• On Tuesday in the Energy and Climate Division, Governor Walz's 100% renewable bill (HF1956) will receive its first hearing.
o Gov. Walz’s plan will require 100% renewable energy by the year 2050. Rep. Chris Swedzinski (R-Ghent) responded to the plan, pointing out that while Republicans don't oppose renewable energy, they oppose mandating the elimination of other means of energy generation by a certain date. Given the technology that we have today, this proposal would cause energy bills to skyrocket and would threaten the reliability of our energy grid, which is critical during polar vortexes and other cold snaps.
• The Legislative Auditor will release their long-awaited report on Childcare Assistance Program (CCAP) Fraud on Wednesday at 9AM. Expect a House Republican press conference shortly after the release of the report, and the report will be discussed at the Senate Human Services Reform Committee meeting at 3:30PM.
o Last week, Rep. Josh Heintzeman (R-Nisswa) highlighted outrageous language in a bill submitted by Rep. Carlie Kotyza-Witthuhn (DFL-Eden Prairie) that would allow people who have admitted to giving counties false information, false attendance reports, or refused to provide attendance records the opportunity have an extra review at taxpayer expense.
• The Governor's tax bill (HF2125) will have its first hearing in Taxes on Tuesday.
• Rep. Tina Liebling (DFL-Rochester) and Gov. Walz's ONEcare (Health Insurance) bill (HF3) receives its next hearing in the Commerce Committee on Wednesday.
o Over the past week, Minnesota Management and Budget has released two separate fiscal notes for SF761, the Senate bill to extend reinsurance for three years. The fiscal notes confirm that reinsurance would "reduce premiums in the individual market in plan years 2020-2022," and premiums "could be as much as 20 percent lower due to the reinsurance program."
o Despite his own state agencies confirming that reinsurance works to bring down premium costs, Gov. Walz did not include a reinsurance extension in his budget. Instead, he is proposing a 20 percent premium rebate plan that would only help a portion of the individual market; cost the state more compared to reinsurance; and would do nothing to prevent premium prices from skyrocketing.
o The bill to extend reinsurance was heard in the House Commerce committee earlier this session, but remains stuck in Rep. Liebling's Health and Human Services Finance Division.
Many people are attracted to the voodoo economics of the New Left. They are attracted because they feel the effects of the stagnation of real wages over the last several decades. They feel they do not have the same opportunities as previous generations due to educational debt, wage stagnation, and housing unaffordability. The New Left is playing on those widespread fears and proposing solutions that will be economic disaster.
Representative Ilhan Omar (pictured, on the left) and over 30 other Democratic “Progressives” such as Rep. Ocasio-Cortez endorse the “Green New Deal.”
The Green New Deal includes:
1) 100 percent of U.S. power to come from renewable sources within 10 years
2) Rework of the U.S. energy grid to make it more efficient
3) Reduction or elimination of carbon emissions in the agriculture and manufacturing industries
4) Addressing climate change by eliminating pollution from air travel
5) Requiring all new and existing building to be more energy efficient
6) Health care for all
7) Universal basic income for all
Half of the Democratic Presidential candidates also endorse it. Sen Klobuchar (pictured above, right) has signed on as a co-sponsor , although in a CNN interview she said she considers it “aspirational”. Sen Smith didn’t respond to a request about her position on the Green New Deal.Read more
In 2002 and again in 2017, some ardent supporters of light rail pushed for a feasibility study of a line to run from Savage to St. Louis Park. Conveniently, the Dan Patch freight rail line runs over that exact same route. Despite spending $400,000 in 2002 and another $30,000 in 2017, local legislators and residents did not support the initiative.
In 2019, it is rising from the dead again.
MN House Rep. Hunter Cantrell (DFL-Savage), Steve Elkins (DFL-Bloomington), and Brad Tabke (DFL-Shakopee) have co-sponsored HF1783 to authorize a rail transitway feasibility study.
As we reported in our newsletter of July 31, 2017, the Dan Patch Line is an 80-year old single-track freight line that runs from Northfield to Savage. It crosses the Minnesota River into Bloomington and runs north along the east side of Hyland Park. It continues north through Edina to St Louis Park, staying west of Highway 100.
Freight traffic will continue on this single line, and will likely increase. To reduce costs from earlier estimates, any commuter trains would have to run on the same track, without an increase in right-of-way, over 14 same-grade road crossings, with unique cars that cannot operate on the other existing light rail tracks.
To read more background on why the Edina residents pictured above came out in 2017 in opposition to commuter light rail on that track, CLICK HERE.
Residents who live along the line or commute over any of those same-grade road crossings are urged to let their congressional members know of their concerns about the futility of authorizing another feasibility study.
Local governments are under increasing pressure to use their power of permitting to require developers to include less expensive housing in their building plans. In his talk on February 26 as part of Senate District 49’s dinner program series, Brad Aho noted that land, labor, and construction material costs are going up faster than the wages of many of the people who currently live in or would like to move to our area. Still, local and regional governing bodies are also a significant cause of increased housing costs in the Twin Cities area.
As an Eden Prairie City Council member for 14 years, Brad Aho has been in a unique place to watch his city develop. He presented comparison information about local communities' housing costs and incomes, showing there is a need for "affordable" housing in our suburbs. He also has a good sense of why housing costs have gone up. He noted that it costs more to build a house in the Twin Cities area than in a suburb of Chicago. A report commissioned by a builders group, recently cited in an article in the Star Tribune, found that an average home in Lake Elmo would cost $47,000 less in Hudson, Wisconsin.
Aho pointed to overlapping local and regional governments as a big part of the affordability problem that they are now trying to solve. Building regulations and fees are significant cost drivers. As much as 33% of the cost of building a new home here can be traced back to local, regional (e.g., watershed districts), and state policies and fees. Aho said that “municipal fees and regulations in the Twin Cities make it nearly impossible to build a single-family house for less than $375,000.”
Click here to see Brad's detailed presentation text.
Aho acknowledged that some fees cover the cost of construction inspectors who ensure local codes are enforced. However, the value to lower income homebuyers of fees such as “park dedication fees” are less clear.
IRS data from 2016:
• Top 1% of taxpayers (adjusted gross income of at least $480,804) paid 37.3% of all federal income taxes
• Highest 5% of taxpayers (adjusted gross income of at least $197,651) paid 58.2%
• Highest 10% of taxpayers (adjusted gross income of at least $139,713) paid 69.5%
• Bottom 50% of all filers paid 3% of the total federal income tax bill
o Does not include Social Security tax payments
The Star Tribune and Alpha News have both reported that a woman in Minnesota has been charged with voting twice. Zameahia J. Ismail voted in her home district of St. Louis Park. Then she voted again in Minneapolis “after being instructed to support Minneapolis City Council member Abdi Warsame.”
Ismail said the reason she chose to knowingly commit voter fraud was that Warsame was “going to help Somalian community”. It is not known who else Ismail voted for.
How was she able to vote in Minneapolis? Someone vouched for her and she was able to register and vote on the same day. Ismail says she did not have any proper identification when she went to register to vote in Minneapolis.
The person who vouched for Ismail has not been charged.
Secretary of State Steve Simon does not believe that voter fraud materially affects Minnesota voting. Yet he will not release the voting information being sought by the Minnesota Voters Alliance that may be able to determine if it does or not. And if there are no consequences for people that enable voter fraud through inappropriate vouching, it’s likely this will happen again.
• This week, the Ways & Means Committee will hear DFL Rep. Rick Hansen's bill (HF861) for Gov. Walz's MNLARS deficiency request. The bill now includes $10 million in funding for Deputy Registrars after it was amended in committee.
• The Ways & Means Committee heard an overview Monday of Governor Walz's budget recommendations from Commissioner Frans and State Budget Director Britta Reitan. This was the first opportunity that the House will have to discuss the governor's budget in committee and question members of the administration on his proposals.
• The DFL's business mandate bills continue in the Government Operations Committee on Tuesday with HF5 (Paid family leave) and HF11 (Sick/Safe time). Chair Mike Freiberg (DFL) is apparently tired of the great testimony they've heard from various small business owners and stakeholders about the harmful impact of these bills, because the hearing notice states that testimony will be limited.
• On Tuesday the HHS Finance Division will hear the Department of Human Services budget presentation. This will be a great opportunity to discuss the Governor's ONEcare Buy-In proposal, the provider tax and the billion dollars it will add to health care costs over the next two years, and fraud in the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP). Here's a link to the Governor's DHS budget recommendations if you'd like some (not very) light reading.
• The Public Safety Division will be hearing both major gun bills on Wednesday: Background Checks (HF8) and Red Flags (HF9) . Time and location for the gun bill hearings are 7 PM, Location: Capitol 120. This event will be ticketed on site by the Sergeant of Arms; an earlier-announced hearing location in Edina was rescinded over the weekend.
Yes, elections have consequences. Tell SD49’s State Legislators where you stand on these issues. CLICK HERE to see their contact information on our website.
Congratulations and thank you to new co-Chairs Russ Burnison and Joel Quinnell, and the others (listed below) who stepped forward to accept leadership roles for SD49.
About 55 delegates and alternates turned out on Saturday, February 23, for our 2019 convention. While attendance was roughly 43% of our 2018 endorsing convention, the dedicated 2019 participants supported three hours of local party business. The delegates and seated alternates listened to speeches by party officers and candidates, discussed and approved senate district bylaws, and elected senate district executive officers and State Central delegates and alternates.
We greatly appreciate the 36 volunteers who helped plan, set-up and run the convention. Volunteers contributed in a number of ways, from chairing and recording the convention to greeting and registering attendees, checking the credentials of delegates and alternates, counting votes, updating rules, and maintaining security. Because of their efforts, the convention ran very smoothly.
Our esteemed Crystal Eagle award went to Carol Brumwell (at left) for her insightful leadership and skillful editing of the Senate District 49 newsletter for more than three years.
Randy Sutter and the Convention on behalf of the Senate District also recognized outstanding volunteer efforts in 2018 by Jim Bixby, David Clynes, Noah Harber (left, below), Bill Holm (next image), and Al Muerhoff (3rd image).
Continue reading for more convention photos and election results.Read more
Credit to The American Legion Magazine, January 2019
"Take a wild guess what country is reducing its greenhouse gas emissions the most? Canada? Britain? France? India? Germany? Japan? No, no, no, no, no, and no," economist Stephen Moore writes. "The answer to that question is the United States of America." Citing the latest world climate report from the BP Statistical Review of world energy, Moore notes that the United States has reduced its carbon emissions by 0.5 percent – "the most of all major countries."
How can that be, given that the United States never signed the Kyoto Protocol and withdrew from the Paris Climate Accords? The major reason, according to Moore, "is the shale oil and gas revolution that is transitioning the world to cheap and clean natural gas for electric power generation."
Equally telling is Moore’s finding that "nearly every nation that signed on to the Paris Accord and has admonished America for not getting in, has already broken its promises." In fact, "all EU countries are failing to increase their climate action in line with the Paris Agreement goal," according to Climate Action Network Europe.
- Democrats' epic flip-flop on reinsurance begins on Tuesday, Feb. 12, with the first hearing in the Commerce Committee for DFL Rep. Laurie Halverson's bill (HF629) to extend reinsurance for three years. Rep. Greg Davids (R) is the second co-author on the bill and several other Republican members have also crossed the aisle to sign on as well. No doubt Republican members on the Commerce Committee will be reminding their DFL colleagues all of the things they've said previously about reinsurance.
In 2017, Republicans in the Minnesota House established a reinsurance plan to pool the risk for insurance companies willing to offer coverage under MNSure. It significantly reduced MNSure policy rates. Given that health plans must submit their rates to the Department of Commerce for review in April, the legislature and the governor need to approve a reinsurance plan for 2020 sometime in March. This is significantly earlier than any of the other budget decisions.
Last week, Rep. Greg Davids, R-Preston, chief author of the 2017 reinsurance bill, sent a letter to Commerce Commissioner Steve Kelley urging the department to immediately begin modeling what would happen to Minnesota's individual insurance market if the legislature and the governor do not renew a reinsurance program.
In response to questioning last week, Commissioner Kelley stated, “I have not been asked by anybody in the Governor’s office to model that and I have not asked the staff to model that.”
- On Thursday, Feb. 14, in the Taxes Committee, there will be hearings on four Social Security tax relief bills. One is HF56 ,
the bill introduced by Rep. Tony Jurgens (R), which many additional Republican members have co-authored.
• Lastly, on Thursday the Legislative Audit Commission will hear a long-awaited Office of the Legislative Auditor (OLA) report titled “Factors That Contributed to MNLARS Problems.” The Minnesota Licensing and Registration System (MNLARS) launched in July 2017, replacing a 30-year-old legacy system to process vehicle title and registration transactions. The system has encountered technical complications since that time and remains not yet fully functional.
Yes, elections have consequences. Tell SD49’s State Legislators where you stand on these issues. CLICK HERE to see their contact information on our website.