of eighteen. To top it all off, Democrats want to make Minnesota a “sanctuary state” so children from other states can come here to have their breasts and genitals cut off too. 


There have been a number of prominent stories in the news recently where de-transitioning young adults in their mid to upper 20’s are now suing doctors and hospitals for encouraging medical sex change mutilation when they were young teenagers instead of properly treating their mental health issues. Lawsuits like these have already been occurring in Europe for quite some time.


Will Minnesota be setting itself up for future lawsuits by creating this sanctuary state status where children from other states, with or without parental permission, can come here to be medically transitioned? It is highly likely that this will happen if this bill is signed into law.


So, what is the answer? It certainly is not to sexually mutilate minors or create a sanctuary state to do so. We should have extreme empathy for young people who are experiencing gender dysphoria. We should pass legislation funding emergency mental health therapy to support Minnesota children who are experiencing gender dysphoria and struggling with issues like severe anxiety, depression, eating disorders, or suicidal thoughts. Then, once the child reaches adulthood, he or she can determine if the struggle with gender dysphoria continues and make that very ADULT decision on whether to seek serious and permanent sex change transition treatments.


If an eleven-year-old says he’s mature enough to buy a gun, should we let him? Of course not. That child has a juvenile, immature brain – just like those children experiencing gender dysphoria.  We must protect children and the sanctity of childhood.



I recently contacted the department head of trails for the Minnesota DNR to get an update on the Blazing Star Trail completion from Albert Lea to Hayward. This expansion includes a small bridge over Albert Lea Lake to connect Myre-Big Island State Park to the existing trail from Hayward. 


If you recall, funding for this project was secured through both the 2020 bonding bill as well as a federal grant. The federal funding did not become available until 2022. 


According to the DNR, they have been working through the long permitting process and that process was just completed about a week ago. This is a major hurdle. Now those plans will be submitted to MNDOT for approval. 


I was also informed that 2 - 3 major power poles will have to be removed and relocated in order to complete this project. The good news is, the negotiations with the power company involved have been going well and should be finalized soon. The bad news is that the materials needed to relocate those power poles can take anywhere from six months to a year to get because of supply chain issues. Let’s hope for the shorter timeframe!


The DNR has told me that their goal is to start actual construction yet this fall. The remainder of construction would be completed in the spring of 2024, including follow-up rehab to existing trail in the park.



It was great to see local folks from the South Central Minnesota Farm Bureau at the Capitol.

Rep. Mueller and I met with them on Wednesday. I love hearing from our farmers and I love local input. Thanks for taking the time to visit!


Have a good weekend,