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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Jon Koznick (R)

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Koznick Connection: Legislative Update (March 26, 2024)

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

We are entering the committee deadline part of session where most policy and spending bills generally need to have been presented.

While there are many concerning proposals, I am as committed as ever to standing strong for limited government, personal responsibility, and liberty.


Religious Freedom Under Assault

Last week, I mentioned the ongoing attacks by House Democrats to roll back religious freedom in Minnesota. Unfortunately, the Senate majority has made it clear that they agree with House Democrats and Gov. Tim Walz in their belief that the state’s views on gender identity trump the beliefs of your church and religious convictions.


Deeply held religious beliefs and religious liberties are protected by the First Amendment and that's why I am a co-author of House File 3926, to uphold these cherished freedoms which the United States was founded on and is rooted in.

There are some things you should never mess with, and religious freedom is at the very top of the list. This move by House and Senate Democrats could very well be the biggest constitutional violation they have committed against Minnesotans in recent memory – and that’s saying a lot considering the activist-driven agenda they have imposed on our state.

In late February, Democrats voted down an amendment to restore a religious freedom provision that was omitted from state law last year. The proposal would ensure that religious organizations and faith-based schools can, among other things, hire teachers and ministers consistent with their mission and values. At least one faith-based school is already facing an employment complaint with the Department of Human Rights because of the removal of the exemption, and we expect more religious organizations to be open to similar lawsuits.

We have given the Democrats several chances to right this wrong, including Monday on the House floor. Instead, they have only further entrenched themselves in their radical position that your religious freedoms take a back seat to the state’s rule, and the separation of church and state no longer exists in Minnesota.


Supporting State Troopers

I am proud to support legislation that enables state law enforcement officers to continue their service without facing financial penalties when they reach retirement age.

There is a shortage of law enforcement officers in Minnesota, and this bill will help keep more State Troopers employed if they choose.

KSTP did a story on this bill and included comments I made in committee in support of the bill. Click here or the photo below to watch this short story.


Currently, we have a significant number of active troopers who are approaching retirement. Over the next five years, approximately 205 members within the State Patrol Retirement Plan and an additional 2,264 members in the PERA Police and Fire Fund will reach full retirement age, totaling 2,469 individuals.

Given the mandatory retirement age of 60 for state law enforcement officers, establishing a well-structured reemployment program is critical for the state and a commonsense approach that addresses part of the workforce issue for State Troopers.


Logrolling, Omnibus Bills, and the Single Subject Clause

As lawmakers, part of our jobs includes pulling back the curtain on what’s happening in St. Paul and sharing with you work that is happening here at the legislature. I often hear from folks about omnibus bills and how the Minnesota Constitution’s Single Subject Clause plays a role in the legislative process. Nearly all bills included in omnibus bills are heard in respective committees, but not always.

According to nonpartisan, Minnesota House Research, Logrolling is the practice of adding a provision that might not pass on its own to a popular bill on an UNRELATED subject.

In response to this, the drafters of the Single Subject and Title Clause thought that such a rule would promote transparency, prevent fraud, and logrolling by limiting how the legislature can structure bills. They believed the Single Subject Clause and proper bill title requirements would ensure that legislators and the public knew what provisions were in a bill and prevent the enactment of policies that did not have true majority support.

Courts have given the clause a forgiving interpretation, meaning that they often defer to the legislature to avoid hampering legislative action. Titles should give legislators and the public notice of a bill’s provisions and provide a real opportunity for debate.

We have seen some successful legal challenges citing this clause. In the 1890s, the Supreme Court considered 44 challenges that cited the Single Subject and Title Clause and found ten acts unconstitutional. In the 1980s, court opinions criticized the legislature’s use of omnibus bills that addressed several topics. In 2000, the Supreme Court found part of an act unconstitutional in Associated Builders and Contractors v. Ventura. The Court of Appeals struck down another law in 2005 and, while it upheld the law, the Supreme Court performed a detailed analysis of the question in a 2018 decision.

We should focus efforts on shifting away from omnibus bills and instead pass legislation more often as standalone bills. This will make it easier for the public to track bills and not blur the lines on the question of the Single Subject Clause.

Click here for more details from the 2020 House Research summary on this topic. 


Wishing you a blessed Easter and Passover and a safe spring break,

Jon Koznick
State Representative