Rep. Carlson Acting Against Civil Forfeiture Reform

By Zavier Bicott, Chair, MN Republican Liberty Caucus

Andrew_Carlson50B.jpgState Representative Andrew Carlson (DFL, Bloomington) does not seem to get that his first responsibility is to defend his constituents' constitutional rights including due process and property rights.

A Minnesotan who has not been convicted or even been charged with a crime should not lose his property through civil asset forfeiture.

But more than 7,000 times a year, Minnesotans are forfeiting property in civil court regardless of whether any criminal prosecution takes place in criminal court.

Sadly, Rep. Carlson supports the continued use of civil forfeiture.

He voted against the forfeiture reform bill, HF 1971, on March 11 in the House Judiciary Finance and Civil Law Committee.


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Rep. Elkins Promises Public Health Care On the Way

Why would the DFL Governor push a more expensive insurance subsidy plan that supports fewer people?

Elkins.jpgRep Steve Elkins (DFL, Bloomington) recently gave a hint in his newsletter to constituents. He claimed that Walz’s plan “includes a temporary funding extension to ensure low-cost coverage to those effected.” (sic)

Elkins was alluding to the DFL plan to extend the provider tax. This tax would be passed on to every patient, adding $1 billion to the cost of health care over the next two years.

Again, why would the DFL want to make private health care even more expensive? Rep Elkins claims that “the Governor is also working on a long-term solution that would deliver an additional, affordable and sustainable public health care option.”

Republicans do not believe that the only option for affordable health care is state-run health care. House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt told The Associated Press that the state can squeeze enough money out of other sources to fund health care programs for people who really need help paying their medical bills. "Everybody in the state campaigned on lowering health care costs, and you can't lower health care costs by raising health care costs." Rep Daudt (R, Crown) said. He went on to say that the state could free up money by making public programs more efficient, eliminating fraud in the state's troubled Child Care Assistance Program and kicking people off public programs who don't qualify.

Gas Tax Won't Fix Potholes

GasTax_Raise_Your_Nozzle_One_Expensive_MN.jpgWhile Governor Walz grandstands with the DFL’s seasonal Spring lies about pothole repairs funding by gas taxes, voices of reason from all sides of the Republican party and our communities point out the facts. Supported by the MN Dept of Transportation’s charts and the non-partisan League of Minnesota Cities, maybe this will be the year that Minnesotans demand truth and accountability from the DFL Legislators and Governor.

In her recent newsletter article “WILL A HIGHER GAS TAX FIX OUR POT HOLES?”  Annette Meeks, Freedom Foundation of Minnesota, noted that Walz’s proposed tax increase “would give Minnesotans the dubious honor of paying the fourth highest gas tax in the nation.” And yet the reality is “Most city, county and township roads are paid for via local property tax. Some communities receive other forms of state aid that help pay for repaving county roads and highways. But keep in mind: 705 Minnesota cities receive 0% of the gas tax.” (* Source: 705 Minnesota cities receive 0% of the gas tax - page 98 of the budget book here )

Before this 2019 session even convened, last December MN Senator David Osmek highlighted the massive transportation increases funded by the 2018 legislative session, and concluded : “We can provide transportation funding in Minnesota without raising taxes. We just need to focus the resources we take from your pocketbook on solutions, not boondoggles.”

The funding facts: “In Minnesota, funding for our roads and bridges does not come exclusively from the gas tax. Our revenue comes from the Highway User Distribution Fund (HUDF), which includes not only gas tax revenue, but also tab fees and sales taxes on your vehicle. For Budget Year 2019, over 60 percent of the revenue will come from outside the gas tax.”



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Progressives "Playing God": All Government, All the Time

As the Minnesota Legislature continues its work in the current session, the consequences of the catastrophic election of 2018 become clearer for all to see. Senate District 49 is now represented by three “Progressive” DFLers whose hard left “all government, all the time” agenda is revealing itself in grotesque detail.

Sanctuary_State_CA.jpgTake the recent introduction by Senator Franzen of a bill to make Minnesota a “sanctuary state” that forbids cooperation and information sharing by local law enforcement with Federal Immigration authorities. This is a major step down the road to the complete corruption of our electoral system. As more illegal aliens, or “undocumented immigrants” if you will, take fuller advantage of the open door that Senator Franzen intends to provide them, the voter fraud machine that DFL Secretary of State Steve Simon is desperately trying to hide from the courts, will soon have them registered and voting for more DFLers. Not to mention the drastic increases in narcotics trafficking, street crime and social spending that California and other sanctuaries have already come to regret.

pills-in_hand.jpgAnd in the Minnesota House, not to be outdone, on March 7th Representative Heather Edelson from 49A introduced a bill to provide for “End-of-Life” options, or Assisted Suicide for the rest of us unwashed rabble. Almost immediately Representative Steve Elkins from 49B jumped aboard as a co-sponsor. This nasty little intrusion into the privacy of your relationship with your doctor commands him or her to inform you of the opportunity you have to commit suicide, when faced with a prognosis that they estimate will leave you 6 months or less to live. Your doctor must offer you the service of writing you a prescription for a lethal dose of something, and leaving it up to you to either take it or not. And, if your doctor has any qualms about obeying this commandment, he must refer you to another practitioner, who may be any medical professional from a surgeon to a licensed practical nurse, who has no such scruples.

Watching all of this, it’s hard not to put it all together with events on the wider screen of developments in the battles at the other end of human life, in places like New York and Virginia. The unspeakable horror of watching the New York State Senate burst into cheers and wild celebrations at the passage of a law to authorize the murder of a born child rings in our ears like a scream in the night. The ghastly tone of arid detachment that the Governor of the State of Virginia used, standing before the news media, to describe how he would deliver a living baby and then calmly confer with the parents to consider its cold-blooded murder, with all of the emotional feeling of a discussion about treating a sprained ankle.

Make no mistake about it, when “Progressives” get into the issues of immigration and the beginning and ending of human life, they are truly playing God! There are real human lives at stake, with real possible futures to be lived or thrown away. And "DFL Progressives" do it with a level of intellectual detachment and banal routine that should send a chill down the spine of anyone with even a passing acquaintance with history.

Melisa Franzen's Recreational Marijuana Bill Goes to Pot

49Franzen.jpgSD49 State Senator Melisa Franzen saw her bill to legalize recreational marijuana rejected by the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee in a 6-3 vote. Franzen was the chief sponsor of the bill, and has been the leading voice in favor of legalizing the recreational use of marijuana in the Minnesota Senate.

Franzen’s bill was defeated after a public hearing in which opponents of legalization expressed concerns about people driving under the influence and potential for increased access to marijuana among minors.

In a notable display of poor consensus-building skills, Franzen was not able to convince a single Republican to support her bill in committee. Even the Republican co-sponsor of Franzen’s bill, Sen. Scott Jensen of Chaska, distanced himself from Franzen’s bill, commenting at the hearing that he decided he would vote against the legislation.

The defeat of the bill in committee effectively kills consideration of Franzen’s bill in the Senate.

Franzen has made herself a high-visibility spokesperson for legalization of recreational marijuana, although on her campaign website she never mentions marijuana legalization in her section on “Priority Issues.” Why she believes SD49 voters want her to make marijuana legalization her top priority even though she didn’t campaign on it is not clear.

Melisa Franzen on High Taxes: Maybe She Thinks If We’re All High, We Won’t Notice . . .

When she’s not busy promoting legalized pot in Minnesota, Sen. Franzen is letting us all know that high taxes are good. In a recent Alpha News story  “Edina Democrat Melisa Franzen Defends High Taxes In Minnesota,” Sen. Franzen is quoted as saying “They [Minnesotans] know what they’re getting in return with the investments that we make in our roads and bridges and education and workforce.”

Economist John Phelan notes in the article that despite our high taxes which Franzen justifies for roads and bridges, just last fall the American Society of Civil Engineers gave Minnesota a D+ when it comes to road conditions. Phelan concludes “The idea that Minnesotans get value for their high taxes is an article of faith in the state. Sadly, it isn’t supported by the evidence.”

Ironically for Franzen, she serves on the Senate Transportation Finance and Policy committee.


One Expensive Minnesota: Gov. Walz Budget

One_Expensive_Minnesota.jpgThe state budget unveiled by Gov. Walz last week is better described as a blueprint for “One Expensive Minnesota.”

Steve Elkins, DFL representative in SD49 has written, “the Governor’s budget broadly focuses on driving down high health care costs, improving education overall, and ensuring community prosperity.” In fact, it raises the cost of gas, health care, and many of the other goods and services Minnesotans rely on.

In total, it raises taxes by more than $3 billion over the next two years at a time when Minnesota has a $1.5 billion budget surplus.

GasTax_Raise_Your_Nozzle_One_Expensive_MN.jpgGov. Walz is proposing a massive 70% increase in the gas tax. Rep. Elkins describes this hike as a “modest gasoline tax.” In fact, Minnesota’s gas tax would vault the state from #26 to #4 in the size of its gas tax. This regressive tax hits low and middle-income families hardest, and will increase the cost of food, clothing, other goods and services as well.

Gov. Walz’ budget will make life more expensive for all Minnesota families.

Billion Dollar Health Care Tax Hike: Gov. Walz is proposing to reinstate the "provider tax" (actually a "sick tax" since it's a fee added to each patient's bill) which would add more than a billion dollars to the cost of health care over the next two years. You don't lower health care costs by increasing health care taxes.

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Progressive Economics?

Crowned_chess_piece_pawns_pexels-photo-260024.jpegAs we begin to see Democrats, one after another, announce themselves as candidates for the endorsement of their party for the Presidency in 2020, we can’t help but recognize an emerging pattern: every one is a self-described "Progressive", or even a "Social Democrat" (whatever sort of hybrid creature that might be?). They incessantly rail against the supposedly awful bureaucratic roll-backs and the 2017 tax cut package as a "give away to the rich". In spite of the fact that these measures accelerated a slow-walked recovery from the 2007 recession, and brought unemployment rates to historic lows. In fact, Democrats seem most painfully offended by the idea that the primary beneficiaries might be the very "protected" groups that they’ve been "helping" for all these decades.

This being the case, what sort of economics can we expect from them should they succeed, and what are the likely effects? Well, they’re already loudly proclaiming exactly what they expect to do. They’re telling us that they’ll remake the world to reduce greenhouse gases, drastically increase income tax rates on anybody who has dared to be too successful, as well as any enterprise that threatens to grow too rapidly. They’re telling us in plain English that they’ll reinstate and multiply every regulation and bureaucratic hinderance to any enterprise that dares to attempt even the slightest innovation. And then they’re telling us that they’ll increase the Federal minimum wage to levels that are completely unrelated to any measure of productivity. In other words, we’re headed right back into the slow growth, low opportunity, high unemployment dirge of the Obama Administration.

If one is prone to be charitable, we might just conclude that "Progressives" just don’t get it. That they’re nice people who are just stunningly inept when it comes to comprehending an economy of the scale, complexity and dynamism as ours.

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Move Forward with Enbridge Line 3 Pipeline

For_Newsletter_Line-3-pipeline-Enbridge.jpgLast week, the Minnesota Court of Appeals dismissed an appeal by the Minnesota Department of Commerce, which could have halted progress with the Enbridge Line 3 Pipeline. On February 8, Members from the Minnesota House and Senate, on both side of the aisle, sent a letter to Governor Walz. The letter urged him to support the project to replace the Enbridge Line 3 Pipeline, a project that is the best interests of Minnesota. Governor Walz is scheduled to announce his decision Feb. 12.

The existing pipeline is corroding and in need of replacement. The new Line 3 will comprise the newest and most advanced pipeline technology—and provide much needed incremental capacity to support Canadian crude oil production growth, and U.S. and Canadian refinery demand. Last September, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (MPUC) voted unanimously in favor of issuing a certificate of need for the project.

Why isn’t it proceeding? Last December, the Minnesota Department of Commerce asked a state appeals court to reconsider the MPUC's decision. The appeal was filed in the final days of Gov. Mark Dayton's administration.

The project has gone through more than three-and-a-half years of review and evaluation by state and federal experts. It has been debated at 65 public meetings held by state agencies. The Administrative Law Judge held three weeks of evidentiary hearings. Tens of thousands submitted public comments.

According to reports, Walz is looking into whether his administration should continue the legal challenge. He now has until February 12 to decide whether to file a petition for reconsideration with the PUC, the first formal step toward a new appeal. If the Governor does nothing by February 12, the Department of Commerce's involvement in legal challenges to the Line 3 project would end.
If he elects to continue, he will be jeopardizing millions in revenue and thousands of jobs. He will be bending to the demands of environmental groups and ignoring the support of Minnesota union workers. We agree with the bipartisan signers from the Minnesota House and Senate: Gov Walz should let the project continue!

Development in Edina and Poverty

By Lew Coffey and Dennis Withers

France_Ave_7200_7250_ows_154411328980089.jpgAccording to his lecture at the December 4th meeting, Councilman Kevin Staunton of Edina is really sure that Edinians have been too successful in life. So successful in fact, that they are morally obligated to part with some unknown portion of that success, to be decided by their betters on the Council of course, to finance “Affordable Housing” to benefit “The Poor”.

In fact, he is so certain of his virtuous instincts, when it comes to dispensing the product of other peoples’ labors, that if you don’t whole heartedly agree with him, he’d be perfectly fine just taking it from you by force and dispensing it according to his own enlightened sensibilities.

But wait a second here! Who exactly are “The Poor”? Are they really the downtrodden and destitute victims of an unfairly ravenous and greed-driven free enterprise system that the Socialist stereotypes would have us believe? Or might a closer look reveal some other facts that the likes of Councilman Staunton would just as soon nobody talk about.

To this point, one of our neighbors from Edina, Dennis Withers, has done some serious digging among the facts of “Poverty in America”, and not surprisingly come up with some very interesting and stereotype-busting statistics that put an entirely different light on “The Poor” and the moral obligation that Councilman Staunton would like to inflict on his neighbors.

What’s the Truth About Poverty?

It’s frequently suggested, by politicians selling programs and supportive news reports, that America has made no progress at all in the ‘War on Poverty’ since the 1960s. Headlines claim “one in eight” Americans live in poverty. Has America’s welfare safety net failed? The truth is: It depends on how you define poverty.

The answer to this is very important in Minnesota, as politicians add to welfare programs and in Edina extensive development adds significantly to the Affordable Housing part of the welfare net. Again, the truth depends on how you define poverty. Do you define it by Household Income or by Household Consumption?

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Observations on the 2018 Elections

Election_Map_small.jpgJeff Johnson noted at the end of his campaign, "I'm proud of the race we ran. The 1.1 million votes we received were more than any governor candidate in Minnesota history - except Tim Walz. That number would have been enough to win in any other year, but the turnout for Democrats, particularly in the metro, was overwhelming."

The 2018 election in Minnesota ended with a DFL win for more than just the governor. With the exception of Attorney General-elect Keith Ellison, the DFL statewide candidates won by larger than expected margins. This was driven by a number of factors. A huge 64% of Minnesota voters went to the polls in a non-presidential election year. Early voting was up three times over the last election.

     Illustration edited from MN Secretary of State election maps, found here

Perhaps most importantly, there was a large voter turnout in the core cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, but also a strong showing in the Third Congressional District. Precincts in CD5 composed of UofM housing had 85-100% voter turn-out on election day. Many took advantage of same day registration. 80% voted DFL down the ticket. The Twin Cities campus population is 90,000 alone.

The importance of the metro area vote can be illustrated in the governor race. The DFL ticket of Walz/Flanagan won by almost 300,000 votes statewide. In CD5, they won by over 200,000 votes. They also won in CDs 1, 2, 3, and 4 and came very close to winning in CD8. Johnson/Bergstrom needed to run up the score in CD8 (they won it by just under 5,700 votes) and limit the damage in CD5. Neither of these happened. Further, a big margin for Walz/Flanagan in CD3 (almost 44,000 votes) all but neutralized the GOP-heavy CD6 returns.

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