Special Update of the Minnesota Legislature

State_Capitol.jpgIt has been more than a month since the Legislature adjourned the 2021 regular session on May 17 with a broad agreement on the state's estimated $52 billion budget.

On Monday, June 14, lawmakers returned, in-person, to the State Capitol for the first special session of 2021 to continue work on the budget before the state's fiscal year ends on June 30. The Legislature has until then to complete its work or face the potential of a partial government shutdown which has not occurred since 2011.

Republicans continue to fight for our values:

  •  Removal of the governor's emergency powers to bring the voices of Minnesotan's back to government
  •  Use of the legislative committee process to ensure massive pieces of legislation are thoroughly vetted by members on both sides of the aisle and Minnesotan's can participate in the process
  • Continuation of the Reinsurance Program to keep health insurance premium levels low and stabilize the individual insurance market

Emergency Powers

The special session kicked off with Republican Minority Leader Kurt Daudt (R-Crown) bringing forward a procedural motion to take up a resolution to end the governor's emergency powers which have been in place for more than 15 months. Ultimately, the motion failed on a party-line vote with just one DFL member voting in favor. The most DFL members to vote in favor of the motion was six members nearly a year ago.

In the Senate Chamber, the Republican Majority has voted to rescind the powers eight times.

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Paul King Announces for Bloomington City Council

Paul_King_Image_to_Use_for_Newsletter.jpgLife-long Bloomington resident and businessman Paul King has announced his non-partisan candidacy for Bloomington’s City Council At-Large seat.  His campaign website is https://www.paulkingforcitycouncil.com/

At a kick-off fundraiser June 3, King emphasized his “local common-sense” views on the role of government and many current Bloomington issues. 

Mr. King noted that in the past 10 years the city’s budget has almost DOUBLED.  Yet, the number of roads and parks is the same and several key city services have been reduced as the population has remained the same.   

He supports upgrading the Bloomington Senior Center.   

Paul supports Bloomington’s annual city-wide trash pickup, Curbside Cleanup.  Bloomington Residents who attended the June 3rd fundraiser noted that items placed curbside are actually picked up by other community members from the area before trash haulers collect what remains.  It is a highly-effective, convenient, recycling/redistribution program. 

He opposes the proposed $85 million community center, especially at Valley View Park.  Most of the features included in recent designs are sports-facility services that duplicate those offered in the (open to the public) Activity Centers at Bloomington Kennedy and Jefferson. 

Mr. King is against rezoning residential R1 (low-density) housing areas to R3 (medium-density).  He discussed the Met-Council’s goals for Bloomington to add 5000 low-income housing units, and the builder-incentives for those that Bloomington has in place.  The incentives include waiving requirements for parking-lot landscaping, reduced number of off-street parking places, and smaller on-site storage areas per unit.

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In Memoriam: Bill Clynes

SD49NL-7Ju21_Bill_Clynes-Pix5.jpgBill Clynes, long-time resident of Edina and father of dedicated volunteer David Clynes, passed away in on October 8, 2020. 

Bill was a loving family man and touchstone in the local commercial construction community. Bill regularly attended Senate District 49 dinner programs, particularly when his wife Lois was able to participate with him.

Born in Milwaukee WI on Nov. 2, 1927, Bill grew up in Niles Township (now Skokie) IL. As high school years were WW2 times, Bill and his family moved around the country as his father constructed facilities in support of the war. During summer in Provo UT, Bill picked peaches on local farms. In Sunset Beach CA Bill was a riveter on C47 and A26 airplanes at Douglas Aircraft. Returning to Niles Township for his last year, Bill graduated high school in 1945.

Bill attended Northwestern University, Evanston IL for a portion of a year and then accepted his invitation from the US Army in 1946. After basic training in Ft. McClellan AL, Bill graduated from Officers Candidate School and was commissioned a 2nd Lt. at Ft. Benning GA in 1947. While attending Army Engineer School at Ft. Belvoir VA, Bill met his future bride, the lovely Lois Lindquist.

Bill was sent to Korea to serve in the US Army of occupation. Stationed in Taegu, Bill's served as Commander of C Company, 6th Engineer Combat Battalion. He completed his military service in Korea in 1948 and went on to Purdue University, graduating in 1953 with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering. Bill and Lois were married that same year in Brainerd MN.

Married life began in Chicago IL, where Bill accepted work with the George A Fuller construction company.  His projects took Bill and Lois to Milwaukee WI, Indianapolis IN, (where son David was born), Lorain OH and finally Minneapolis.

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Center of the American Experiment Discussing Critical Race Theory at Local Events

SD49NL-7Ju21_CAE___CRT_Pix4.jpgThe Center of the American Experiment is hosting events across the state to make people aware of the spreading insertion of Critical Race Theory and woke curriculum into the teaching at local Minnesota schools.  Parents need to be aware of how it is appearing and what they can do about it.

The Center has recently highlighted a few of the examples:

Burnsville: 4th graders read a book that warns students that police are "mean" to black people, but "nice" to white people. "Cops stick up for each other," it says. "And they don’t like black men."

 Eagan: 9th graders began the school year by watching a YouTube video entitled "Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man."

 Hopkins: The district Superintendent told returning faculty and staff that to "eradicate" a "pandemic of racial injustice," "we need to examine the role that whiteness plays in our macrosystem of white supremacy."

 Minnetonka: Students and alumni issued 11 "Anti-Racism Imperatives," demanding-among other things-that the district adopt an "anti-oppressive curriculum."

The thrust of the Center of the American Experiment events is that children deserve education, not indoctrination.  If this is happening in your local district, or if you are concerned that it might be introduced this summer or fall, one of these events might offer ways to get engaged in the fight against the woke revolution. 

CLICK HERE to learn about a lunchtime event planned by the Center in Maple Grove on June 29.  Additional events are being planned in Burnsville and Woodbury.  Write us at [email protected] if you would participate in an on-line forum on this subject, in a format similar to our Pints & Pent-up.


Bloomington’s Mayor Apologizes for Flying “Thin Blue Line” Flag

SD49NL-7Ju21-Mayor_Busse_Pic_3.jpgOn Sunday, May 16, a flag was raised over the Bloomington City Hall in recognition of National Police Week. By Thursday afternoon, Mayor Tim Busse was issuing an apology for the show of support for the Bloomington police.

The sudden reversal was caused by protests by some community political activists.  A May 28 Star Tribune article attributed the controversy to the meaning of pro-police flags.  Some asserted that the flag’s original meaning has been co-opted by racists and insurrectionists — a version of it was carried at both the Charlottesville, Va., "Unite the Right" rally in 2017 and at the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.  For that reason, they say it should no longer be flown.

One activist even urged the Bloomington City Council to pass a resolution banning the flying of the flag.

The Star Tribune article did not make clear if there was any symbol the city could safely display at this time to support our police.  While some may protest, the majority of Americans continue to appreciate our police.  We see the depletion of the ranks of the police in Minneapolis while senseless violence is growing in the city, and we don’t want that to happen in Bloomington.

If you respect the role that police play in our city, please contact Mayor Busse and your city council member.  Let them know the city should stand behind the men and women who wear the uniform of the Bloomington police.  We are not racists or insurrectionists. We are community members who know that it is the “thin blue line” that keeps our communities from descending into senseless anarchy.

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SD49 Needs You … To Help Us Expand our Appeal!

A famous quote is attributed to Albert Einstein: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”  SD49 has taken this to heart!  We need to reach out, try new ideas, and build support if we want to attract great candidates.  We are identifying changes that will help us to win elections in the future.  

We started with 2 “town halls” to gather ideas and suggestions.  These were held on April 29th and May 3rd.  We had 50 participants and some great discussions and ideas.  From those ideas we developed the conceptual framework in the figure below.

SD49_Building_Blocks_(2).JPG

You can see the building blocks — we need to first establish our brand and messaging in order to grow the base, engage the community and identify and support candidates who will win elections.  During the town halls discussions, many key initiatives were identified that will be necessary to successfully work our way up the building blocks.  A committee framework seemed to be the best structure to implement these initiatives.

Using the building block conceptual framework and looking at the various initiatives, we identified 18 committees with specific responsibilities and committee chairs, as shown below.     Some volunteer committee members have already come forward, but we can really use more volunteers. 

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Bloomberg Funding Staff in the MN AG Office Who Sue Over Climate Change

The following is adapted from an article in the Freedom Foundation of Minnesota Bulletin.

Picture1Bloomberg.jpgMichael Bloomberg spent $5.6 million funding a program that pays for two special attorney generals in the Minnesota attorney general’s office.  Their job is essentially to sue private parties over climate change. (see also our article UMLC:  Fighting for Liberty and Rule of Law).

Bloomberg, former mayor of New York City and one-time candidate for the Democratic president nomination, was also listed recently as the single biggest spender on federal campaigns from 2009-2020.

His total campaign spending?  $1.4 billion.  According to The New York Times, “Of that, $1 billion went towards his own failed campaign for president in 2020 and $314 million went to other federal candidates, super PACs and political groups.”

It is important to note that none of the state-level campaigns and political groups funded by Bloomberg were included in this $1.4 billion total.  Bloomberg is reported to be the single largest funder of Everytown for Gun SafetyEverytown for Gun Safety spent $36 million to influence 2016 state and local elections, including several here in Minnesota.

Adapted with permission.   The original article appeared in the Freedom Foundation of Minnesota’s May 20, 2021 update.  You can receive this bimonthly bulletin for free at:  www.FreedomFoundationofMinnesota.com .

 


Legislature Adjourns Early Without Passing Budget Bill

SD49NL_Pic-Sen_Adj_No_BUdget-24My21.jpgThe Minnesota House wrapped up the 2021 regular session early the afternoon of May 17 without passing a budget bill.  The House adjourned shortly after a last-minute announcement that the Governor, Senate Majority Leader and the Speaker of the House came to an agreement on targets for the biennium budget.

House Speaker Melissa Hortman (DFL, Brooklyn Park), Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka (R, East Gull Lake), and Governor Walz set a global budget target of $52 billion.  While the target was set, it does not ensure approval of any of the omnibus bills.

Alpha News reported that the “appropriate” commissioners and committee chairs will work cooperatively together to reach an agreement within the target provided.  All working group members and commissioners must complete finance spreadsheets by 5 p.m. Friday, May 28.  Any policy and finance provisions included in a final omnibus bill must be agreed to by Walz, Gazelka, and Hortman.

The deal includes $440 million in state tax breaks for businesses that received federal Paycheck Protection Program loans and exemption of taxes for the first $10,200 of 2020 unemployment insurance.  These actions provide full conformity with federal tax provisions.

About $2.6 billion of federal stimulus money initially divided the parties. If the Legislature adjourned without agreement, Walz could have spent that amount.  The compromise holds that Walz will allocate $500 million, but the Legislature, working with the governor, controls the rest of the federal money, Gazelka said.

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Eyes on Hennepin County: 2021 Budget Tops $2 Billion

Editor note:  A Hennepin County group with a mission to communicate important County information sent out the following this past week:

Hennepin_County_Commissioner_Districts.jpgIf you live in Hennepin County and pay property taxes to the County, this message is for you.

Do you know that the 2021 budget for Hennepin County is $2.2 billion? Yes, the word is billion! According to a listing of their Revenue Sources, 39.7% of those billions comes from the property taxes which you and I pay.

Like many Hennepin County residents, do you feel that you are overtaxed? Too few of us are paying attention to how the County spends our tax dollars.

Hennepin County is divided into 7 Districts with one County Commissioner serving each District. These 7 Commissioners make the decisions on how your tax dollars are spent.

Do you know which District you live in and who your Commissioner is? You may want to introduce yourself, especially since you are an important funding partner! Click this link[Find your commissioner | Hennepin County] to see the detailed map and the 7 Commissioners who are currently serving

Do you know that Commissioners are elected? If you voted in the November election in 2020 and you lived in District 1, 5, 6, or 7, you had the opportunity to vote for one of two candidates listed on the ballot in your District.

The Hennepin County Commissioners meet on Tuesday afternoons at 1:30pm. They are currently meeting virtually, and the public is welcome to attend to learn about issues that are being discussed and where money is being spent. Click here for more information

We plan to send out information on a regular basis to let the residents of Hennepin County know more about how the County operates and how your tax $ are being spent.


Bloomington Overreach Continues

How will voters get to know council candidates before the municipal elections this fall? Bloomington has made no announcements as to when public attendance at City Council meetings will resume. For the time being, we can get a sense of how our current council members think and how they vote by listening in on their sessions online.

Three Bloomington Councilmembers are up for election this November. Nathan Coulter (At- Large) and Patrick Martin (Ward IV) have announced their intention to run for re-election. To our knowledge, Jack Baloga (Ward III) has not yet made his intentions known. This election will be conducted through Ranked Choice Voting for the first time.

The recent council debate to phase out the sale of flavored tobacco products in Bloomington is illustrative. Mike Hanks, of the Sun Current, wrote an article posted on May 6 that reported that the Council voted not only to prohibit the sale of flavored tobacco products and e-cigarettes at the end of this year, but to also prohibit new licenses from being issued in the city. Bloomington is the first to implement such a ban in Minnesota

Four councilmembers (including Nathan Coulter) voted for the ban, while two (including Patrick Martin) voted against it. Jack Baloga was not present. The split essentially mirrored the testimony of Bloomington residents and business owners.

All of the councilmembers recognized that reducing the consumption of tobacco and e-cigarettes by young people is of value. However, Patrick Martin noted that there are only a limited number of dedicated tobacco product stores in Bloomington. They are open to adults only and do not have other means of generating revenue to support their business. The ban would arbitrarily deprive these business owners of the ability to sell otherwise legal products without compensation. And it would do nothing to prohibit the sale of these products in cities and towns around Bloomington.

Shawn Nelson expressed his concern that the city’s plan was going too far. He pointed out that adults have the freedom to smoke, even if it risks their long-term health.

Nathan_Coulter.jpgThis argument did not sway Nathan Coulter. Having made the personal decision that tobacco use is bad, he had no hesitation to impose that decision on others. He dismissed the point that e-cigarettes may help smokers quit, saying there was evidence that they have negative consequences. He was not bothered that the city’s restrictions directly interfere with the free market. He held that the City had a responsibility to protect the health of its residents. It did not concern him that they could simply drive to stores in a neighboring city to buy their tobacco or e-cigarettes.

One could argue that this is evidence of smoker suppression, that it will impose undue hardship on the poor, minorities, and the elderly who live in Bloomington, but discussion along these lines was not reported in Mike Hank’s article.

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