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

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Legislative update

Friday, April 19, 2024

Dear Neighbor,

House Republicans scored a nice victory this week when we caused House Democrats to strike an internet tax from their own omnibus bill.

This proposal fundamentally changes the way broadband is regulated by allowing local units of government to become regulators. This would slow down broadband deployment in our state and increase internet costs by as much as 8 percent per service, a price that would be passed on to consumers. These would be regressive taxes, hitting low-income and young consumers the hardest.

I made strong arguments against this proposal in the committee process but Democrats continued to move it along and included it in an omnibus bill (H.F. 4077) related to commerce, which came to the floor for a vote of the full body this week. I had an amendment lined up to change this provision, but the majority pulled its measure before my proposal came up. I’m not sure if the majority saw the light or just didn’t want to have a public debate about their plan to slow down broadband installations and increase costs but, whatever the case, getting their bad legislation out of the bill was a win for Minnesotans.


House Democrats approved a landlord/tenant package (S.F. 3492) on Thursday.

While ensuring the rights and safety of tenants is undeniably important, measures in this bill will place a heavy burden on providers. This is especially concerning for small-scale property owners who will be forced to navigate even more stringent regulations and raise rental prices to cover the anticipated costs of compliance and potential legal disputes.

This issue also feeds into a larger discussion on how we view housing providers in Minnesota.

On one hand, you have a House Democrat who authored a bill that would cap at 10 the number of single-family homes one business entity could own. She was quoted in a recent article saying she authored this bill because, “The issue with housing is that it is becoming much more commodified, and housing is being used as a way to make profits.”

In other words, Democrats are writing laws in Minnesota as retribution for people making market-driven profits. This is alarming and runs counter to the entrepreneurial spirit of our nation.

The same article quoted my response to that quote: “Thank you for clarifying the real philosophical difference at the heart of this, which is whether capitalism is a useful tool to encourage investment in things that are helpful to people.”


Democrats are pushing legislation to make Minnesota a sanctuary state, making our state a haven for illegal immigrants at a time we face a crisis at our nation’s southern border. They spent last year’s session priming the pump by providing driver’s licenses for all, automatic voter registration, and incentives to NOT go to work. This year, they have authored legislation prohibiting state or local government from cooperating with federal immigration agencies to further entice the resettlement of illegals in Minnesota.

The social costs could be immense. There also are serious questions about how much of an actual fiscal cost Minnesota taxpayers will suffer to support people who are in our state illegally. House Republicans offered an amendment on the floor this week to clarify a grant program for new Americans does not apply to illegal residents, but House Democrats turned that down. Along the way, a fellow Republican asked Democrats this simple question: What percentage of our state budget should be spent on people here illegally? The question was posed to 10 different DFL members, and each one refused to answer. Click here for a clip of how this unfolded in the House chamber.

As basic as it sounds, Minnesotans’ tax dollars should not be going to people who are breaking the law to be here. The fact the majority refuses to even discuss this issue, much less address it, speaks volumes.

Have a good weekend, enjoy Passover and please stay in touch.