How to Enjoy National Night Out August 1

National_Night_Out_Logo.jpgAt a time when reports of auto thefts and home break-ins are increasing, it is very important to get to know your neighbors.  Neighbors knowing neighbors is one of the most effective ways to prevent crime.

National Night Out (NNO) is coming up on Tuesday, August 1. Each year, neighborhoods in our area organize block parties on that evening.  

Residents are asked to lock their doors, turn on their outside lights and spend an evening outside with neighbors.

Recently, some cities have started to refer to this event as “National Night to Unite”;  its new purpose is to celebrate/strengthen neighborhood and community partnerships.

Please note that registration of your National Night Out or National Night to Unite events with your city may have a deadline of as early as July 21.

Read on for information on what Bloomington, Edina, Minnetonka, and Eden Prairie are doing

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Edina Hit with More Car Thefts and Break-ins

Car_theft_break_in.jpgSince April, Edina has seen a significant increase in burglaries, thefts from vehicles and thefts of vehicles throughout the city, especially in the northeast quadrant.  The Edina Police Department reports that the majority of the crimes seem to be crimes of opportunity, meaning doors were left unlocked.

The Edina Crime Prevention Fund has increased its reward to $3,000 for information leading to the arrest and charging of the person or persons responsible for recent burglaries, thefts from vehicles and vehicle thefts in the northeast area of Edina.

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Charges Filed for Violent Capitol Protesters

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In early March, a number of supporters of President Trump held a legal rally inside the State Capital.  They were met with a counter-demonstration that became disruptive and potentially dangerous.  Police arrested several of the more violent protesters.  Finally, almost three months later, the Ramsey County Attorney and the St. Paul City Attorney filed charges against eight of the anti-Trump protesters.

Will these individuals, who cannot tolerate a different view, legally be held accountable in a court of law? Will all Americans living in the Twin City area be allowed to voice their opinion on any and all matters without suffering violence?  Where do the leaders of Minneapolis and St Paul stand on those that would disrupt and potentially endanger those of us willing to rally in support of our President?

The legal proceedings against the protesters are slowly moving forward. There are upcoming future court dates that will decide the fate of all eight protesters. We all hope for justice.

Read on for more details about the rally and the charges against the protesters.

And CLICK HERE to read Alpha News reporting about the much swifter filing of charges for June 10 violence.

Image Credit: Preya Samsundar/Alpha News MN

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Candidates for Local Races, August 8 Primary

Bloomington_City_Hall.jpgCandidates running for office in the cities of Bloomington and Minnetonka have filed and an August 8 primary will be held in Bloomington.  (Edina and Eden Prairie will not hold mayor or city council elections this year.)  SD49 volunteers will be needed to help with campaigns. 

Bloomington voters will elect four city council members this year:  Districts 2, 3, 4, and At-Large.  Minnetonka voters will  elect a mayor and two At-Large city council members.

Bloomington candidates:

  • At-Large     Kim Vlaisavlevich (appointed), Nathan Coulter, Michael Arulfo, and Susan “Hofmeister” Woodruff
  • District 2 (southwest Bloomington)  Eldon Spencer (appointed), Cheryl Lewis, Shawn Nelson, and Lenny Klevan Schmitz
  • District 3 (northwest Bloomington)  Jack Baloga (incumbent) and Larry Frost
  • District 4 (northeast Bloomington)   Patrick Martin and Jon Oleson (incumbent)

Minnetonka candidates:

  • Mayor         Brad Wiersum and Ashwin Patel
  • Council Member At Large Seat A              Deb Calvert and Brian Kirk
  • Council Member At Large Seat B              Patty Acomb (incumbent) and Derrick Banks

A Primary Election will be held on August 8 for the At-Large and District 2 seats, as three or more candidates filed for those offices.  Two candidates for each seat will go forward to the general election in November.

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Minnesota Legislative Successes

legislative_MN_Way.jpgOur Spring Conversation panel stressed that Republicans need to celebrate what we were able to accomplish this session.  These notable achievements in the areas of tax relief, transportation, health care and education are highlighted below.

Tax Relief:  The 2017 Tax Relief bill delivers $650 million in tax relief to Minnesota families over the next two years, and $790 million in 2020-2021. This will be the largest tax relief package in nearly two decades!

Highlights:

  • Nearly 284,000 senior citizentax returns (single and married filing jointly) will receive tax reductions; 72,000 of those will no longer pay state income tax on their social security benefits.
  • A family of four making $50,000 a year will receive an additional $1,200 toward their child care expenses.
  • 65,000 students will receive an average of a $414 reduction in their taxes through a new tax credit for student loan payments.
  • Every Minnesota business owner will see relief from an “extra” business tax.  Hometown businesses will now be able to exempt the first $100,000 of property value, a huge boost to our smallest mom-and-pop shops in all corners of the state
  • 240,000 farmers will receive property tax relief to reduce their disproportionate share of school district debt service.

Transportation:  To increase safety and reduce traffic congestion, roads and bridges work was funded without the governor's gas tax hike. This will be largest investment in road and bridge infrastructure in state history without a gas tax increase.

Highlights:

  • A more than $300 million influx of funding for roads over two years, with an additional $16 million for small cities' road projects
  • 97 bridges will be repaired or replaced statewide as a result of $25 million in funds for a new local bridge account.
  • Republicans stopped state dollars from funding ongoing operating costs for the Southwest Light Rail boondoggle.
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SD49 Plans Several Great Activities this Summer – Save the Dates!

The days are getting longer, and summer is really coming!  Senate District 49 takes a break from monthly dinner programs until late September.  Instead we have a number of warm weather activities planned, and we hope that you will join us.  Consider the following events for your summer enjoyment:

  • Pitchers & Politics – save the 3rd Thursday of each month (June 15, July 20, August 17) for our special Republican happy hour get-together.  Hosted by Senate Districts 44, 48, and 49, Pitchers & Politics is held in the back room of the Gold Nugget, 14401 Excelsior Blvd, Minnetonka.  Running from 4:30 pm to 7 pm (come when you can, leave when you must), it is meant to be a casual opportunity for Republicans to mix and talk, of politics or of anything that strikes your fancy.  We’ll invite some interesting people to join us, but we promise – no speeches.  Just good beer, food, and conversation.

  • Edina’s July 4th parade is a colorful, patriotic local tradition.  SD49 has been a part of that tradition for as long as we can remember.  Join fellow Republicans in showing our colors and our enthusiasm.  This is an easy walk of about a mile in length.  All it takes is 3 hours, from 9:00 am -- 12:00 pm.  We start near the Edina Community Center, go north to city hall, and end about a block west of the 50th and France intersection in Edina.  We plan to have a banner, signs, and our elephant mascot riding on the back of a red convertible.  Look for more details and a chance to sign up as we get closer to July 4th.

  • Annual SD49/SD50 Picnic is set for Sunday, August 13 at the Shelter 3 in East Bush Lake Park.  Plan on good food in a family-friendly environment.  The picnic area boasts a playground, a volleyball court, and lots of room for games.  We have a picnic pavilion, so we can handle some variation in the weather.  Expect some local and state Republican candidates to stop by.  We’ll be doing the cooking, so volunteer opportunities will also be available.   Look for more details as we get into July.

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Governor and Legislature Reportedly Reach $46B Budget Deal

Short Special Session Immediately Convened

As the Minnesota Legislature reached its mandatory adjournment time of midnight on May 22, lawmakers ran out of time to negotiate and approve budget bills representing about 70 percent of the state’s budget funding. 

However, the House and Senate leadership were meeting separately with Gov. Dayton.  Less than an hour before midnight, they announced an agreement to immediately convene a special session.  That special legislative session is currently considering a tentative deal, reached between the GOP leaders and the DFL governor on a $46 billion two-year budget.

Photo below by Jeff Wheeler, Star Tribune.  House Speaker Daudt and Senate Majoity Leader Gazelka announce agreement on budget and special session.  House Majority Leader Peppin, Gov. Dayton, and Senate Minority Leader Bakk appear behind Daudt and Gazelka

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Spring Conversation Answers “How are We Doing, With MN Legislative Majority?”

Small_Intent_Conversation_Nice_Setting.jpgGreat 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 -- Kurt Zellers (former Speaker of the House), Kim Crockett (Executive Vice President, Center of the American Experiment), and David Hann (former Minority Leader of the Senate) - 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.

Small_Edited_Panel.jpgAll panelists noted Governor Dayton’s harsh, even “oddball”, negotiating style, attributed to his lack of experience in typical business win-win negotiations, and his adoption of former DFL Governor Rudy Perpich’s “tantrum” technique. Per Hann, Dayton simply doesn’t know how to negotiate – he doesn’t “get” the concept that both sides need to be happy at the end.

The vetoes are, to some extent, simply for show to satisfy the core DFL base.  Despite the messy situation set up by Dayton vetoing ALL the bills sent to him by the House & Senate, the panelists predicted that negotiations would proceed during the final week of the session, and no special session will be needed. (Editor’s note: the panelists did not know that Dayton would delay the start of negotiations, compelling the Republicans to try to rework the vetoed bills on their own.  Ultimately, a special session was needed and is being extended on May 24 as we post this.)

Dayton sincerely believes that higher taxes are the solution to fund all his ideas.  He has refused to accept or acknowledge studies that show the dire impact on private philanthropy when rising taxes result in higher-wealth individuals leaving the state.

Per Crockett, the Republican majority did their best to anticipate what Dayton would object to and remove those points from the bills; it didn’t help.  The Republicans also are “spraying money all over” to try to satisfy Dayton.  That included exceeding the automatic spending increases for education, raising the total allocation to $1.1 Billion, even though studies have shown that more money doesn’t improve education results.

Within the Legislature, Crockett noted that the big dynamic is Metro versus Outstate.  She predicted that the citizens of Hennepin County (which includes SD49) will be funding light rail.  And even though light rail won’t reduce suburban traffic congestion, it could work as a long-term DFL strategic policy to gain legislative seats in the suburbs.  The strategy:  move the poor to subsidized housing along the light-rail line and they’ll swing those districts to Democrats.

Small_Audience_Questions.jpgAudience members posed several additional questions:

Why do Republicans always give in, and how can that change? 

Can you provide an update on the Personal Care Attendants (PCA’s) union lawsuit? 

What WILL be accomplished this session?

What more can the Legislature do for health insurance reforms?

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Personal Care Assistants Continue Union Removal Efforts

Attorney Doug Seaton gives us a timeline of the formal steps taken by Personal Care Assistants in the article below, noting that 7,690 election authorization cards have been filed by PCA's in support of the decertification vote.  And a formal appeal of Bureau of Mediation Services decisions was filed May 19 with the Minnesota Court of Appeals.  

Reporter Kevin Mooney has been following the story and documented further details and the negative side effects the PCA unionization has on real people's lives.  You may read his reports from March (CLICK HERE) and May (CLICK HERE). 

HomeHealthAide.jpgThe Minnesota PCAs’ Case in the Courts

On May 24, 2013, Governor Mark Dayton (DFL) signed    S.F. 778 into law, dramatically changing the lives of home healthcare workers. The law declared that these caretakers were government employees, but only for collective bargaining purposes.

It was an unusual act because these personal care assistants (PCAs) are typically individuals who take care of their family members with disabilities. These PCAs are not traditional government workers in an agency.

Further, the PCAs could not receive the benefits that most government workers receive. All these assistants got was the ability of a union to claim to represent them.

This union was the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), and on August 26, 2016, it declared    victory. It was able to win the election with only a majority of the voters, 3,543 out of 5,872, even though there were claimed to be 27,000 PCAs in the group.

In May 2015, the union signed a contract with the state which authorized dues deduction for PCAs of 3 percent of the Medicaid money these PCAs receive for the care of their loved one and a proposed new contract for 2017-2019 continues this procedure.

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May 30 Deadline for Local Candidate Filings is Fast Approaching

Candidates wishing to run for office this year in the cities of Bloomington and Minnetonka have until Tuesday, May 30, at 5 pm to file.  Edina and Eden Prairie will not hold mayor or city council elections this year.

Bloomington_City_Hall.jpgBloomington voters will elect four city council members this year.  To run for the city council, candidates must file with the Bloomington City Clerk’s office.  Four municipal offices will be on the ballot and open for filing:  Districts 2, 3, 4, and At-Large. Candidates must reside in the district if they wish to run for a district office.

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