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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Harry Niska (R)

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Legislative update

Friday, April 5, 2024

Dear Neighbor,

We’ve spent a lot of time lately talking about how left-wing zealots have declared open season on our religious freedom, but you probably also have seen recent headlines regarding their efforts to undermine popular rideshare companies in our state.

House Republicans this week conducted a press conference to discuss a bill I have co-authored to resolve a government-caused situation that has left Uber and Lyft to say they will leave at least parts of our state on May 1.

The issue first surfaced last spring, when the legislative majorities passed HF 2369 to dramatically increase pay requirements for rideshare drivers. This bill would have created a basic business math problem and pushed companies out of the market, except the governor vetoed it.

Instead of allowing this issue to be put to rest, Minneapolis City Council radicals pushed ahead with their own sky-high rideshare fee minimums of $1.40 per mile and 51 cents per minute – set to take effect May 1. Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey followed the governor’s lead by vetoing that reckless measure, but the city council refused to let the mayor’s well-founded decision stand and instead overrode his veto.

That vote caused Uber to announce it would cease service in the entire metro area, while Lyft said it would stop serving Minneapolis.

There is still time to fix this issue before extreme policies chase these companies out of town. We simply need House Democrats in the majority to let the bill I co-authored receive a vote of the full body. If that were to happen, it’s a good bet strong support from Republicans and would be met with just enough support from Democrats to pass.

Meanwhile, significant blowback on this measure is causing Minneapolis City Council members who voted to override the mayor to feel the heat, saying they're interested in re-opening this issue. Time will tell how serious they are about reconsidering a public vote they already took twice, but let’s take them at their word and see this as a positive development. This issue is on the council’s April 11 meeting agenda. 

Minnesota is desperate for some responsible leadership. We need balance in the legislature before reckless legislating causes any more damage in our state. This rideshare issue could have been avoided altogether, but now let's hope common sense prevail between now and May 1.

Drivers license testing


Minnesota’s drivers license exam system is woefully inadequate, with a major shortage of testing availability. People often are forced to travel hours to schedule a test. It’s not a new development, yet Democrats haven’t done nearly enough to fix the problem. In fact, they even worsened the logjam by enacting universal drivers licenses in Minnesota.

Fortunately, I successfully amended to a House transportation package approved Thursday language that would be a small step in the right direction by requiring state officials to report what progress is being made to fix this problem. It’s a slight improvement, but an improvement nonetheless. However, the majority rejected another amendment of mine that would have made it easier to set up appointments online.

Neither of my amendments would be cure-alls for our failing drivers license system. We ultimately need to expand sites and overhaul the website to make a more efficient process. But, so far, the Democrats have not given those issues the attention Minnesotans deserve.

More spending

Less than one year ago, Democrats in St. Paul spent the $18 billion surplus and raised taxes by $10 billion to increase state spending by 40 percent.

They are now back at, with Democrats recently unveiling a proposal to spend even more of our tax dollars this year – even as we face a shortfall in the next biennium. Democrat legislators and the governor recently announced they have reached an agreement to spend at least $512.5 million more in 2024-25.

The proposed spending from Democrats in full control of the Capitol is irresponsible and unaffordable. They’re ignoring our looming deficit and warnings from state officials to be cautious when budgeting, and instead of getting spending under control they want to increase spending at an even more unsustainable pace.

When is enough going to be enough?

Religious freedom

I continue working to restore religious freedom in the Minnesota Human Rights Act, protecting religious organizations and faith-based schools against claims of gender identity discrimination. Click here for a recent interview I did with the latest on this subject. Stay tuned as we keep pressing this issue in the hopes the will of Minnesotans prevails over the wishes of the extreme Democrats.