Friday, July 22nd, 2022
This is my last term as your State Representative and today is the last day our legislative rules allow for emailing legislative updates before the November 8th election. It has truly been an honor and a privilege to serve you in St. Paul! I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for being engaged in public policy and to offer a summary of my thoughts on the legislature. I hope you will continue to keep the pressure on future legislatures.
When I was first elected back in 2018, I could never have imagined what this journey would have in store for our State. From COVID-19 lockdowns to the lawlessness in the twin cities, we fought what seemed like a deluge. The past few years have been nothing short of Orwellian.
My experience in St Paul reaffirmed my belief that Government frequently causes more problems than it attempts to solve. More government is rarely the solution. That is why I offered numerous pieces of legislation to reduce the size and scope of the government. While serving four years in the minority, I never wavered in my pursuit of limited government.
Green Energy Science Deniers When working in the minority, exposing and stopping bad legislation is an essential part of the job. While serving on the Minnesota House Energy Committee, I boldly pushed back on unrealistic, costly energy policies that promote slavery and pollution overseas while also making us dependent on other countries for energy.
When the DFL and Governor Walz tried to implement California-style electric car mandates, I fought against the legislation in committee, on community discussion panels, and in the press. Taxpayers should not be funding slavery! Yet, undeniably, the materials used to make solar panels and electric car batteries are sourced from slavery. Yet the DFL ignores this inconvenient truth.
The DFL also claims nickel mining is too toxic and unsafe to mine in Minnesota, where our pollution standards are some of the highest in the world. Instead, they want taxpayers to pay for electric cars and buses with batteries made of nickel mined in third-world countries where there are no environmental standards. We see these hypocrisies time and time again.
Give it Back The state overtaxed you and has a ten billion dollar surplus. You deserve a rainy day fund - not the Government. So long as the government has a rainy day fund, it will never be forced to audit programs to make them more effective and efficient. The entire surplus should be returned to the taxpayers, not to lobbyists and special interests. It also should not be used to buy votes or redistribute wealth.
I introduced a bill called the “Give it Back Act” (HF 1922) which returns all of the state's surplus to taxpayers. If we used the entire surplus, we could return nearly FOUR THOUSAND DOLLARS to every taxpayer and nearly 8,000 per couple, filing jointly. The next legislature will be tasked with returning your money or continuing to grow the government.
Election Integrity People’s faith in our elections has eroded, which is why I have been fighting for election integrity. The state legislature is the only entity authorized to change election laws - not the Governor, Congress, the Secretary of State, or the courts. This is why I sued the Minnesota Secretary of State for illegally using the courts to change our election laws. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals found Sec. of State Steve Simon’s actions unconstitutional. Along with three other legislators, I also requested data from the counties on the money Mark Zuckerberg gave to influence Minnesota elections. We then passed this information on to a constitutional attorney.
I also authored a bill requiring voter ID, providing IDs for anyone who cannot afford one, and allowing provisional ballots for those who need further verification. Without provisional ballots, we have no way of removing a vote if it is found to be illegally cast.
Lowering Healthcare Costs In my first year, I successfully fought the corporate lobby to sign my medical price transparency legislation into law. In my second year, I was selected as the only Republican House member to serve on a joint House and Senate Conference Committee for the pharmaceutical benefits manager bill. During negotiations, the House and Senate agreed to include the language from my bill, increasing pharmaceutical price transparency and exposing kickbacks to Big Pharma. My language also allowed pharmacies to charge lower cash prices for drugs if the insurance rate was higher. This bill was also signed into law. These bipartisan reforms improved access and cut costs, but much more can be done on both the state and federal levels.
I chief authored the “Patient Right to Shop Act,” which received a hearing in the Senate but is blocked by lobbyists from passing the House or Senate. Similar legislation has worked in other states to reduce healthcare costs. This legislation allows patients to shop for care based on quality and price outside their insurance networks. Half of any savings is used to pay the patient’s premiums and out-of-pocket costs; the other half of the savings is used to buy down costs for all patients.
Transparency in Government We need more transparency in our government. I was the first legislator to live-stream floor sessions while explaining procedural votes. I did this to help engage and empower more people like you. I believe all votes should be publicly recorded because I want voters to be able to hold legislators accountable. This is also why I created videos and podcasts explaining legislation.
Multi-subject Omnibus Bills Our state Constitution requires single-subject bills. Large thousand-page multi-subject omnibus bills allow bad legislation to pass and encourage the influence of money and lobbyists. Omnibus bills are formed on the final days of the session behind closed doors by lobbyists and leadership, then sent to the floor for a single vote without time to read. They allow legislators to avoid accountability because there is always something good and a whole lot that is bad in each bill. Whether I was serving in the majority or minority, I fought for single-subject bills and worked to inform and engage voters to pressure other legislators to do the same.
Ethics and Public Officials Political leaders should be held to a higher standard. I wrote a number of bills this term to help clean up our political system. For starters, political candidates should be able to verify their residence, and if they lie about their address, they should face a criminal penalty. Second, we need to close the loophole in our laws that some legislators use to guarantee their chosen successor is elected. Currently, incumbents can use the filing and withdrawal period to block all but their chosen successors from running for office. Third, sitting legislators should not be allowed to draw a salary from lobbying firms. This creates a clear and dangerous conflict of interest. I chief authored bills to address all of these problems. I also co-authored a bill on term limits.
After fighting for lobbying reform for the past three years, I am excited to say my legislation prohibiting sitting legislators from working for lobbying organizations passed and was signed into law! This lobbying reform is a start, but there is more work to be done to clean up our political system.
Second Amendment The past four years, I authored several bills to address gun rights. For example, I wrote HF0437 to address gun-free zones by requiring people who create gun-free zones to take responsibility for requiring their patrons to disarm. This bill was recognized by Law Enforcement Today for respecting private property rights while also supporting gun rights.
I also authored a bill BANNING “Red Flag Laws.” “Red Flag Laws” allow the government to enter a home and take guns by force, based on one person’s word and a judge. These laws ignore due process 2nd amendment rights and create unnecessary dangers for home occupants and police.
While serving in the minority, when House Republicans could not get a hearing on pro-gun legislation and Democrats were pushing forward Red Flag Laws, I found alternative ways of protecting our second amendment rights. I created the first draft resolution that sparked the Second Amendment Sanctuary County movement in Minnesota. Twelve counties immediately passed these resolutions, sending a loud message to Governor Walz and Democrat legislators.
Additionally, I wrote a bill allowing eligible 18-year-olds to apply for a permit to carry a gun and another bill to effectively remove the State Fair gun ban. We all know gun bans only disarm law-abiding gun owners, not criminals. It is not right that a person should be unable to protect themselves as they sleep in their camper at the fair or walk in the dark to their car. Nor should Minnesotans who lawfully use medical cannabis automatically forfeit their 2nd amendment rights. This is why I authored legislation to protect the gun rights of patients. This legislation passed the House as an amendment but unfortunately failed in the Senate.
Never Again Will We Allow Tyrannical Rule The Governor abused his constitutional authority when he bypassed the legislature to write laws unilaterally and to fine and jail dissidents. I fought his mandates by authoring the first resolution to end the emergency, speaking at protests against the lockdowns, and even filing a lawsuit challenging the Governor’s abuse of power and ability to write laws unilaterally. The Governor ended his orders only days before our case was finally set to be heard by the Supreme Court, causing the Court to dismiss our case.
The Constitution’s separation of powers clause prohibits one branch from executing the duties of another branch. I am an author of the Never Again Bill (HF 4189), which will restrain the Governor from making a mockery of the constitution. The peacetime emergency laws need to be addressed. The current laws are poorly written, as they do not require legislative approval to continue an emergency but require a legislative veto to end it. Legislative vetoes have been found unconstitutional. When these laws are addressed, the time, manner, and use of a peacetime emergency must be limited, or as Walz demonstrated, these laws are open for abuse of power.
Mental Health/Criminal Justice Reform I wrote “Cassy’s Law” to reform our justice system so we stop criminalizing mental illness. After gathering bipartisan support from over twenty House members and five Senators and presenting this legislation in four committee hearings, Cassy’s Law passed the House last year with bipartisan support, but it did not pass the Senate. Much work remains to be done in public safety and mental health.
Data Privacy and Protection Against Government Abuse of Private Data I authored bills prohibiting the government from sending unsolicited mass texts targeting minors and forbidding government use of Snapchat and other communication apps that erase records that would otherwise be subject to review under Minnesota’s data request laws.
Fighting Vaccine Mandates Even before COVID, I fought for health freedom. Vaccination should be a personal choice. We should be able to hold pharmaceutical companies liable. It concerns me that when the government changed the definition of a vaccine, the liability protections for pharmaceutical companies grew. I authored legislation allowing liability for vaccine manufacturers and also employers who required vaccines as a condition of employment if an adverse reaction can be proven. I also wrote a bill requiring a parent to be present to authorize their child’s vaccination.
Public Works Projects I authored multiple bills to help repair aging infrastructure in our district, including a new water treatment plant for the city of Elysian and funding for a new water drainage runoff project in Waseca County. I also authored legislation to fund wastewater and drinking water projects in Vernon Center, South Bend township, Madison Lake, and Waterville. Obtaining funding for these projects is a lengthy process, but I was able to secure hearings on several of these projects, and many were successfully funded in our community.
The Great Divide - Rural vs. Metro and Minnesota vs. the Neighboring States I drafted a bill to draw attention to the disparities in taxes, regulations, liberties, and freedoms in Minnesota compared to our neighboring states. This bill clarified the process for counties to choose to join other neighboring states. It allowed people to stay in their communities and continue owning their businesses and farms while choosing better governance. This bill successfully placed pressure on the Governor and legislature by causing statewide and national discussions in the media about why retirees and businesses were moving their permanent residency and drawing attention to Governor Walz’s lockdowns and hypocritical business closures in contrast to policies in border states.
I also authored another bill to divide our Presidential electoral votes by congressional district (like Maine and Nebraska) rather than assigning them as “winner take all.” If enacted, this bill would make Minnesota matter in presidential elections and give a voice to outstate Minnesota.
Thank you for entrusting me with the opportunity to serve. While I leave the House with much good to look back on, we still have a long road ahead. Our freedom and liberty are under attack. Now is not the time to put our heads down and wait out the storm. I ask you to remain engaged and continue to pressure the legislature for transparency and accountability.
Thank you for being engaged in your government and for the honor of serving our great State,
State Representative, 23B
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact my office or me. We are still attempting to provide regular contact remotely, so if you have other needs, please email my Legislative Assistant, Grayson, at Grayson.email@example.com.
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