Spring Conversation Answers “How are We Doing, With MN Legislative Majority?”
Great food in a beautiful, relaxed setting and excellent discussions with others from SD49 had all of the attendees prepared to hear from, and interact with, the panel at the Spring Conversation fundraiser May 12.
Our panel of three experts -- David Hahn (former Minority Leader of the Senate), Kim Crockett (Executive Vice President, Center of the American Experiment), and Kurt Zellers (former Speaker of the House) - provided political and policy insights as they tackled the first set of key questions posed by moderator & SD49 GOP Co-Chair Randy Sutter: We Republicans elected a majority in both houses of the Minnesota Legislature. The session has a bit more than a week remaining. How are we doing? Have we accomplished enough to satisfy voters? Will we be in a good position for the 2018 races?
The consensus was: given Democrat Governor Dayton’s negotiating style and veto promises (since fulfilled), this Legislative session’s results are likely to disappoint most voters. Voters had high expectations for changes and those won’t happen this session. The negative effects on the next election could be less if the party does better in several areas. These include: communicating the process barriers, setting better expectations, putting longer-term strategies in place, and celebrating the victories that were achieved.
To read more about the thought-provoking panel discussion, please CLICK HERE.
MN GOP State Central Meeting Elects New State Officers
Minnesota Republicans held a meeting of the State Central committee to elect new officers in Saint Cloud on Saturday, April 29. There was great anticipation leading up to the meeting with 4 candidates for Chair, 3 candidates for Deputy Chair and our own Barb Sutter running opposed for Secretary.
Almost 800 delegates and alternates showed up, of which 338 were designated to vote for the candidates. Great credit goes to the four (4) delegates and 12 alternates from Senate District 49 for their commitment. All but one of these representatives registered and came to the meeting ready to serve. Attendance exceeded expectations, and for much of the meeting, it was standing-room only.
There were many key speakers that talked about the importance of the next election for governor and the need for all republicans to volunteer to support the party to be successful. Tom Emmer and Jason Lewis came from Washington D.C. to tell of the changes being made as a result of the last election. Kurt Daudt, Speaker of the House, and Paul Gazelka, the Senate Majority leader, gave us an update from the capitol, the challenges of working with Governor Dayton, and the importance of electing a Republican governor in 2018. That set the stage for the voting.
To read more about the election of party officers and the new Somali-American affiliate, CLICK HERE.
Jeff Johnson: Resistance is not Futile, but it's Tough Right Now
Jeff Johnson provided his unique insight on the Hennepin County government and the Metropolitan Council to a large audience at the Senate District 49 dinner program on March 28. It was clear from his remarks that both bodies are dominated by members who are not hesitant to address local issues by expanding government-funded services. Johnson, Hennepin County commissioner from the 7th District, finds himself often the lone voice pointing out the misguided initiatives that waste taxpayer dollars.
Commissioner Johnson also spoke about the on-going contention over additional light rail extensions, including the Southwest Light Rail project. To hear his remarks, please check out the SD49GOP video recording
He encouraged us to contact Rep. Erik Paulsen to express our support for proposed federal funding cuts for new light rail projects (the New Starts fund), for both SWLRT and the Bottineau Line project. At a cost of $124 million per rail mile (compared with $1-2 million per road mile), and a benefit of perhaps a 2% reduction in congestion, these projects just don’t make sense.
To read more about Commissioner Johnson's assessment of the Metropolitan Council and Hennepin County government, please CLICK HERE.
MN Health Insurance Reforms Enacted
On January 26, the Minnesota Legislature overwhelmingly approved the Health Care Emergency Aid and Access Plan. Passing with bipartisan support, the plan introduces the first reforms to the Minnesota health insurance marketplace and provides partial temporary relief to some who have individual health insurance or who were forced into a 2017 plan that doesn’t cover their doctor or hospital. It compassionately extends coverage with their current providers for those with treatment in-progress and those nearing end of life.
The Plan includes key Republican-led reforms that are intended to
- preserve care for those receiving life-saving treatments
- increase competition
- increase consumer choice moving forward.
“This is a first step in a session-long effort to address the problems created by Obamacare and MNsure,” said Susan Closmore, Director of Public Affairs, House Republican Caucus.
To read more about the plan and the reforms introduced by it, CLICK HERE.
Fall Conversation Panelists Chart Course for New Legislature
January Update: Another video segment from the Fall Conversation is available for you. This nine-minute video focuses on Regulations and Taxes in the Minnesota Economy. CLICK HERE to view.
Senate District 49’s sixth annual “Fall Conversation” once again presented some great wine tasting options and a panel discussion that took the promise of the new Republican legislature head on.
Over forty people turned out for the event at the Edina Country Club on Thursday evening, November 17. The ideas presented by the panel members were appropriately challenging.
The panel members brought their own perspectives, coming from different backgrounds within the Twin Cities. Mitch Berg is an outspoken political pundit and conservative radio talk show host on AM1280. Rep. Jerry Hertaus was recently re-elected to his third term as the representative to the Minnesota House from District 33A with 68% of the vote. Peter Nelson is Vice President and Senior Policy Fellow at the Center of the American Experiment.
NEW - A Video Sample of the Fall Conversation is online. CLICK HERE
SD 49’s own Bill Glahn was the panel moderator, and he broke the ice very quickly. To read more about what the panel members had to say, CLICK HERE.
SWLRT Key to Met Council’s Plan for Urban Densities in the Suburbs
The Southwest Light Rail Transit plan is the latest power grab by the big government planners at the Metropolitan Council. Accountable to no-one but the Governor, the Metropolitan Council is intent on re-imagining our lives through centralized planning. The central feature of this centralized planning is ever increasing levels of light rail transit. While some refer to the “dream” of light rail, the reality is more like a nightmare.
The so-called “Green Line Extension,” otherwise known as the Southwest Light Rail Transit (SWLRT), appeared to be in jeopardy when the Minnesota legislature did not approve $144.5 million in state funding for it. However, in a calculated political move, Gov Dayton bypassed the legislature. He got three metropolitan boards to come up with the funding instead.
To read how SWLRT is critical to the central planning vision of Dayton and the Met Council, CLICK HERE.
Update: Franchise Fees, Taxes in Disguise
On August 24 the MN Supreme Court unanimously decided against the City of St. Paul and for two churches that appealed their right-of-way (ROW) fee assessments, deciding that these were indeed taxes.
That decision may, eventually, open the door for nonprofits to challenge the pass-through utility Franchise Fee schemes that have become popular ways for cities like Bloomington and Edina to fund road, sidewalk and trail repairs without constraining discretionary budgets or increasing property taxes.
While the cities of Bloomington and Edina have made no comment on the court decision, the City of Duluth is wisely not waiting for someone to file a separate lawsuit on their Franchise Fees that are directed towards general city services like road repair. Instead Duluth is responsibly and proactively making plans to adjust tax levies and their budget priorities to ensure non-Franchise Fee funding for such core city services
CLICK HERE for our article with more information.
In a 3-part series we highlighted Bloomington’s Excessive new Franchise Fees, equivalent to a 14% property tax increase, and the Utility Fee Add-On that added a half-million-dollar surplus each year to the “Solid Waste / Curbside Cleanup” program fund. Here are links to those 3 articles.