Proposed: A Limit on Miles For Metro Drivers

Car_with_TAX_license_plate.jpgIf you enjoy the freedom of the open road, enjoy it while you can.

Frank Hornstein (DFL, Minneapolis), the chairman of the MN House Transportation Finance and Policy Committee, is the lead author of the Sustainable Transportation Act. It puts into statute a new statewide goal to reduce vehicle miles driven by at least 20% by 2050.

In an information hearing in March, Hornstein told the committee that electric vehicles alone won’t meet the goals set for cutting greenhouse gases. While transportation is the largest source of emissions, electric vehicles are still less than 1% of new vehicle sales.

Move Minnesota, a transit advocacy group in Minnesota, supports the concrete emission reduction standards pushed by states like California and Washington. Sam Rockwell, executive director of Move Minnesota, holds that the shift to electric vehicles is not happening fast enough to meet climate change timelines that they want mandated. Rockwell is quoted in the Star Tribune as saying, “Reducing vehicle miles traveled in Minnesota is essential.” He suggested setting interim benchmarks for the target to keep the state on track and adding mechanisms to ensure the reductions can be enforced.

And since it is not practical for people living in rural areas to significantly reduce their driving, the focus will be on urban residents. They will need to reduce their driving by more than 20%. In Rockwell’s opinion, to make the urban reductions work, everyone needs to live and work within a half-mile of reliable transit.

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Current MN Republican Gubernatorial Candidates

At this point in time, two Republicans have declared their candidacy for Governor of Minnesota. Below are highlights from the candidates' platforms and key issues.

Dr_Scott_Jensen_portrait_edited_from_campaign_site_jpg.jpgDr. Scott Jensen  is a former Minnesota State Senator and practicing physician who garnered widespread attention last year through his opposition to Governor Walz's draconian COVID lockdowns and calls for greater data transparency in government COVID modeling. Dr. Jensen's key campaign issues include:

• Ending the lockdowns
     o In light of Gov. Walz's faulty modeling and devastating economic shutdowns, Jensen is committed to emergency power reform
• Opening classrooms
     o Jensen notes that our children have lost more than a year of critical in-person learning as Walz catered to teachers' union demands, while neighboring states and private schools have found a way to bring students safely back to the classroom
• Transparent data and decision-making, especially following Gov. Walz's faulty COVID modeling and devastating health and economic policies
• Restoring election integrity
• Protecting the Second Amendment
• Enforcing the law and protecting Minnesotans in light of the rioting in 2020
• Funding children's education, not broken institutions, by providing choice and empowerment for parents and their finances
• Protecting the sanctity of human life and supporting Minnesota families
• Shrinking the government and the tax burden on Minnesotans

His campaign website is drscottjensen.com

Mike_Murphy.jpgMike Murphy is a small business owner who currently serves as Mayor of Lexington, MN. Mike's key campaign issues include:


• Business and Job Growth
     o Mike plans to reopen Minnesota's economy by lowering restrictions on businesses and ending tax hikes
• Supporting Law Enforcement
     o Mike fully supports law enforcement and will ensure they have enough funding to keep communities safe and secure
• Election Integrity
     o Mike will fight to protect the ballot box, as Minnesotans deserve to know that their elections are free and fair.

His campaign website is mikemurphyformn.com


Congressional Districts 3 and 5 Elect New Officers

March has been the month for Congressional District conventions. 

Congressional District 3 held its convention on Saturday, March 20.  The remote meeting was chaired by Danny Nadeau.  Voting was smoothly accomplished using CVote, created by CD3’s own Sam Adjei.  Lonny Leitner was the keynote speaker.

The CD-3 officers elected were:

Meier.JPGChair:  Patti Meier (SD44)

Deputy Chair:  Vince Beaudette (Carver County)

Secretary:  Julie Ann Schmidt (SD44)

Treasurer: John Kunitz

Vice Chairs

  • Sam Adjei (Carver County)
  • Kim Crockett (SD33)
  • Debjyoti Dwivedy (SD48)
  • Vicki Ernst (Carver County)
  • Kathleen Fowke (SD33)
  • Ryan Soller (Carver County)
  • Randy Sutter (SD49)

SD49 boasted the largest delegation at the convention, with 32 delegates and seated alternates.

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Bloomington City Council Continues Ranked Choice Voting Hearing

By Kathy Kranz, Co-Chair, Senate District 50 Republicans

Council_Chamber_during_remote_meeting_2021.jpg

A public hearing took place on March 22nd regarding the final ordinance for Ranked Choice Voting (RCV). Decisions were not finalized, and the hearing will continue April 12.

RCV is only for municipal elections, not for school board, county, state, or federal elections. 

At this point, most of the council agrees that a voter may rank up to 6 candidates and be able to write-in a candidate IF the write- in candidate registers with the city at least 7 days ahead of the election. There was some discussion as to whether the Charter Commission would get to weigh in on whether a write-in is counted whether registered or not. The Charter Commission meets the first week in May. Busse mentioned he wanted to get this decided on April 12th in Council Session.

Any candidate not in the top 6 in the first round of votes will be dropped. Laura Calbone – RCV Bloomington, mentioned that she supports allowing up to 6 votes to minimize the number of exhausted ballots. Remember that exhausted ballots are those where one has not voted for any of the top remaining candidates and those votes are discarded.

The interesting policy decision is whether a Static Threshold to win or a Dynamic Threshold (which would change through each round) will be adopted. In a Static Threshold to win, the total ballots cast for the office divided by 2 +1 is used for all rounds. The Dynamic Threshold to win is changed in each subsequent round. It will be the total ballots cast for the office in that round divided by 2 +1. Assistant City Manager Kris Wilson said the Dynamic Threshold would change the amount one would need to be declared the winner in a round, but she could not say if the Dynamic Threshold would change who would be declared the winner from who would win under the Static Method. She thought it is more likely the Dynamic threshold might declare a winner with fewer number of rounds. Most of the council members agree that the Dynamic Threshold should be adopted.

Method of counting is still to be determined on April 12. There are three ways to count the ballots: Tabulators, Dynamic Excel Spreadsheets and Hand Counting.

A new city clerk will also be in place on April 12th and will be responsible for elections.

Suggested action:   All Republican election judges are encouraged to call the new City Clerk or Kris Wilson and volunteer to count ballots or help perform the self-audit of the RCV election.

You may view the City Council's March 22 meeting on the Bloomington video site.  CLICK HERE  The RCV Hearing starts at minute 52 and ends around the 2 hour 30 minute mark. 

An update on another topic from the Council meeting, Affordable Housing, is below.

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State Central Committee To Meet Remotely April 10

 

MNGOP_logo.jpgThe semi-annual meeting of the MN GOP State Central Committee is set for Saturday, April 10. Although Sen. Mark Koran proposed an in-person meeting, MN GOP Chair Jennifer Carnahan decided to stay with a remote session conducted using Zoom.

The call for this State Central Committee meeting was issued by email on March 21 to the “Members, Delegates and Alternates elected or appointed according to Article IX Section 1 of the State Party Constitution.” Guests are not permitted for this meeting.

The primary business of the meeting is to elect the State Party Chair, Deputy Chair, and State Party Secretary.

- The Chair candidates are Jennifer Carnahan and Sen. Mark Koran.
- The Deputy Chair candidates are Carleton Crawford and Forest Hyatt.
- The Secretary candidates are David Pascoe and Bev Snow

Business may also include proposed changes to the Party Bylaws, although none appear to have been posted to the MN GOP Action Center webpage at this time.

Speeches by declared candidates for state-wide offices, as well as Congressional and state legislative leaders, are expected. Current party officers will give reports.

Delegates and alternates have until Wednesday, April 7 at 10:00 am to register. Registrations after that time will not be accepted. If delegates do not register, alternates may be seated. Cross-seating within Congressional Districts has been allowed at prior in-person meetings, but it is not clear at this time what process will be used for seating alternates at the start of this remote meeting.


Rep. Phillips Proud of House Passage of H.R.1 Massive Election Law Changes

Rep_Dean_Phillips_formal_portrait.jpgIn early March, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 1, a sweeping change to our election laws promoted by the Democratic Party as the “For the People Act.” This bill now goes to the Senate.

The bill passed the Democrat-controlled House on a largely party-line vote of 220-210. All Republicans voted against the bill. 

In an email sent out on March 10, Congressman Dean Phillips (DFL, CD3) took particular pride in its passage. Phillips wrote, “A landmark anti-corruption, voter protection, and campaign finance reform package, [H.R.1] begins the important work of elevating common interests over special interests and making it easier for eligible Americans to vote.”

H.R, 1 makes it clear that Rep. Dean Phillips has not grasped one of the fundamental issues that divided Americans in the last election. Masooma Haq has written an extensive analysis of this billl that appeared in the Epoch Times. The legislation transfers authority over how elections are administered from states to the federal government and makes permanent many voting rules that opponents say lead to voter fraud.

Among its many provisions, the bill
• Mandates automatic voter registration in all 50 states. Any person who gives their information to government agencies such as the Department of Motor Vehicles, a public university, or a social service agency would be registered to vote. No provision is made to ensure the person is legally entitled to vote.
• Mandates same-day and online registration
• Denies states the right to require an individual to provide any form of identification as a condition of obtaining an absentee ballot
• Does away with witness signature or notarization requirements for absentee ballots
• Enables any designated person to return any number of absentee ballots to any ballot drop-off location or election office, so long as the person doesn’t receive compensation based on the number of ballots collected (no safeguards against ballot harvesting)
• Forces states to accept absentee ballots received up to 10 days after Election Day
• Makes it illegal to verify the address of registered voters, cross-checking voter registration lists to find individuals registered in multiple states, or ever removing registrants who have not voted, no matter how much time has elapsed
• Bans state voter ID laws and forces states to accept signed statements from individuals claiming to verify who they say they are.
• Shields non-citizens from prosecution if they are registered to vote automatically
• Requires same-day voter registration to be implemented in time for the elections in 2022.
• Allows 16-year-olds to register to vote
• Permits campaign donations to be used for candidate personal expenses
• Changes the composition of the Federal Elections Commission in such a way that all of its members could be associated with a particular political party
• Requires colleges and universities to hire “campus vote coordinators” and would incentivize voter registration by giving grants to institutions that have a high registration rate.

“In the face of reprehensible attempts to suppress voters and insidious foreign interference campaigns, the health of our Democracy is as urgent today as it was when I first ran for office in 2018,” said Rep. Phillips. “H.R. 1 is a critical step in the right direction, and I am proud to have contributed to this landmark legislation that ends politics as usual and returns power to the people—a key priority for Democrats and Republicans alike.

Phillips clearly does not understand that the priority of Republicans is to protect the integrity of our election process, as it should be for Democrats as well. What Phillips calls “voter suppression” is, in fact, a deeply felt concern about insidious moves to weaken ballot protections.

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Congressional District Conventions Will Elect Leaders

Convention_in_a_past_year_for_Newsletter.jpgCongressional District 3 has announced its convention on Saturday, March 20, will be held remotely by Zoom. The call for the convention has been issued to delegates and alternates elected during senate district conventions held in 2020. Those that wish to attend must register by 10:00 am, Wednesday, March 17. Attempts to register after that date will not be accepted.

Congressional District 5 will hold its convention on Wednesday evening, March 24. It will also be held as a Zoom webinar. As with the CD3 convention, CD5 has officially issued its convention call to its delegates and alternates. The deadline to register is Sunday, March 21, at 7 pm.

The CD3 convention will open on March 20 at 8:30 am for sign-in. It will convene at 10:00 am. Besides Zoom, CD3 will be using CVote for registration, credentials, and remote voting. This is the voting approach designed by CD3’s own Sam Adjei and successfully used for the recent SD49 Republican convention.

Sign-in for the CD5 convention will open at 6:00 pm on March 24. The convention will convene at 7:00 pm. Zoom will be used as an audio/visual link. The method of voting will be determined by MN GOP, which will be facilitating the convention.

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SD50 Co-Chair Kranz Testifies Against Ranked-Choice Voting

Kathy_Kranz_testifies_against_RCV.jpgA bill to prohibit the adoption or enforcement of Ranked-Choice Voting for local offices within Minnesota cities, counties, townships and school districts has been introduced this legislative session by Sen. Mark Koran (R, North Branch). Testimony on Senate File 708 was heard Wednesday evening, March 10, in a Zoom meeting of the State Government Finance & Policy & Elections Committee chaired by Sen. Mary Kiffmeyer (R, Big Lake).

Senate District 50 Republicans Co-Chair Kathy Kranz was asked to testify on the bill. Kathy was one of the principal organizers of the opposition to the RCV ballot initiative that passed by a very small margin in Bloomington in 2020.

Kranz told the committee that last year, the Bloomington City Council was lobbied by an outside group to essentially ignore the Charter Commission’s rejection of Ranked Choice Voting. The Charter Commission, the protector of Bloomington’s city charter, was dismissed as advisory only. Concerned residents opposed to RCV were given just 90 days before the November 2020 vote to refute the unproven assertions of a large pro-RCV national foundation and billionaires. The outside proponents spent about $130,000 vs. the $6,000 spent by residents. Fairvote Minnesota provided $126,670 of that $130,000, coming mainly via Fairvote National and the John Arnold Foundation.

“It’s hard as a resident group to mount a local campaign to counter the false assertions of the local arm of a well-funded national advocacy group,” Kathy Kranz argued. As a 501 c(4), they don’t have to provide financial details on their primary donors for over three years. “Isn’t it interesting that about 97% of the money spent in Bloomington did not originate in Bloomington?”

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Minnesota Voters Alliance Calls Out Minnesota League of Cities Over 2021 Agenda

League_of_MN_Cities_logo.jpgThe Minnesota Voters Alliance (MVA) has recently highlighted that the League of Minnesota Cities (LMC) wants to eliminate statutory party balance requirements for election judges. As the self-described purveyor of the “only comprehensive statewide advocacy agenda for all Minnesota cities,” the LMC has as its goal to, in the words of the MVA, “strengthen the grasp of local government around the necks of its citizens.”

In the League of Minnesota Cities: 2021 City Policies, the LMC opposes legislation that “creates an automatic cause of action for damages any time a local regulatory action impacts the use or reduces the value of private property.” It wants to lower “the threshold for requiring voter approval for issuance of improvement bonds,” which would essentially make it easier to bypass voters to take on debt.

In promoting “sufficient authority and flexibility” for local government, the LMC expresses prioritizes government power over individual freedom.

The MVA is concerned that perhaps the most subversive part of the LMC agenda involves Minnesota elections, including voting rights for felons, universal mail-in voting, and restricting access to public voting data.

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Record Number of Minnesotans Exercising Their 2nd Amendment RIghts

Carry_Permit_example.jpgAlmost 100,000 Minnesotans were issued Permits to Carry in 2020, a record since the Personal Protection Act was signed into law in 2003.

The total number of valid Permits to Carry in Minnesota is up to more than 358,000 as of March 1, 2021, according to the MN Department of Public Safety. That is more than 8% of the Minnesota population above 18 years of age  (note that eligibility for a Permit to Carry starts at age 21, so the percentage of the eligible population actually holding a carry permit is likely even higher). Nearly 1 in 10 Minnesotans 21 years or older are permitted to carry a firearm in the state. Compare that to a grand total of 79 firearm homicides in Minnesota in 2019, according to the FBI.

It is unsurprising that a record number of law-abiding citizens (particularly in Hennepin County) are taking steps to protect themselves in light of increasing violence in specific metropolitan areas over the past year, which has naturally led to a dramatic decline in police response times. Minneapolis had 82 homicides in 2020, a more than 70% increase compared to 2019, while gunshot wound victims more than doubled to 551. Robberies also increased almost 50% year-over-year per the city of Minneapolis Community Safety Update

2021 has already seen the DFL resurrect previous failed gun control measures that will adversely affect law-abiding, responsible gun owners (HF 694 "Universal Background Checks / Registry" and SF 1431 "Red Flag Orders"). Carry permit-holders, for example, are an extremely law-abiding group (it should be obvious that criminals do not typically apply for firearm permits in-person at local law enforcement agencies), with less than 1/10th of 1 percent of all permit holders being associated with an actual crime involving a firearm.

Call to Action: Tell Senator Franzen ([email protected]), Representative Elkins ([email protected]), and DFL Senate Minority Leader Ron Latz (651-297-8065) to stop wasting time on initiatives that will only burden law-abiding citizens' ability to exercise their constitutional rights. They should focus instead on enforcing current laws and targeting actual criminals in Minneapolis if they want to productively address gun violence.



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