Lobbying Reform to Drain the Swamp
Yesterday, the Minnesota House of Representatives passed HF 12, the tax omnibus bill. This legislation contained a key provision brought forward by fellow members of the New House Republican Caucus and me, which will curb lobbyists’ influence in St. Paul. For decades Minnesota has had some of the strictest laws in the nation regarding lobbying, financial contributions, and campaigning while collecting a paycheck from the taxpayers. Why? Because the people of Minnesota realized they wanted legislators that work for them, not toward re-election or higher office. Right now, if a lobbyist tried to buy me dinner or even give me $5, I would be violating the law, but the current loophole does not prevent a lobbying firm from giving a legislator an annual $100,000 salary. That is the current reality we live in; legislators have received a taste of the wealth they can earn by selling their constituents out. This bill passed by the senate at 3 AM Thursday will take effect at the end of their current term and place many legislators in a challenging position; Do they quit their six-figure lobbying jobs, or do they work for the people at the wage we choose? That is the question on everyone’s mind today.
Late Tuesday night, the Minnesota House successfully voted to end the Governor's peacetime emergency declaration. The House did NOT vote on any Chapter 12 reform, meaning the Governor still can declare another peacetime emergency should he choose to.
We have already seen local governments in California reinstating mask mandates amid COVID-19 variants. Without changing Chapter 12, nothing stops Governor Walz from following states like California and reinstating his emergency powers.
We need substantial reform to our chapter 12 laws, which grant the Governor his authority to give himself emergency powers. I am an author of HF 28, the Never Again Bill to do just that. This bill changes every aspect of emergency declarations and gets rid of the ability for current and future governors to rule unilaterally through peacetime emergency powers. Minnesotans have suffered through almost 500 days of emergency powers, and we need to ensure that this can never happen again.
- HF 28 protects citizens’ rights, even in an emergency.
- HF 28 guarantees that the Governor’s executive orders do NOT have the force and effect of law, and he will no longer have the ability to fine or jail anyone.
- HF 28 only allows the Governor to declare an emergency for five days. This allows for the Governor to call out the National Guard for things like rioting or tornadoes. It then requires both bodies of the legislature to approve any extension over that.
- HF 28 allows the legislature to set the time frame of an emergency, with the ability to terminate it at any time. The governor no longer has the power to initiate extensions.
- Chapter 144 will govern future public health emergencies, including checks and balances from all three branches of government, preventing one branch from abusing its authority.
We must pass HF 28, the Never Again Bill, to ensure that the Governor is NEVER able to have unchecked, absolute power over our state again.
More information on HF 28 HERE.
A video comparison of “Never Again” style bills reforming Chapter 12 can be seen HERE.
Although we are out of session, the redistricting committee is finally scheduling meetings this month. Our focus will be to agree on a set of principles for redistricting, which the courts have historically considered if they are the final deciders on legislative district maps. If you have suggestions on how to improve our redistricting process, please reach out to my office.