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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Paul Novotny (R)

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Capitol Newsletter from Rep. Paul Novotny

Friday, May 10, 2024

Dear Neighbors,

The pace in St. Paul has slowed considerably with many of the large omnibus supplemental budget bills having now received initial approval from the Minnesota House. The last two weeks have been very busy with many long days, late nights, and hours spent on the House Floor debating and voting on these bills.

Thank you for your ongoing support and for the responsibility you have placed in me to represent you, your family, and our communities in St. Paul.

Standing Strong for Life

On Thursday, I offered an amendment to the health supplemental budget bill that would have made an important change in the Minnesota “Give Life a Chance” Act. This law has been on the books in Minnesota for years and provides safe and anonymous alternative places for mothers (or a person acting with her permission) in Minnesota to leave their newborn child without questions if they are unable to care for them.

These situations happen more often than people think and making sure there are options available is critical in helping newborns find a safe and loving shelter.

This amendment was brought to my attention by members of the Firefighters Auxiliary and would allow for fire departments that are normally staffed to install “baby boxes” where mothers or family members can safely leave a newborn at their local fire department. You can read more about these boxes here:

To date, there have been 44 surrenders in the 16 states where these safe haven baby boxes are allowed and 150 face-to-face surrenders as a result of calls to the safe haven hotline.

Unfortunately, the DFL voted down my amendment.

This is a great idea and a way we can help save newborns’ lives. I plan on introducing a bill next year to continue the push for this. 

Public Safety Bill 

On Tuesday, the public safety supplemental budget bill was approved. Fortunately, this year’s bill was much less controversial than what was approved in 2023. Nevertheless, there were still a handful of provisions that would make it more difficult for law enforcement to do their jobs protecting our communities. 

For example, a troubling provision in the bill would greatly restrict what law enforcement officers may do or ask during a routine traffic stop. This removes another important tool out of law enforcement’s toolbox and makes their jobs even more difficult.

Ultimately, the bill is a missed opportunity to support law enforcement at a time when the profession is facing significant challenges with recruitment, retention, and morale due to recent events and tragedies. 

The bill now heads to conference committee with the Senate where additional changes will likely be made before returning to the House for final approval.

Religious Liberty Update

This week, after months of pressure from Republicans, the faith community, and Minnesotans, we were able to finally pass legislation that restores a religious exemption to portions of the Minnesota Human Rights Act (MHRA). 

This had been an ongoing issue due to changes made in state law related to gender identity by Democrats last year. Up until recently, the MHRA included an exemption for religious organizations including churches, synagogues, and faith-based schools to, among other things, hire teachers and ministers consistent with their mission and values.

Our vote this week restores these protections that have always existed and are consistent with the constitutional rights enjoyed by all Americans to practice their religion without coercion from the government.

Senator Mitchell Update

On Tuesday, the Senate Subcommittee on Ethical Conduct held a hearing regarding Senator Nicole Mitchell’s arrest and the 1st-degree burglary charges she is facing in Becker County.

You can read the formal ethics complaint filed by her Senate colleagues here.

The subcommittee consists of two Democrat senators and two Republicans, and they are tasked with gathering testimony from the involved parties, allowing time for questioning, and determining whether to proceed with an investigation to determine if Sen. Mitchell violated Senate Rules related to ethical standards. To be clear, Tuesday’s hearing was not a criminal proceeding—even though Sen. Mitchell’s attorney and Committee Chair Sen. Bobby Joe Champion conducted it as such at times.

I encourage you to watch the hearing by clicking here.

Sen. Mitchell pleaded the fifth and refused to answer any questions and let her attorney serve as her spokesperson throughout the hearing.

Ultimately, the committee decided to hold off on making any formal recommendations and will reconvene on June 12th, a few days after Sen. Mitchell’s next court appearance, to discuss the next steps. 

Staying in Touch

Make sure to reach out to my office if you have any questions or concerns. It would be great to chat with you. I can be reached by phone at 651-296-4237 or via email at

Have a good day,