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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Jeff Dotseth (R)

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Legislative update

Friday, March 10, 2023

Dear Neighbor,

Greetings from the Capitol, where we are still waiting for serious action on a couple of key issues that had bipartisan support last summer and fall but have been left on the sidelines the first half of this session.

For example, public safety was a major focal point of discussions with the rate of violent crime remaining abnormally high in Minnesota. It is concerning to see nothing of substance has advanced to support law and order so far this session. In fact, it seems the focus among many has been more geared toward reducing punishment for criminals instead of cracking down on violent crime.

The good news is House Republicans have been working on a Safe and Sound Minnesota plan that focuses on confronting crime, supporting law enforcement, and increasing transparency in our court system to help stop the revolving door for repeat offenders. I’ll take a closer look at this subject in an upcoming newsletter.

Also, the full elimination of our state tax on Social Security received bipartisan support several months ago but also has not received the prompt attention it warrants this session.

It is important for Social Security relief to be a stand-alone bill so members can vote “yes” or “no” on its merits alone. Concern is growing over partisan gamesmanship that could be played, with the majorities potentially placing a Social Security exemption in an omnibus bill that actually raises taxes overall. So, by voting against that type of "garbage" bill, you would be voting against helping seniors. On the other hand, by voting for the bill, you would be voting for Social Security relief, but also be voting to cost seniors and everyone else more overall.

It would be a disservice to all Minnesotans for this session to unfold that way, with seniors effectively treated as political pawns. Our seniors deserve better so let’s get a straight vote – up or down – on full Social Security tax exemption.

In other news:

Green cemeteries

A ton of off-the-wall bills have been introduced this session, but I am working on legislation that actually would stop a questionable trend from occurring. I am in the process of co-authoring a bill (H.F. 2605), which places a moratorium on green burials (no embalming, biodegradable caskets, etc.). Groups from outside Minnesota are pushing this practice in our state despite numerous concerns. Placing a two-year moratorium on this practice would, at the very least, allow for a study to take place examining potential environmental and health impacts, while also providing recommendations. This issue has bubbled up in our area and I will continue working to see we have a common-sense solution.

Second Amendment and abortion update

Things have been relatively quiet recently regarding controversial legislation on gun control and abortion. That’s not to say these bills went away, they just haven’t been presented for final approval.

H.F. 91 would remove all of Minnesota’s current pro-life laws from state statutes. This is a continuation of the House majority’s extreme abortion agenda that is making our state an outlier not only in our country, but the world.

As mentioned in last week’s newsletter four separate gun-control bills also remain in the mix. They would add unprecedented restrictions into state law. Click here for more on each bill.

I will keep you posted as best I can as things develop at the Capitol and, as always, your input is greatly appreciated. I am here to help!