I encourage folks to attend Oak Grove's town hall meeting next week. I will join State Senator Eric Lucero, State Senator Cal Bahr, and State Representative Peggy Scott at the event. The meeting is at 10:00 AM on Saturday, February 18th, at Bridge Street Coffee Box in Oak Grove. Please stop by to discuss what's happening in St. Paul.
Gun Bills Moving Through Committee
Last week, the House Public Safety Committee held a Friday hearing where four gun control bills were discussed and debated. The bills will do little to address the root issues of gun violence in our communities. Instead, they will place undue and additional burdens on law-abiding gun owners in Minnesota or those seeking to exercise their 2nd Amendment rights.
House File 14 would impose additional hurdles for law-abiding citizens who wish to exercise their Second Amendment right to purchase and possess firearms for self-defense. Further, it would create a de facto gun registry in Minnesota while not doing anything to stop the flow of firearms in the criminal, illicit gun market that operates in Minnesota.
House File 15 would create a "red-flag" law in Minnesota, where the government could unconstitutionally seize individuals' firearms without allowing the subject to represent themselves in court. Minnesota currently has a process where the courts can remove firearms from someone deemed a danger; however, they are allowed to have representation. This bill violates due process rights and does nothing to address the issue—the person in crisis, not firearms.
House File 396 would require firearms in the home to be unloaded, locked, and stored separately from ammunition, negatively impacting the Second Amendment right to possess firearms in one's home for self-defense. During the hearing, the bill author could not give details on how far ammunition had to be stored from the firearm or any other logistical issues with the bill. It is clear that this bill was not well thought out or researched. There are already laws on the books to prevent firearms from being accessed by unauthorized people.
House File 601 would require Minnesotans to promptly report to law enforcement when a firearm has been stolen. Any responsible gun owner would report a stolen or lost firearm. Essentially, the bill will criminalize the victim of a crime for failing to report that crime – something we do not do with any other victim of any other crime.
As the Republican-lead on this committee, I will continue working hard to protect your 2nd Amendment rights. Please reach out to my colleagues in the House and Senate on the DFL side of the aisle to respectfully voice your concerns with these bills.
Drivers Licenses for Undocumented Immigrants
Last week, the House approved legislation allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain a Class D driver's license in Minnesota. There are many concerns with this bill, but the issues it creates with election integrity are at the top of the list.
According to estimates, nearly 81,000 individuals in Minnesota would be able to apply for a license.
This legislation provides no safeguards to prevent the fraudulent use of a license. It threatens the election process by not including a disclaimer on the license that says, "Not for Voting Purposes." Failing to add this disclaimer to the license could create tens of thousands of potential new and illegal voters.
During debate on the bill, Republicans tried to offer amendments that would provide commonsense protections like requiring the licenses to be vertically oriented instead of horizontal, a different color than regular Minnesota licenses, and adding the voting disclaimer as discussed above. All of these amendments were rejected by the DFL.
Blackout Bill Signed by Governor Walz
Last week, Governor Walz signed a bill requiring all utility production in Minnesota to be carbon-neutral by 2040.
Studies show that this could cost the average Minnesota family an additional $4,000 yearly on energy or $333 extra a month. In addition to the costs, these mandates will impact the reliability of our energy grid.
Now that the bill is officially law, the Governor of North Dakota has pledged to sue Minnesota because the legislation would illegally regulate commerce in North Dakota.
The legislation will punish Minnesota rate-payers while doing nothing to prevent massive pollution from nations like China, India, and others. It's the latest example of House Democrats passing legislation that may make them feel "good" but will actually have severe and negative impacts on Minnesotans and our future.
We are now more than a month into the 2023 legislative session, and there have been zero votes on any bills that would return the state's $17.6 billion budget surplus to you, the taxpayer. Instead, the Democrat majority in the House has been pushing full steam ahead on their spending priorities.
I am concerned that Governor Walz and the Democrats have already gone back on their promise to eliminate state taxes on social security benefits. Walz's budget proposal calls for an exemption that would impact only 43% of social security recipients. This is yet another example of a broken promise and misplaced priorities by Democrats.
I fear that the Social Security income tax elimination will not be a stand-alone, bipartisan bill that could be passed and made effective immediately. Instead, it will be used as a bargaining chip at the end of the session. Minnesotans deserve better.
Staying in Touch
Don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions, concerns, or ideas on ways to improve state government. I can be reached by phone at 651-296-4237 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.