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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Shane Mekeland (R)

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This week's update from the Capitol

Friday, April 5, 2019

Remember when Nancy Pelosi said Congress had to pass a bill to find out what is in it? Well, here is what that looks like at the state level, with an omnibus Health and Human Services bill of around 1,000 pages. Yes, that is one bill and it is so big it cannot be reasonably bound together as one document. I wonder on what pages Democrat proposals to cut nursing home funding, bring back a tax on health care and add a new tax on insulin providers can be found.

Dear Neighbor,

Greetings from the Capitol, where this week we have discussed Democrat bills to kill jobs, increase energy rates, allow criminals of the worst kind to be in contact with vulnerable citizens and provide undocumented immigrants with driver’s licenses. I oppose them all.

It all started Monday when House Democrats approved H.F. 2265 on a party-line vote. That bill would allow people convicted of murder, drive-by-shooting, felony-level stalking, child abuse, and solicitation of children to engage in sexual conduct to be eligible to work as personal care attendants, providers of home and community-based care services for Minnesotans with disabilities, adult day services, non-emergency medical transportation drivers, and more.

Yes, that’s right, the Democrats voted to pass a bill which allows people who have committed some of the worst crimes imaginable to work with some of our most vulnerable citizens. There aren’t even any rehabilitation requirements included. The Democrats have appeared rudderless all session, but this new level of recklessness is completely unacceptable and calls into question just how out of whack their priorities are if they willingly expose vulnerable citizens to risk.

Most of our time in committee meetings is being spent hearing omnibus bills that will form the various components of our state’s next two-year budget. Among them is the Omnibus Jobs and Economic Development Finance bill (H.F. 2208), which I mentioned would kill jobs. It increases taxes on Minnesotans to the tune of $1.6 billion per biennium and includes numerous burdensome and expensive requirements that would make it harder to do business in our state. This includes Paid Family and Medical Leave, Wage Theft, Earned Sick and Safe Time, Unclaimed Property Revisions, Net Neutrality, and the Call Center Relocation Notification.

I am a member of the committee on jobs and it is a shame good appropriations included in this finance bill are overshadowed by so many bad policy provisions and controversial bills. I relayed to the committee a message I personally received from a Minnesota business person who told me Democrat policies are putting our state at a disadvantage and causing even our own homegrown businesses to shift their investments elsewhere. Click here for more on that.

As for the omnibus energy bill, Democrats propose significant new spending on renewable energy projects that will end up costing Minnesotans more on their energy bills. It also restores the $500,000/year assessment that expired a year ago and removes the sunset date from statute. This also will increase rates paid by energy consumers.

And, after all that, we are scheduled to have a lengthy floor session today to discuss before the full body a bill that would require the state to issue non-compliant (non-Real ID) driver’s licenses and state ID cards to undocumented immigrants. This is a bad idea that could create significant public safety problems. While the author of the bill has amended the proposal along the way, this does not change the fact this move would put us on the wrong path. We need to be tightening security instead of loosening standards.

The kicker? As it moved through the process, the bill has included a provision where “not for voting” language would be featured on these IDs. The problem is many of these same Democrats have stood in the way of efforts to make IDs a requirement for voting. So what is the purpose of  indicating these undocumented immigrant IDs are not for voting when IDs are not a requirement at the polls?

I will be back with more as things continue to develop at the Capitol and, as always, your input is welcome.



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