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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Ben Bakeberg (R)

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Legislative Update 4.6.24

Saturday, April 6, 2024

Friends and Neighbors,


I hope you had a happy Easter and took the opportunity to celebrate with your loved ones! I wanted to update you on several important issues moving through the Legislature this week. Even though it was still technically a “short” week, it’s been very busy! Now that our “spring break” is over, we’ll be seeing more omnibus spending and policy bills making their way out of committees and onto the Floor. This week we heard several education and transportation bills on the Floor and we don’t anticipate the action to slow down any time soon!

The most pressing issue that I want to bring to your attention this week is the ongoing Uber/Lyft crisis. Please take a few moments to watch this overview video.

In response to the Minneapolis City Council passing a fully unworkable and burdensome ordinance, Uber and Lyft have said that they will leave the entire metro area and Minneapolis respectively. This is a crisis for those in our community who rely on these ridesharing apps not only to get home when they’re too impaired to drive, but to access essential services like picking up a prescription or going to the grocery store. It’s clear that something must be done and I’m happy to report that House Republicans have a solution. We presented our bill at a press conference Thursday which can be watched in its entirety here.

But a press conference isn’t all we did – we actually gave the DFL a chance to immediately take our bill up for consideration on the House Floor by declaring an urgency Friday. Unfortunately, our motion failed on a party-line vote. I’m not sure what the DFL’s plan is to keep Uber and Lyft in Minnesota, but with a looming May 1 deadline, I hope we’re able to work together to find a solution fast.

Another proposal I wanted to update you on is the proposal to turn Minnesota into a sanctuary state for illegal immigration. I’ve gotten a ton of emails on this subject recently from concerned residents and I’m happy to report that I don’t see this bill being passed this year. However, it is important to note that this is something that the DFL majority fully intends to pass if they are in the majority again next year. There are even three DFL House members in our surrounding area who are cosponsors of this bill! This issue isn’t going away, but thankfully I don’t see it becoming law this year.

One last thing that I wanted to bring to your attention is our state’s fiscal situation. The Governor released his recommended budget a couple of weeks ago, and honestly, it was surprisingly frugal – a sign that he knows that they overspent last session. It isn’t all good news, though, because DFL leadership in the House and Senate almost immediately afterward released a budget that spends twice as much! They even told us to expect even more spending by the end of the year. Let me be clear – when we go from a record-breaking surplus to a looming deficit, it’s time to reign in the spending, to put it lightly. We can’t compromise our state’s fiscal future for certain members’ pet projects now, especially after increasing the size of the state government by 40% last session.

Spending recklessly in our current situation isn’t compassionate, it’s reckless. We should be working together on correcting issues from last session instead of blindly trying to spend our way out of our problems.