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Legislative News and Views - Rep. John Burkel (R)

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Legislative Update from Rep. John Burkel

Friday, May 3, 2024

Hello from St. Paul,


This week, much time was spent by the Minnesota House majority approving its omnibus spending bills and chipping away at the rights and freedoms that are Constitutionally guaranteed by the 2nd Amendment.



Once again, the majority is passing gun legislation that will do nothing to stop violent criminals but will cause headaches for law abiding gun owners.


Last year, the legislative majority and Governor Walz enacted “universal” background checks and red flag confiscation orders. Now, they have approved legislation that establishes an arbitrary deadline for reporting lost and stolen firearms, meaning a person could be charged – even though they are a crime victim – if they fail to report a stolen gun within 48 hours.


There’s also a bill that creates an expanded definition of trigger activators, which creates a grey area as to whether some firearms – such as Glocks – would become illegal.


Finally, there is the proposal that would place additional burdens on law-abiding firearm owners, forcing them to store a gun unloaded and equipped with a locking device or loaded in a locked firearm storage unit.


So picture a single, elderly man who lives in a remote area and keeps a firearm on his porch in case it’s needed for predators that may attack his livestock. He may not even know this law exists and could be charged. Worse yet, the bill does not include an exception for off-duty peace officers, which is problematic, because peace officers are never off duty.


All three of the majority party’s anti-2nd Amendment bills now head to the Minnesota Senate. There, it holds a one-seat majority, which means the deciding vote on whether these proposals are sent to the governor rests with the senator who was recently charged with burglarizing her stepmother’s home in the middle of the night.



Instead of working with farmers, businesses, and Republicans, the House majority is once again pushing its metro-centric agenda of mandates and regulations that will drive up the costs of living in the state and doing business here.


The bill grants new and enhanced enforcement authority at the MPCA giving even more power to bureaucrats in St. Paul to restrict business’ ability to operate.


Remember the $4 million set aside last year so taxpayers could provide rebates for those who want to buy electric bicycles?  Well, this year you get to spend an additional $1 million to give rebates to people who want to buy electric lawn mowers and snowblowers – but only for those who live in the 7-county metro area.


Finally there is an egregious $400,000 expense – taken from the Natural Resources fund – in order to build a swimming pool in the Democrat committee chairman’s home district.


I do have some good news to report from the legislation. You’ll recall discussion of severely restricting the siting of ATV trails throughout the state. We were able to remove that provision from the House bill during the floor debate, and it is not in the Senate bill. The proposal also includes trail money that we hoped would be included.