SILLY DFL BILLS FOR 2007
Crazy new laws -- glass bottle police, baby inspectors, sex ed for kindergarten kids, seat belts on shopping carts, global warming hysteria, government paid aerobics instructors, rationing of medicine. Who elected these idiots?
The 2007 legislative session is proving to be one of the silliest years for legislation in Minnesota history.
SILLY DFL BILLS FROM 2007
(Compiled from various sources)
(1) SEX ED FOR KINDERGARTEN -- Rep. Maria Ruud (DFL-Minnetonka) and Rep. Neva Walker (DFL-Minneapolis) would authorize school districts to provide students in K-12 with “age-appropriate materials that address varied societal views on sexuality, sexual behaviors, pregnancy, and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, in an age-appropriate manner.” The bill would require such instruction for grades 7-12. (House File 615)
(2) VACCINATE PRE-TEENS AGAINST SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASES -- Rep. Phyllis Kahn (DFL-Minneapolis) would require your pre-teen daughters to be vaccinated against certain sexually transmitted diseases. All girls would be vaccinated, whether or not they are sexually active and parental permission would not be required. If a girl fails to get the vaccine, she can actually be barred from attending school. Rep. Maria Ruud (DFL-Minnetonka) was an original author of this bill but bowed to public pressure and withdrew her name (Mpls Star-Tribune 2-28-07). (House File 530)
Vaccine: The Facts
Lopes and Christopher M. Dolan, Washington
• The drug costs $360 per child and requires three painful injections administered
over a six month period. It protects against two rare strains of HPV (a virus
which has been linked to cervical cancer in women).
• The drug is not safe. According
to Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes
government corruption, there have been 1,637 adverse reactions to the vaccine
and even three deaths.
• Only girls will be forced to comply. There is no similar requirement
for boys to get immunized (even though they carry 50% of the viruses).
• The virus has a 20-year incubation period before becoming cervical cancer.
In other words, if a woman gets cervical cancer at age 50, she probably contracted
the disease at age 30.
• We are vaccinating the wrong people. More than 70 percent of cervical
cancer patients are older than 40 (which means they did not get the virus until
they were at least in their 20's). But vaccine only has a five-year protection
window. Vaccinating an 11-year-old girl will only protect her until
she is 16.
• The legislation does not address the need for booster inoculations every
• Merck -- the company that is lobbying your legislature to make this drug
mandatory -- will make $2 billion to $4 billion off the drug in 2007 alone.
(3) PROVIDING “EMOTIONAL AND SOCIAL WELL-BEING” -- Rep. Tom Tillberry (DFL-Fridley) offered a bill with a blank check for school districts to hire people to provide for the “emotional and social well-being” of students. The blank appropriation would pay for more school counselors, social workers, psychologists, nurses, and other “licensed student services personnel.” (House File 808)
(4) MAMA NEEDS A NEW PAIR OF SHOES! -- Rep. Jeremy Kalin (DFL-Lindstrom) wants the state to spend $1 million for parking lots to serve a bus line between St. Paul and the Hinckley casino. (House File 386). Rep. Al Doty (DFL-Royalton) wants the state to sponsor lottery games to benefit ballet, opera, and old houses. (House File 819). Rep. Phyllis Kahn (DFL-Minneapolis) wants to require the State Fair to allow lottery tickets to be sold on the grounds. (House File 1055). Rep. Paul Thissen (DFL-Minneapolis) would expand the state lottery system to include gambling games for local parks. (House File 67).
(5) HELLO! MY NAME IS BAMBI! I AM YOUR STATE-FUNDED AEROBICS TEACHER -- Rep. Maria Ruud (DFL-Minnetonka) and Rep. Bev Scalze (DFL-Little Canada) want to authorize cities to provide their city employees with “staff, equipment, and facilities” for “preventive health and employee recognition services.” Some municipal employees may find new value in the old advice from aerobics instructors: “And don’t forget to breathe.” (House File 905)
(6) RAISE MINIMUM WAGE BY 50 PERCENT AND PUT IT ON AUTO-PILOT -- Rep. Tom Rukavina (DFL-Virginia) would raise the minimum wage by 50% and put annual increases on auto-pilot indexing based on urban pay scales, even if the unemployment rate suddenly skyrockets. Many studies have shown that raising the minimum wage does little to help the poor and it unfairly puts the squeeze on teenage workers (who make up the majority of the minimum wage workforce). (House File 456)
(7) THE "FREEDOM TO POOP" ACT -- Rep. Maria Ruud (DFL-Minnetonka) and Rep. Erin Murphy (DFL-St. Paul) want to fine firms and employees $100 if they do not let a customer use the firms’ non-public restroom if the customer has any “medical condition that requires immediate access to a toilet facility.” This has been called the “irritable bowel syndrome bill,” but it could apply to more common conditions of urgency. (House File 1015)
Joe Soucheray: "For it has been estimated that perhaps 35,000 Minnesotans have a medical condition that requires them to suddenly seek a facility while there are 5 million of us or so who need, say, highways. I keep a list of candidate grilling questions by the door. When an aspirant comes knocking, I run down the list, ready to dismiss them at the first false start, but it has never occurred to me to weed them out by asking them where they stood when it comes to the right of the public to use restrooms traditionally off-limits to the public." See entire article reprinted below.
(8) CRIMINAL POSSESSION OF KETCHUP -- Rep. Andy Welti (DFL-Plainview) has introduced a bill to impose severe criminal penalties if you “carry, use, or possess” a glass container on a watercraft or along Minnesota’s public waters. You could get 270 days in jail if you have a picnic on the lake and bring glass bottles of ketchup, mustard, and relish. If you have a six-pack of Buddy’s Cola from New Ulm on your pontoon boat, you would face 540 days behind bars, because each bottle would be a separate offense under the precise language of the bill. If you bring a jar of cold cream when you go sunbathing, you could do 90 days for that misdemeanor. Rep. Welti said he introduced the bill as an anti-littering proposal, but his bill outlaws mere “possession” of the deadly glass containers. (House File 522)
(9) KNOCK, KNOCK! THE BABY INSPECTORS ARE HERE -- Rep. Maria Ruud (DFL-Minnetonka) and Rep. Carolyn Laine (DFL-Columbia Heights) would require government investigators to visit every new mother in the hospital or at home to inquire whether they know about all the requirements of a new mother and all the programs that government offers on such topics as WIC, child abuse, and immunizations. (House File 595). Ruud has authored another bill which would give local government the authority to visit your home to make sure you are educating your toddler correctly. (House File 302)
(10) WE'VE SQUANDERED THE SURPLUS, NOW WE WANT THE REST OF YOUR MONEY -- Rep. Mindy Greiling (DFL-Roseville) wants to hit Minnesota families with a $1 billion income tax hike. (House File 1738). You passed a the transit amendment in 2006, but Rep. Melissa Hortman (DFL-Brooklyn Park) says it is not enough -- she wants an additional 0.5 cent hike in the metro sales tax to bail out the failing Hiawatha rail line. (House File 1463).
(11) THE DREADED SCOURGE OF LIGHT POLLUTION -- Rep. Phyllis Kahn (DFL-Minneapolis) would force sports fields in every park and at every school to put up shields to block any direct sight of any lights and end "light pollution." (House File 446)
(12) LEGISLATING THE WEATHER -- Rep. Maria Ruud (DFL-Minnetonka) wants to commit Minnesotans to a lower standard of living, fewer jobs, and higher costs -- all of this in order to save the planet from evil Global Warming. Many climatologists, however, say the current hysteria over global warming is vastly overblown. And, according to a Heritage Institute study, the costs of making the DFL's proposed changes are real and quantifiable -- a state expense of $4.2 billion per year, 30 thousand lost jobs, $1.6 billion in lost wages, and a significant drop in agricultural output. (House File 375).
(13) FIVE MILLION DOLLARS TO GROW MOSS ON THE ROOF -- Rep. Jim Davnie (DFL-Minneapolis) wants $5 million to give grants to local governments to build windmills and put gardens on the roofs of government buildings. (House File 1874)
(14) SEAT BELTS FOR SHOPPING CARTS -- Rep. Mike Jaros (DFL-Duluth) has proposed a requirement that every shopping cart in Minnesota must be equipped with “a strap, device, or piece of equipment designed, using reasonable engineering standards, to prevent a child from falling out of a shipping cart. Sadly, this meaningful bill does not include penalties for failure to provide helmets and fire-proof suits for riders. (House File 620)
(15) DON’T GET SICK IN MINNESOTA -- Rep. Maria Ruud (DFL-Minnetonka) and Rep. Phyllis Kahn (DFL-Minneapolis) propose a constitutional amendment to guarantee health as a right and to authorize rationing of health care resources. (House File 159) Rep. Tom Huntley (DFL-Duluth) has proposed a constitutional amendment. It would state: “Every Minnesota resident has the right to health care. It is the responsibility of the governor and the legislature to implement all necessary legislation to ensure affordable health care.” (House File 683)
(16) YOUR HEALTH INSURANCE IS GOING UP AGAIN -- Rep. Maria Ruud (DFL-Minnetonka) wants to raise everyone's healthcare premiums to provide foreign language interpreters for each patient in the state. (House File 1077), new "mental health" coverage (House File 1578), and colorectal screening (House File 1287). Rep. Cy Thao (DFL-St. Paul) wants to raise everyone’s health insurance costs by requiring every insurance policy to cover amino-based coverage for maple syrup urine disease, milk intolerance, reflux disease, and other conditions (House File 529). Thao also wants to pay for a group of at least 18 members to study whether interpreters should be provided for dentists (House File 1831).
Healthcare Mandates By State
|Source: Council for Affordable Health Insurance
#1 in Health Care Mandates, #1 in Health Care Costs
With Minnesota healthcare, you do not have a choice in health care coverage. Minnesota now has more health insurance mandates than any other state. Health coverage in Minnesota must now include everything from hearing aids to chiropractic care to hairpieces.
Every time your legislators add a health care mandate to your insurance bill, they make health care LESS affordable for you or your employer.
Republicans believe that Minnesotans need choice in health care coverage. They believe the free market is the best way to hold down costs and offer people the greatest opportunity to select the health care coverage they want and need.
But the DFL wants to go the other way. They want to eliminate the free market and have the government totally take over our healthcare system. But will that really bring down costs?
Find out more on how your legislature can help control health care costs.
(17) YOUR MEDICAL RECORDS ONLINE? -- Minnesota's medical privacy laws are among the strongest in the nation. Rep. Paul Thissen (DFL-Minneapolis) wants to change all that. If this bill passes, government, health plans, and employers who insure you will get full access to your medical records. A central registry will be created which can be accessed by the MN Department of Health. It will also authorize every health care institution, every hospital and clinic, and employers that insure you to reveal the location of ALL your medical records without your consent. In committee, Maria Ruud (DFL-Minnetonka) voted AGAINST requiring patient consent. The location of your (formerly) private medical records will be sent to a central registry. (House File 1726)
(18) YOU SHOULD PAY FOR THE XCEL CENTER -- The City of St. Paul took out huge loans to build the Xcel Energy Center and the adjoining RiverCentre convention complex. The facilities are underutilized. The city wants to spend money on other things now. Rep. Alice Hausman (DFL-St. Paul) wants the Legislature to forgive the rest of the $65 million owed to the state on the Xcel arena and the $43 million owed to the state on the convention center (Total bill to the taxpayers: $108 million). (House Files 859 and 860)
(19) YOU SHOULD PAY FOR THE TARGET CENTER, TOO -- Rep. Jim Davnie (DFL-Minneapolis) wants state taxpayers to give Minneapolis $71 million to pay off the Target Center bonds so the city can spend the same amount on other programs. Too bad this isn't automatically covered under something like per diem, that way it wouldn't even show up on our radar. (House File 1269)
(20) FREE EDUCATION TO TREAT CULTURAL MINORITIES -- Rep. Maria Ruud (DFL-Minnetonka) and Rep. Neva Walker (DFL-Minneapolis) want taxpayers to forgive college costs for people who provide mental health services to clients from cultural or ethnic minorities through a non-profit organization for three years. (House File 575)
(21) WHAT PART OF "ILLEGAL" IS UNCLEAR? -- Democrats are famous for claiming that we do not have enough money for education. But now they want to siphon off even more funds to support people who do not deserve it. Rep. Debra Hilstrom (DFL-Brooklyn Center) has proposed giving in-state college tuition to illegal aliens who file a paper saying they are applying to legalize their immigration status. The same bill would scrap reciprocity agreements for students from Wisconsin or other states that give students a lower tuition rate. Welcome, Illegal aliens -- Badgers go home! (House File 682) Rep. Carlos Mariani (DFL-St. Paul) is authoring the DREAM Act ("DREAM" stands for "Development, Relief and Education for Illegal Alien Minors"). This law provides an even easier route for illegal aliens to get in-state tuition than under Rep. Hilstrom’s House File 682. Under Rep. Mariani’s version, illegal aliens would get discount tuition if they've spent three years in a Minnesota high school, earned a GED, and promised to file to become resident aliens at their earliest possible opportunity. In other words, if they have managed to break U.S. law for at least three years without getting caught, the Minnesota DFL wants to reward them with tax supported in-state tuition. NOTE: Rep. Maria Ruud voted YES on this bill. (House File 722). Rep. Diane Loeffler (DFL-Minneapolis) wants to totally eliminate in-state tuition advantages for Minnesota citizens at MnSCU colleges and universities. (House File 1032)
(22) ALLOW NON-CITIZENS TO VOTE -- Rep. Phyllis Kahn (DFL-Minneapolis) wants to amend the Minnesota Constitution to allow local governments to allow non-citizens to vote in local elections if they have lived in the community for 30 days. (House File 1899)
(23) CASH BONUSES FOR LOW-INCOME ILLEGAL ALIENS -- Rep. Steve Simon (DFL-St. Louis Park) wants to give cash bonuses to illegal aliens. The bill would create a tax credit for English classes, citizenship classes, and application fees. If an alien’s tax bill is lower than the cost of these expenses, the bill would give the balance of the credit to the aliens in cash. (House File 747)
(24) MAKE NON-RESIDENT VOTING EASIER, CHALLENGES HARDER -- To make Election Day registration easier in college precincts, Rep. Bill Hilty (Finlayson) wants to require all private colleges and an expanded list of public colleges to make centralized reports to the Minnesota Secretary of State for the names and addresses of all students living in the county. Previously, the lists only had to include students living within ten miles of the campus. The list of documents that would allow same-day registration would be expanded beyond a driver's license or state ID card to any photo ID and some other verifying document. But people who want to challenge someone on same-day registration would be required to take an oath and provide ID to show they are a resident of the state. (House File 1223)
(25) I'VE NEVER BEEN TO MINNESOTA, BUT I WILL VOTE -- Rep. Jeremy Kalin (DFL-Lindstrom) wants to give people the right to vote in Minnesota who have never lived inside the territorial United States and have never been in Minnesota if their parents are eligible to vote in Minnesota. All that is required is a passport. (House File 1259)
(26) DRAW ME A PICTURE OF HOW TO TAKE OVER YOUR COUNTRY -- Rep. Steve Simon (DFL-St. Louis Park) wants election precincts to provide pictures of how to vote, along with Election Day registration materials, absentee ballot information, and big posters in foreign languages to get more “citizens” (ie. illegal aliens) to vote. (House File 1827)
(27) SPEED TRAPS FOR EVERY COMMUNITY -- Rep. Larry Hosch (DFL-St. Joseph) wants to authorize every community to replace state-wide tickets for speeding, stop signs, traffic lights, and lights on a vehicle with local administrative citations, with all fines going to the speed trap’s community. (House File 847)
(28) “ROBOT COP” CAMERAS TO ENFORCE LAW -- Rep. Paul Thissen (DFL-Minneapolis) wants to authorize “robo-cameras” to send tickets to owners of vehicles, who will be presumed to be the guilty drivers unless they can prove otherwise. (House File 1058)
(29) HOW ABOUT A STAR AND SICKLE? -- Because Minnesota's flag isn't good enough, we need A TASK FORCE (when a committee just won't do, it's a task force for you!) Rep. Tina Liebling (DFL-Rochester) and -- who else? -- Rep. Phyllis Kahn (DFL-Minneapolis) want to finance six legislators and whatever persons "who have either technical or artistic skill in flag construction and design" to "study the form, style, and design of the state flag and suggest any desired changes." (House File 1385)
(30) SHOOT YOUR CAR -- Rep. Maria Ruud (DFL-Minnetonka) and Rep. Melissa Hortman (DFL-Brooklyn Park) want to make it the state’s transportation policy to have “the least possible adverse impact on the environment.” That means no cars for you. (House File 639).
(31) THESE TAXES COULD DRIVE YOU TO DRINK -- Rep. Michael Paymar (DFL-St. Paul) wants to increase excise taxes by up to more than eight times current tax rates for most alcoholic beverages. (House File 1050)
(32) THE ANTS AND THE GRASSHOPPERS -- Rep. Scott Kranz (DFL-Blaine) wants to raise taxes on homeowners’ deeds by 66%. He would then take that money to subsidize the rents of non-homeowners and to build houses or rental units for other people. (House File 939)
(33) WORKING PEOPLE GET THE GAS, AGAIN -- Rep. David Bly (DFL-Northfield) wants working people to cover the costs of discounts on natural gas for low-income people. (House File 1645)
(34) UNCLE RALPH IS TOO FAT, BRING IN THE HOIST -- Rep. Maria Ruud (DFL-Minnetonka) and Rep. Patti Fritz (DFL-Faribault) would require every hospital, clinic, nursing home and medical facility to ban employees from lifting or assisting patients to their feet. Instead they would have to purchase hoists, “engineering controls, lifting and transfer aids, or mechanical assistive devices.” Employees could lift patients in an emergency.” (House File 712)
(35) SHOULDN'T ALL OF THE TOWNS BE PROSTITUTE-FREE ZONES? -- Rep.Karen Clark (DFL-Minneapolis) wants to declare parts of Minneapolis and St. Paul to be "prostitution-free zones" and "drug-pusher free zones." The bill focuses on bus stops, child care centers, and crisis nurseries. As is traditional, the Minneapolis legislator would give 60% of the enforcement funds to Minneapolis, and 40% to Saint Paul. Perhaps color coded paint on the curbs would simplify things for twin city sex and dope shoppers. (House File 1213)
(36) AT THREE YEARS OLD, TEST FOR KINDERGARTEN -- Rep. David Bly (DFL-Northfield) wants to test parents of children from birth to age three to see that their three-year-old children will be ready for kindergarten. (House File 585)
(37) HOW DOES ONE SHAVE A YAK? -- Rep. David Bly (DFL-Northfield) wants to give $125,000 to provide research on what “alternative livestock” could eat grass in Minnesota. (House File 845)
(38) WHAT PART OF “VOLUNTEER” IS UNCLEAR? -- Rep. Tom Tillberry (DFL-Fridley) wants a $2,400 tax break for parents who volunteer at their children’s schools. (House File 477)
(39) GIVE KIDS FREE BUS RIDES SO THEY CAN EXERCISE -- Rep. John Lesch (DFL-St. Paul) wants $1.4 million to provide St. Paul children a free system of vans, buses, or "circulators" to carry them to local parks, recreation centers, or ballparks on Saturdays and after school so they can exercise. (House File 1275)
(40) THIS IS A BALL. THIS IS A BAT. THAT WILL BE $400,000 -- Rep.Erin Murphy (DFL-St. Paul) wants $400,000 to provide more education to parks, recreational, and library staff who interact with children and families. The goal is to increase their skills "in how to incorporate age appropriate skill building and intentional learning opportunities into existing programming offered by the city." (House File 1276)
(41) THERE IS A REC CENTER NEAR YOU. THAT WILL BE $250,000 -- Rep.Carlos Mariani (DFL-St. Paul) wants a quarter of a million dollars to tell St. Paul residents that there are youth programs available at recreation centers. (House File 1277)
(42) I THOUGHT THAT WAS THE LEGISLATURE’S JOB -- Rep. Maria Ruud (DFL-Minnetonka) and Rep. David Bly (DFL-Northfield) want to create a study by bureaucrats to identify all the legislation necessary to “develop a strategy to obtain the maximum economic benefit for the state and its citizens from the renewable energy activities.” (House File 660).
(43) I’LL BUY THAT CAR FOR $40 MILLION -- Rep. Frank Hornstein (DFL-Minneapolis) would give you a tax credit for buying an “alternative fuel” car. If you don’t owe any Minnesota income taxes, the state will pay you the 10% as a cash refund. The bill has no limit on the 10% credit, the refund, the price of the car, or how long you own it. (House File 1002)
(44) TENTH GRADE WAS THE BEST SIX YEARS OF MY LIFE -- Rep. Jim Davnie (DFL-Minneapolis) wants to raise the age of eligibility to 23 for students to continue in the “graduation incentives program” to finish high school. (House File 987)
(45) $4 MILLION FOR A VOLLEYBALL COURT -- Rep. Kim Norton (DFL-Rochester) wants $4 million of bonds for a volleyball facility in Rochester. (House File 624)
(46) SHOULD WE BURN THOSE ILLEGAL CIGARETTES? -- Under current law, the government may sell seized contraband cigarettes at auction after they are used as evidence at trial. Rep. Joe Atkins (DFL-Inver Grove Heights) wants to destroy them instead. (House File 1439)
(47) MAYBE WE CAN BURN ILLEGAL CIGARETTES TO STAY WARM? -- Rep Maria Ruud (DFL-Minnetonka) helped push through massive price hikes for electricity by mandating windmills and “renewable energy”. At the same time, the DFL voted AGAINST an amendment by Rep. Peppin that would have removed Minnesota’s moratorium on even considering adding more nuclear power. Minnesota is the only state with such a moratorium. (House File 4). Rep. Alice Hausman (DFL-St. Paul) chose the middle of winter to announce a plan to close one of the state’s largest electrical power sources, the nuclear power plant at Monticello. They're all lining up to snuggle with Alice to stay warm. (House File 1513). Rep. Sheldon Johnson (DFL-St. Paul) offered a plan to make the State of Minnesota a "carbon neutral" form of government. Wait -- aren't Democrats a carbon-based life form? (House File 1377).
(48) CIGARETTES ARE EVIL, BUT POT IS OK -- Rep. Tom Huntley (DFL-Duluth) has the marijuana bill. If you convince your doctor that you have severe or chronic pain, you could get a license to grow 12 marijuana plants while holding 2.5 ounces of marijuana leaves and any amount of stems and other parts or prior plants. If the police seize your plants, the state will reimburse you for the fair market value of the seized materials, even if your costs were lower than street value. (House File 655).
(49) BUT WHAT IF IT WAS MEDICAL MARIJUANA? -- Rep. Phyllis Kahn (DFL-Minneapolis) wants to raise the cost of being accused of smoking in a no-smoking hotel room. A person accused of smoking in such a room would face a $100 fine, $500 in attorney fees, a $30 service fee, and the full cost of “restoring the damaged room to its previolation condition.” Further interest on the cost begins to run, even if the accused does not receive notice of the violation. (House File 1825)
(50) WHY NOT A TOTAL BAN? -- Rep. Kim Norton (DFL-Rochester) wants to ban smoking in the open air if it is within 50 feet of a doorway. (House File 2118)
(51) SEND IN THE CLONES -- Rep. Frank Moe (DFL-Bemidji) wants to protect us from genetically-engineered forms of wild rice. (House File 1663). But Rep. Phyllis Kahn (DFL-Minneapolis) and Rep. Maria Ruud (DFL-Minnetonka) would allow human cloning for research and harvesting of cells and organs through the stages of egg, embryo, and fetus. They would not allow human clones to reach the newborn stage . . . yet. (House File 34)
(52) REQUIRING FAMILY INVOLVEMENT IN SCHOOLS -- Rep. Kim Norton (DFL-Rochester) wants a new law that requires school boards to write a policy that “ensures” that “parents and caregivers play an integral role in assisting student learning.” (House File 990)
(53) HERE IS A BONUS FOR HAVING YOUR CAR STOLEN -- Rep. Michael Paymar (DFL-St. Paul) wants taxpayers to give you a $500 bonus if your insured car is stolen. (House File 425)
(54) REPLACE LITTLE LEAGUE WITH LANGUAGE CLASSES -- Forget about that summer family vacation! Rep. Loren Solberg (DFL-Grand Rapids) would require six weeks of summer school for students in grades 1-4 to learn a foreign language. (House File 623)
(55) ILLEGAL POSSESSION OF FIREWOOD -- In the Big North Woods, you would not be allowed to possess firewood unless it was a kind approved by state commissioners, under a bill offered by Rep. Rick Hansen (DFL-South St. Paul). This bill is about concerns that firewood from the Hurricane Katrina region could contaminate Minnesota forests. (House File 1016)
(56) DEMOLITION CAN BE HEALTHY AND SAFE -- Rep. Brita Sailer (DFL-Park Rapids) wants to allow the Clearbrook-Gonvick school district to use its state funds for “health and safety” programs to pay for demolition of the old Gonvick school building. (House File 831)
(57) WITH DAY-CARE AND PINK-SLIPS FOR ALL -- Rep. Frank Hornstein (DFL-Minneapolis) wants to chase more Minnesota jobs out of the state. He wants to impose tax increases on large employers (“foreign operating corporations”) in order to provide child care subsidies to almost every family in the state. The subsidies would be paid to every family with income of less than 75% of the state median income (almost every family with pre-school children), and pay for it with more taxes on large employers. Do Minnesotans remember working for former resident firms such as Control Data, Tonka, Cray Computers, and Honeywell? We know jobs can and will leave Minnesota. (House File 912)
(58) THE MINNESOTA COMMISSION ON “THE CLUB” -- Rep. Tom Tillberry (DFL-Fridley) wants to create a regulatory structure in the Department of Commerce to register and oversee anti-theft devices on vehicles such as: “the club” or other devices attached to steering wheels; car alarm systems; pedal and ignition locks; fuel and ignition kill switches; and electronic, radio, and satellite tracking devices. (House File 933)
(59) YOU CANNOT CLOSE YOUR BUSINESS -- Rep. Carlos Mariani (DFL-St. Paul) wants to require an unnamed car manufacturer (FORD) to maintain any unnamed car factory (ST.PAUL) in operating condition for at least two years after it closes its doors. Lathes, drills, computers, welding gear, and other equipment could not be moved to other plants for two years. (House File 826)
(60) I WILL TAKE THE JOB TRAINING, UNTIL I WON’T -- Rep. Willie Dominguez (DFL-Minneapolis) wants to prohibit people who are moving from welfare to work from getting job training from unpaid work unless the welfare recipients sign a waiver for the employer. (House File 924)
(61) $2 MILLION FOR WILLMAR INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT -- Rep. Al Juhnke (DFL-Willmar) wants to extend the runway to 6,500 feet. That will give enough take-off space for Air Force One when future U.S. President Dean Johnson flies home to sand off the truth. (House File 823)
(62) NO DEBT FOR THE DEAN JOHNSON INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT -- Rep. Al Juhnke (DFL-Willmar) wants to forgive the debt of the City of Willmar to the State of Minnesota for buying the land to extend the airport runway to 6,500 feet. (House File 824)
(63) $5,000 FOR A BABY-SITTER -- Rep. David Bly (DFL-Northfield) wants to provide $5,000 scholarships and $100 bonuses to people who take care of children up to kindergarten age. The scholarships and one-year completion bonuses would go to “early care and education providers.” (House File 814)
(64) RICH OR POOR, STUDENTS CAN BILL TAXPAYERS FOR TESTS -- Rep. Kim Norton (DFL-Rochester) wants to stick taxpayers with the bill when students take the SAT or ACT tests for college admission. (House File 984)
(65) IS THIS A “MAXIMUM EFFORT” FOR A SCHOOL? -- Rep. Melissa Hortman (DFL-Brooklyn Park) wants to divert $240,000 from the “maximum effort school loan fund” to “develop and restore wetland and native prairie habitat on the land” at an elementary school. (House File 978)
(66) BEAUTIFY MINNESOTA, THEN PAY THE TAXES -- Rep. Phyllis Kahn (DFL-Minneapolis) wants to apply the sales tax to services involving cosmetic surgery “which does not meaningfully promote the proper function of the body or prevent or treat illness or disease.” This includes, but is not limited to: 1) cosmetic surgery; 2) hair transplants; 3) cosmetic injections; 4) cosmetic soft tissue fillers; 5) dermabrasion and chemical peel; 6) laser hair removal; 7) laser skin resurfacing; 8) laser treatment of leg veins; 9) sclerotherapy; and 10) cosmetic dentistry. (House File 1027)
(67) YOU CANNOT DRIVE BY YOURSELF, BUT YOU CAN VOTE -- Rep. Phyllis Kahn wants to expand her earlier efforts (House File 428) and amend the constitution to allow 16-year-olds to vote in all state and local elections. Why does Phyllis insist on discriminating against 15 year olds? (House File 630).
(68) BUSINESSES MUST BECOME "SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE" -- Rep. Bill Hilty (DFL-Finlayson) would change business law to create "socially responsible corporations," into which the Attorney General may intervene for failure to meet social goals. (House File 404)
(69) NO NEED FOR I.D. TO VOTE, BUT MUST SHOW I.D. TO USE CREDIT CARDFL-- Rep. Scott Kranz (DFL-Blaine) would require firms to see a photo I.D. before accepting a credit card. The bill would also allow the Attorney General to go after any business that may have accepted a credit card without I.D., and collect the full cost of the investigation and attorneys fees. (House File 628)
(70) HOW I SPENT YOUR MONEY ON MY SUMMER SESSION -- Rep. Phyllis Kahn (DFL-Minneapolis) wants to eliminate the cap for legislators’ expenses during special sessions. This would be in addition to the 50% raise in their per diem pay and increase in their generous housing allowance that they already passed in January. (House File 227)
Senator Larry Pogemiller (DFL-Minneapolis) needs your help!
Won't you please help this man?
Like most Minnesotans, you probably lay awake wondering how Minnesota's DFL legislators can afford to feed themselves without increasing their expense allowance from $66 per day to $96 per day. But now Craig Westover has started an "Adopt a Senator" campaign.
That's right -- for a contribution of just $30 per day (or about $4,200 per legislative session) you can make sure that your local DFL legislator can afford to eat at the finest restaurants in the Twin Cities. Yes, for the mere cost of a 50-inch high-definition flat panel plasma television, you can rest easy knowing that Maria Ruud and Larry Pogemiller and Phyllis Kahn never again have to make the difficult choice between tap water and Evian.
NOTE: Rep. Maria Ruud was given eight chances to vote down the per diem and housing increases and voted against taxpayers all eight times!
(71) INCREASE THE SUBSIDY FOR POLITICIANS BY SIXTY PERCENT -- How dare you not contribute your tax refund to the state election campaign fund!? Asst. Majority Leader Steve Simon (DFL-Minneapolis) is so concerned about this he wants to add another $750,000 from the general fund (from $1.25 million to $2 million). (House File 1547)
(72) MOVING CONVICTED PERVERTS TO THE SUBURBS -- Rep. John Lesch (DFL-St. Paul) wants to draw stay-away zones in such a way that large concentrations of convicted Level III sex offenders in Minneapolis and St. Paul will have to move to the suburbs. (House File 476)
(73) MOVING SLUMS TO THE SUBURBS AND SMALL TOWNS -- “For the purpose of promoting economic diversity throughout Minnesota and to alleviate the concentration of low-income households in high poverty areas,” Rep. John Lesch (DFL-St. Paul) would create a tax incentive to provide more low-income housing in working-family suburbs and rural communities. (House File 777)
(74) PROTECTING THE WRONG PEOPLE -- Rep. John Lesch (DFL-St. Paul) wants to make it easier for convicts to get jobs, housing, and access to your children. He has offered a bill to make it easier to expunge the vast majority of criminal convictions or deferred dispositions of criminal cases. Minnesota has one of the broadest systems of criminal background checks, which would be crippled by wide-scale access to expungement. Should school bus companies know about DWI convictions? Should landlords know about deferred sentences on operating meth labs? Should day care centers know about the real background of potential employees? (House File 1548)
(75) PUTTING "LGA" ON AUTO-PILOT -- Rep. Kim Norton (DFL-Rochester) would create permanent budget increases for the Local Government Aids (LGA) program which shifts money from all townships and most suburbs to large cities like Minneapolis and Duluth. (House File 1115)
(76) YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO A CLEAVER -- Rep. Rick Hansen (DFL-South St. Paul) would create a statute to define the rights of employees of meatpackers to include the right to written job descriptions, descriptions of salaries, and “adequate time for necessary bathroom breaks.” The bill would also create a new state bureaucracy to guarantee these rights. (House File 643)
(77) YOU'LL FLIP YOUR WIG -- Rep. Frank Hornstein (DFL-Minneapolis) wants to create a new state bureaucracy to regulate "hair transplant facilities." One of the purposes of investigating hair-weave artists is to make sure there is no "conduct which is likely to deceive, defraud, or harm the public." (House File 1069)
(78) THE PIG-TAILS ARE TOO TIGHT ON SOME DEMOCRATS -- Rep. Neva Walker (DFL-Minneapolis) wants to require people who braid hair for payment to go through 30 hours of instruction, and then to register with the state. Oh, and the instruction should be available in foreign languages. (House File 1844)
(79) THE BLIND LEADING THE BLINDS -- Rep. Paul Thissen (DFL-Minneapolis) and Rep. Erin Murphy (DFL-St. Paul) want to finally put an end to a tragedy that is destroying our society. Yes, at long last, the DFL will put the clamps down on “licensed interior designers.” It is high time the DFL liberates us from this heinous menace and regulate the industry responsible for such critical services as wallpaper, carpet, drapes and blinds. (House File 991)
(80) SUCH A DEAL! HE CAN GET IT FOR US AT RETAIL -- Rep. Frank Hornstein (DFL-Minneapolis) wants to block road contractors to lose bids unless they are least 10% below the cost of having the work done by DOT employees. Under the bill, DOT would keep its estimate secret until after private firms had submitted their estimates. So if a private contractor submitted a bid of $900,001 for a contract where the secret DOT bid is $1 million, the Hornstein bill would deny taxpayers a savings of $99,999. (House File 546)
(81) STUDY THE SPONGES -- Rep. Rick Hansen (DFL-South St. Paul) wants you to pay for a state study of the regulation of contractors who use sponges and other anti-microbial devices to get rid of mildew. (House File 402)
(82) WELCOME TO AMERICA! PUT UP YOUR FEET -- Rep. Cy Thao (DFL-St. Paul) wants to waive the work requirements of welfare programs for refugees who are getting funds from various federal programs. (House File 316)
(83) CELEBRATE ON US, FROM WHEREVER YOU COME -- Rep. Mike Jaros (DFL-Duluth) wants taxpayers to write a blank check to create a "Commission on Ethnic Heritage" to celebrate immigration to Minnesota over the centuries. (House File 318)
(84) COME TO AMERICA AND HANG AROUND A HIGH SCHOOL -- Rep. Karen Clark (DFL-Minneapolis) would allow anyone over the age of 23 to enroll in a high school, even if they are not a resident of the school district, a citizen of the United States, or in possession of a diploma. (House File 1176)
(85) BUT WE CANNOT DEPORT MURDERS AND RAPISTS -- Rep. Scott Kranz (DFL-Blaine) would allow Metro governments to require state taxpayers to fund removal of "undesirable" wild animals from the Metro area. (House File 247)
(86) TWO DAYS OF PAID LEAVE FOR BOYFRIENDS -- Rep. Joe Mullery wants to give up to two days of paid leave each year for “significant others” who live in a household with a child to attend school meetings or deal with student-related meetings. (House File 744)
(87) CELEBRATE YOUR KIESTER -- Rep. Rick Hansen (DFL-South St. Paul) wants to create tax check-offs for individuals or corporations to dedicate unlimited portions of their refunds or increase their taxes to pay for the upcoming sesquicentennial parties in Minnesota towns, such as Kiester, MN (population: 569). (House File 1009)
(88) MATCH-MAKING FOR TREE-HUGGERS -- Rep. Debra Hilstrom (DFL-Brooklyn Center) would have taxpayers provide $200 per year of tax credits for planting trees on homesteads. (House File 921)
(89) THE REALLY LONG SNOWMOBILE TRAILER -- Rep. Terry Morrow (DFL-St. Peter) wants to remove the limit on the length of a middle trailer behind recreational vehicles. Currently, there is a 28-foot limit on a trailer that is behind a vehicle and in front of a second trailer. (House File 825)
(90) BUY YOUR LONG EXTENSION CORDS NOW! -- Rep. Kate Knuth (DFL-New Brighton) wants to make the state’s transportation goals to “promote and increase the use of high-occupancy vehicles and low-emissions vehicles” as part of the “social, economic, and environmental impacts” of transportation systems. (House File 827)
(91) SCHOOLS MAY GIVE NATURO-PATHIC MEDICINE -- Rep. Larry Hosch (DFL-St. Joseph) would allow schools to administer physician-prescribed “naturo-pathic medicine, the treatment of disease through the stimulation, enhancement, and support of the inherent healing capacity of the person. Methods of treatments are chosen to work with the patient's vital force, respecting the intelligence of the natural healing process. (House File 748)
(92) KEEPING GOVERNMENT GOING ON AUTO-PILOT -- Rep. Bernie Lieder (DFL-Crookston) wants to take the pressure off the Legislature to get its work done by allowing all state agencies to keep going even if the Legislature does not approve funding for them. (House File 534)
(93) FREE GED FEES FOR THE “PRECARIOUSLY HOUSED” -- Rep. Frank Hornstein (DFL-Minneapolis) would waive the test fee for GED tests for persons who are “precariously housed,” without defining the term. (House File 751)
(94) WILL THERE BE BACKGROUND CHECKS ON THIS? -- Rep. Erin Murphy (DFL-St. Paul) wants to create grants for “family, friends, and neighbors” to gather pre-school children together to read them books. (House File 796)
(95) OUTRAGEOUS LAND GRABS -- Less than a year after Minnesota enacted sweeping Eminent Domain reforms, Rep. Steve Simon (DFL-St. Louis Park) is back with a bill to create permanent "uniform environmental covenants" which would allow the government to freeze or seize land where work is performed to clean up, eliminate, investigate, minimize, mitigate, or prevent the release or threatened release of contaminants affecting real property in order to protect public health or welfare or the environment." The government could apply heavy pressure on small land-owners to sign these covenants or face extensive litigation costs to prevent agency intrusions on their land. (House File 1063)
(96) WINNER TAKES ALL, UNLESS THE DFL IS UNHAPPY -- Rep. Kent Eken (DFL-Twin Valley) has proposed a constitutional amendment to allow the Legislature to decide who is the winner in a race for state-wide offices, judgeships, and the Legislature if the leading candidate gets less than 50% of the vote. (House File 600)
(97) YOUR LEGISLATORS ARE FULL OF MANURE -- Rep. Al Juhnke (DFL-Willmar) wants to create a Fertilizer Research and Education Council, a Fertilizer Education Program, and a set of grants programs about fertilizers. (House File 652)
(98) SEAWEED CONTROL ACT -- Rep. Bev Scalze (DFL-Little Canada) would require all anglers and waterfowl hunters to check a box and promise to remove all aquatic plant material from boats and trailers. There is no enforcement mechanism in the bill. (House File 755)
(99) LET’S GO TO PERKINS -- Rep. Al Doty (DFL-Royalton) wants $500,000 to build a regional community center in Upsala. An alternative would be to give $1,200 to each of the 413 residents of Upsala for pancakes at Perkins. (House File 757)
(100) KEEPING THE NEST FULL FOR SIX MORE YEARS -- Rep. Diane Loeffler (DFL-Minneapolis) wants to raise everyone’s insurance costs by requiring all insurance policies to cover all “dependent children” until age 25 on their parents’ policies. The current law requires coverage only until age 19, unless the “child” up to age 25 is a full-time student. (House File 475)
(101) LENIN IS DEAD, BUT HE IS MAKING A COMEBACK -- Rep. Joe Mullery wants judges to decide what is an “unconscionable” price for any good or service during an “abnormal market disruption” and impose fines of up to $35,000 for each sale at this “unconscionable” price. (House File 740)
(102) CYBER-BULLYING -- Rep. Debra Hilstrom (DFL- Brooklyn Center) wants to require all school districts to adopt written policies against all bullying or intimidation of any students, including all forms of “intimidation and bullying in all forms, including, but not limited to, electronic forms and forms involving Internet use.” (House File 504)
(103) FOUR STEPS AWAY FROM 90 DAYS IN JAIL -- Rep. Joe Atkins (DFL-Inver Grove Heights) would put you in jail for 90 days if you are not "in close attendance to the dispenser nozzle while fuel is being dispensed into a motor vehicle." Because the bill does not define "close attendance," you might face jail for cleaning a windshield or picking up old coffee cups in your car while the pump is running. Is this really a problem that needs criminal punishment in Minnesota? (House File 1299)
(104) WHEN POLITICAL CORRECTNESS TRUMPS A CHILD'S SAFETY -- Rep. Neva Walker (DFL-Minneapolis) wants child welfare agencies to delay action on child maltreatment interventions until they contact "appropriate tribal authorities" if the child is "an Indian child residing or domiciled on a reservation." If the tribal authorities indicate that they do not want to conduct their own investigations, the child welfare agencies may proceed to protect the child. Apparently it's less urgent to protect a child if they are from a protected class. (House File 1286)
(105) THE ULTIMATE "IT'S ALL FOR THE KIDS" BILL -- Rep. Nora Slawik (DFL-Maplewood) has proposed a blank appropriation for the proposition that "it is the public policy of the state to ensure that all children are safe from abuse and neglect, live in permanent and stable homes where they are nurtured, and have the opportunity to reach their full potential. To further this public policy, it is the intent of the legislature to establish a child safety system that has, as its goal, three performance-based standards: child safety, permanency, and well-being. A child safety fund is created to implement, maintain, and provide incentives to counties for the continuous improvement of the child safety system." Bureaucracies and policies will be set up in every county to enforce "the public policy of the state." (House File 1290)
(106) PAUL AND RINGO ARE ALIVE, BUT JOHN AND GEORGE ARE DEADFL-- Rep. Joe Atkins (DFL-Inver Grove Heights) thinks we need a law to alert people that concerts by groups that were active 40 years ago might not have all the original members singing together. It is not clear whether this applies to casino concerts by "Chicago" with only one original musician. (House File 1314)
(107) NO VOTING FOR “AMERICAN IDOL” ON A CELL PHONE -- Rep. Sandy Masin (DFL-Eagan) wants to ban cell phone companies from charging users for payments to third parties called by the user. The bill would also require the cell company to explain its contracts in writing. (House File 635)
(108) PAY FOR CRIMINAL APPEALS FROM PLEA BARGAINS -- Mary Murphy (DFL-Hermantown) thinks if a criminal pleads guilty to a crime, and his public defender can find no basis for an appeal, the taxpayers currently do not have to pay for an appeal of the guilty plea just because the criminal wants one. But the DFL wants us to pay for the appeal anyway. (House File 455).
(109) SO THEY LOADED UP THEIR TRUCK AND THEY MOVED TO BEVERLY -- Rep.Scott Kranz (DFL-Blaine) wants landowners to buy their tenants mobile homes when trailer parks close. If a resident "chooses not to relocate the home to another manufactured home park," then the resident "is entitled to compensation to be paid by the park owner in an amount equal to the estimated market value of the manufactured home." (House File 1205)
(110) CARDBOARD CASKETS, BUT NO PRIVATE BURIALS -- Remember when you buried your childhood pet in a shoe box? Rep. Tina Liebling (DFL-Rochester) now wants to authorize the sale of "alternative containers for the encasement of dead human bodies" which are made of "corrugated cardboard." If you want to conduct a private burial, you also would have to hire a person with a valid license to practice mortuary science for handling the body. (House File1072)
(111) A BILL FOR THE HEALTH CONSCIOUS -- Rep. Debra Hilstrom (DFL-Brooklyn Center) wants to continue the sales tax on "all food sold through vending machines, except milk, water, fruit, 100 percent fruit juices, yogurt, and salads." (House File 1156).
(112) ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE? -- Rep. Joe Mullery (DFL-Minneapolis) Create a Board to provide "environmental justice," which means the "fair treatment of people of all races, cultures, and income in the development, adoption, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws and policies." (House File 205). Rep. Karen Clark (DFL-Minneapolis) wants Minnesota to seek federal funds to create a map for where you are most likely to be arrested for crimes against "environmental justice." (House File 1407).
(113) GOVERNMENT WILL MAKE THEM MAIL IN YOUR REBATE FORM -- Rep.Carolyn Laine (DFL-Columbia Heights) would make it unlawful for a business to advertise a price that deducts a manufacturer's rebate "by displaying the net price of the advertised item (the price of the item after the rebate has been deducted from the item's price) in the advertisement, unless the amount of the manufacturer's rebate is provided to the consumer by the retailer at the time of the purchase of the advertised item. It shall be the retailer's burden to redeem the rebate offered to the consumer by the manufacturer." Further, it would be "unlawful for any person to refuse to accept a photocopy or other reasonable facsimile of an original sales receipt when a consumer is redeeming a rebate." (House File 1104)
(114) PAY MORE FOR CAR THIEVES AND DWIs IN TWIN CITIES -- Rep. John Lesch (DFL-St. Paul) would make people in the suburbs and Greater Minnesota pay more for car insurance by forbidding insurance companies to set higher rates for the Twin Cities and any other area where there are more crashes, DWIs, and car thefts. (House File 53)
(115) REVERSE DISCRIMINATION IN COURT -- Rep. Cy Thao (DFL-St. Paul) wants courts to give job preferences to immigrants over citizens when awarding contracts for translators and interpreters. Should immigrants automatically be presumed to have better skills in languages than American born citizens? (House File 46)
(116) PICK MORE BERRIES -- Rep. Frank Moe (DFL-Bemidji) would ban the DNR from allowing further use of Department lands for four-by-four truck trails. (House File 1127). Rep. Paul Thissen (DFL-Minneapolis) wants to ban motorized vehicles from at least half of every state forest, in favor of such activities as "berry picking." (House File 1389)
(117) TAXPAYERS, WATCH YOUR BACK! -- In a session where tax increases and silly bills seem to be the order of the day, Rep. Al Doty (DFL-Royalton) wants the Department of Natural Resources to declare an extended spearing season on "suckers." (House File 1362)
(118) THEY ARE UNCLEAR ON THE CONCEPT -- Rep. Carlos Mariani (DFL-St. Paul) wants to take a half-million from the poor taxpayers to pay for legislators to think about how to get more money to the poor taxpayers. The money would fund a "Legislative Commission to End Poverty in Minnesota by 2020." (House File 1616)
(119) ISN’T THIS ALREADY THE JOB OF THE DNR? -- Rep. Aaron Peterson (DFL-Madison) wants to give $4 million to the Department of Natural Resources to "develop ecological expertise on Minnesota's native habitats and associated species, and manage and restore native habitats through private stewardship efforts and on state natural areas." (House File 1488)
(120) LANDLORDS PRESUMED GUILTY FOR GANG CRIMES -- Rep. John Lesch (DFL-St. Paul) would have courts presume that a landlord knew that one member of a criminal gang was using his apartment to take bets over the phone, or take calls for prostitutes, or engage in any other gang activity. The fact that crimes happened in an apartment would be “prima facie” evidence that the landlord was aware of the crimes. If a judge issues an injunction to the landlord to stop these crimes, and the landlord fails, the punishment would be up to 30 days in jail, a $10,000 fine, or both. (House File 49)
(121) DFL WAR ON LANDLORDS -- Rep. Willie Dominguez (DFL-Minneapolis) wants all records of courts and tenant screening associations expunged one year after a bad tenant is evicted. (House File 2141) Rep. Karen Clark (DFL-Minneapolis) has offered a blank check for a non-profit hotline where lawyers and law students advise tenants on how to sue their landlords. (House File 2356)
(122) THEY ARE EVEN COMING FOR YOU AT THE WATER COOLER -- Rep. Jeremy Kalin (DFL-Lindstrom) wants to set "energy efficiency standards" for water coolers. He also wants to set similar standards for such major energy parasites as DVD players, portable hot tubs, and AC/DC converter plugs. (House File 1890)
(123) STOP TELLING TAX PAYERS THAT REFERENDUMS COST MONEY-- School referendums are currently required by law to include the message: "By voting 'YES' on this referendum, you may be voting for a property tax increase". Well, that was apparently discouraging some people from voting "YES". Rep. Jim Davnie (DFL-Minneapolis) has the solution: Remove the message. (House File 1692)
(124) SAFETY RULE: DO NOT “BEHAVE IN AN UNSAFE MANNER” -- Rep. Tim Faust (DFL-Mora) wants to write five “safety laws” for carnival rides: don’t get off during the ride; don’t take off your seat-belts during the ride; don’t ride while intoxicated; don’t interfere with the safe operation of the ride; and don’t “behave in an unsafe manner.” (House File 1824)
(125) IMPORTING POLITICIANS FOR NO GOOD REASON. IS THERE A GOOD REASON? -- Rep. Steve Simon (DFL-St. Louis Park) wants to create and finance a non-binding presidential primary in February of presidential election years. Candidates might fly in to Minnesota in January, but the primary would not count, as delegates would be chosen at party conventions. (House File 1776, no joke)
(126) WE’RE GONNA GET A TRIP TO RAINY RIVER OUT OF THIS ONE -- Rep. Rick Hansen (DFL-South Saint Paul) wants to add two legislators to the DNR commission that oversees the hunting and fishing business in Minnesota. (House File 1866)
(127) GEN. NUTRITION, MAJ. INDIGESTION, AND CPL. PUNISHMENT -- Rep. Al Juhnke (DFL-Willmar) wants to create a “Food Defense Council” with ill-defined missions to educate the public and state agencies about “food safety and defense.” (House File 1869)
(128) THEY ARE EVEN COMING FOR YOU AT THE WATER COOLER -- Rep. Jeremy Kalin (DFL-Lindstrom) wants to set “energy efficiency standards” for water coolers. He also wants to set similar standards for such major energy parasites as DVD players, portable hot tubs, and AC/DC converter plugs. (House File 1890)
(129) AND YOU THOUGHT WE HAD A FIGHT ABOUT SAME-SEX MARRIAGE -- Rep. Lyle Koenen (DFL-Clara City) wants Minnesota law to define officially the terms “animal husbandry,” “teeth floating,” “artificial insemination,” and “animal chiropractic and massage.” Just pet the dog and don’t bill the insurance company. (House File 1633)
(130) MY POOR LITTLE PSYCHE WAS BRUISED, GIVE ME SOME CASH -- Rep. Joe Mullery (DFL-Minneapolis) wants to give workers’ comp cash to anybody who claims that work stress somehow hurt their feelings or gave them a "mental injury," even if there is no physical evidence of such an injury. (House File 2047)
(131) HONEY, DID WE NOTICE AIRPLANES WHEN WE BOUGHT THE HOUSE? -- As part of his on-going war against the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport, Rep. Frank Hornstein (DFL-Minneapolis) now wants to test for jet-related pollution in neighborhoods near the runways. (House File 2120)
(132) PAYING YOU TO TAKE CARE OF YOUR GRANDCHILDREN -- Rep. Steve Simon (DFL-St. Louis Park) wants to set up a program of seven different grants to godparents, stepfamilies, cousins, aunts, uncles, siblings, grandparents, and de facto guardians who take care of related children who are not with their parents. (House File 2143)
(133) EVERY OUT-HOUSE SHOULD HAVE BROADBAND -- Rep. Sandra Masin (DFL-Eagan) wants to replace the legal goal of “encouraging economically efficient deployment of infrastructure for higher speed telecommunications services” with a legal mandate “making available to all residents of Minnesota by 2015 ultra high-speed data transmission services at speeds equal to at least 1,000,000,000 bits per second.” (House File 2107)
(134) THE DFL HATES ROLLER COASTERS -- Rep. Patti Fritz (DFL-Faribault) wants to designate the Tilt-A-Whirl as the official state Amusement Ride. She said that she introduced the bill because 52 five-year-olds in her district convened an assembly and decided to exercise their collective First Amendment right to petition government on this crucial issue. Right. (House File 2354)
(135) WELFARE FOR SOLAR PANELS -- Rep. Frank Hornstein (DFL-Minneapolis) wants to increase the surcharge on everyone’s retail electricity bills to pay for solar panels for selected people. If you qualified for low-income heating assistance, you don’t have to pay the surcharge. (House File 2384)
(136) BAD MATH AND PLUG-IN CARS -- Remember the "yellow bike" project in St. Paul, where yellow bicycles were provided by the city for anyone’s use? Within weeks, all of the bikes were dumped in lakes or stolen and repainted. Rep. Frank Hornstein (DFL-Minneapolis) wants to provide $1.355 million to test plug-in cars for community use. He would spend $985,000 to create fleets of these community vehicles, and $355,000 to study "environmentally sensitive ways to manufacture" the vehicles. The bill does not say how he would spend the other $20,000. (House File 2376)
(137) I AM FIRING YOU. NOW, LET ME PAY FOR YOUR RE-TRAINING -- Rep. Patti Fritz (DFL-Faribault) is backing a ban on smoking in American Legion Halls, VFW Posts, bars, and bowling alleys. Now she has offered a bill to pay for job training for people laid off from jobs in those places because of the smoking ban. (House File 2373)
(138) GUILTY UNTIL PROVEN INNOCENT -- Rep. Paul Thissen (DFL-Minneapolis) wants to make the owner of a vehicle guilty of a petty misdemeanor whenever a vehicle is tagged for parking or standing violations. This is the same "guilty by ownership" standard that Minneapolis wants for the robot-cop cameras at red lights (House File 2084). Rep. Frank Hornstein (DFL-Minneapolis) wants owners of cars charged if someone reports to the police that a car with their plate is observed cutting off a bus on a highway shoulder, even if the police did not see it and even if there is no description of the driver. (House File 2326)
(139) SOME SCHOOLS STINK, BUT THEY WILL BE FRAGRANCE FREE -- Rep. Karen Clark (DFL-Minneapolis) wants to make Minneapolis schools "fragrance free" by banning perfumes, air fresheners, scented lotions, and scented cleaning products. With half of the students failing to read or cipher at grade level, this bill smells. (House File 2148)
(140) WE NEED STUDIES TO PROVE THAT "POOP SMELLS BAD" -- Rep. Aaron Peterson (DFL-Appleton) wants taxpayers to fund an "air emissions statement" for biomass gasification facilities (House File 2321). Rep. Aaron Peterson (DFL-Appleton) offered a second bill to have taxpayers fund a study "to fully characterize emissions from biomass gasification facilities." (House File 2320)
(141) WE NEED MORE LAWYERS -- Rep. Melissa Hortman (DFL-Brooklyn Park) wants working taxpayers to provide $200,000 to pay off the loans of law students. (House File 1974)
The following article is reprinted from St Paul Pioneer Press 03/05/2007:
Irritable Legislator Syndrome? Look Out!
by Joe Soucheray
Erin Murphy of St. Paul, who is new to the Legislature this session, is either the lead author or one of the authors of proposed legislation requiring retail stores and businesses to allow the public to use restrooms, even if they are restrooms reserved for the employees. Apparently you would carry a card that identifies you as a person with a frequent need, a frequent pooper card, as it were, and while there is nothing necessarily funny about illnesses of the bowel, it is a comedy of tragic proportion that the government has come to this.
I've tried to reach Murphy on several occasions without success. Among my many questions would be, "Is this something you campaigned on last autumn?''
Or, how could it possibly develop that a legislator was approached with this problem?
For it has been estimated that perhaps 35,000 Minnesotans have a medical condition that requires them to suddenly seek a facility while there are 5 million of us or so who need, say, highways. I keep a list of candidate grilling questions by the door. When an aspirant comes knocking, I run down the list, ready to dismiss them at the first false start, but it has never occurred to me to weed them out by asking them where they stood when it comes to the right of the public to use restrooms traditionally off-limits to the public.
I have been following the launch of dozens of bills proposed this session. I think it was John Lesch — he was the guy who went lost in Iraq when he decided to visit on his own — who proposed a new plan whereby buses would pick up kids on weekends to take them to the park so they could exercise. If it wasn't Lesch, I apologize, although I think it is apology without much distinction. He is a DFLer, and the DFLers have been writing some real doozies, including the relief for frequent poopers.
The way I understand it, you might be in the neighborhood hardware store, where there is no public restroom, and suddenly, presumably as a result of a medical condition, you have to go. And you have to go now. It happens. Why, it has happened to all of us. It's just that it has never occurred to most of us to seek legislative relief or to perhaps seek card-carrying membership in the frequent pooping community.
In any event, there you are buying a paintbrush when all of a sudden the rumblings are unmistakable. Instead of going home, or to the nearest gas station or maybe to some nearby public building where public restrooms are available, you walk, carefully, to the counter and present your card. They would have to let you use the biff or face a fine.
Never mind how easily they say you can't smoke in your business. They don't legislate logically. They flit from whim to whim.
I use neighborhood hardware store by design. They tend to get to know you at a neighborhood place. I would imagine they wouldn't require proof. They would probably let you go on the basis of human kindness, which still exists in many quarters despite legislation that tends to make you think not.
One day a couple of summers ago a young woman selling magazine subscriptions walked up the driveway and before she could begin her practiced nonsense about how magazine sales were putting her through law school she confessed that she had an urgent need to use the bathroom. I knew the look. It was pained. With great reluctance I showed her to the bathroom. I'm not that altruistic. It just made it that much easier to not buy any magazines when at last she returned from the facility.
Based on that experience, all I can say is good luck to business owners if this restroom-accessibility legislation passes, if you know what I mean, and I think you do.
Soucheray is heard from 2 to 5:30 p.m. weekdays on KSTP-AM 1500
The following article is reprinted from Minneapolis Star Tribune 02/19/2007:
|Soon Your Summer Inner Tube Ride Could Be Criminal
By Katherine Kersten, Minneapolis Star-Tribune
About now, you’ve probably had your fill of Minnesota’s frozen tundra. Maybe you’re imagining the kind of global warming July brings, when you’ll be at the lake, draped across an inner tube sipping a cool glass of lemonade or a bottle of brew.
Not so fast, friend. Try that inner tube and lemonade routine in summers hence and — if Rep. Andy Welti of Plainview gets his way — the police will haul you off to jail.
The Legislature’s back in session, and you’d better keep your head down.
I know, I know. You’ve heard endless palaver from politicians about our state’s transportation, education and health care needs. But it only takes a few dozen legislators to make serious plans for spending all that tax money you sent them. The rest of the horde of 201 want a chance to push you around, too.
So we get bills like Welti’s House File 522, which makes it a criminal offense — a misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail — to “carry, use or possess” a glass container “on a public beach or aboard an inner tube, kayak, canoe, or other watercraft.” What? You’ve got a whole six pack of beer back on the beach for your buddies? “Each violation may be treated as a separate offense.” Let’s see: Six times 90 days in jail equals. … See you when you get released in January ‘09.
There’s more where that came from. Wonder why your first-grader isn’t on the beach with the rest of the family? Your wife informs you that he fell prey to Rep. Loren Solberg’s House File 623, which would compel all public school kids in grades one through four to attend a minimum six weeks of half-day “language immersion summer school.” Oh well, who needs family vacation time anyway?
Clearly, some folks at the Capitol think you’re incapable of taking care of your own kids.
Take House File 620, inspired by the sort of thinking that banished teeter-totters from playgrounds. The bill forces retailers who provide shopping carts to make available carts with “a strap, device, or piece of equipment designed, using reasonable engineering standards, to prevent a child from falling out.” (Trial lawyers are already salivating over that “reasonable engineering standards” requirement.)
The ultimate Big Brother bill is Rep. Carolyn Laine’s House File 595, which establishes a “universal newborn visiting program.” The program would send a “culturally competent” professional to visit every new mother in the hospital or at home to educate her on state programs, child abuse prevention and the like. Maybe next year we’ll cut to the chase and pass a law requiring a full-fledged parent inspection program and a parenting license, renewable annually.
I could go on. Actually, bloggers King Banaian, an economics professor at St. Cloud State University, Drew Emmer and Michael Brodkorb have done just that. They’ve slogged through reams of leaden legalese to compile lists of our legislators’ most exotic conjurings and tallied votes for the most egregious at Banaian’s blog, SCSU Scholars.
It’s tempting to laugh off these legislative antics. But some bills carry serious potential consequences. Debra Hilstrom’s House File 682, for example, would have given resident tuition at state colleges and universities to illegal immigrants as long as they attended three years of high school here, graduated or the equivalent here, and signed a document saying they would file an application to legalize their status at the “earliest opportunity the individual is eligible to do so.”
Fortunately, last week Hilstrom pulled the bill, which would have given preference to people who are breaking the law to be here, over, say, a kid from Iowa who’d love to attend the U of M but can’t afford it.
In my view, legislative overkill has two causes.
First, legislators are in session too long. And while they’re at the Capitol, most seem to feel an obligation to “get something done.” That usually means creating new restrictions on our lives and almost never increasing our zone of freedom.
Second, too many legislators see Minnesota citizens as children who must be tended and protected by an all-knowing state. In their eyes, we don’t know enough to keep our kids in the shopping cart, or if we need a cart with a restraint, we aren’t bright enough to seek out stores that offer them.
The following article is reprinted from the Arizona Rep 02/10/2007:
Employers are cutting back hours, laying off young staffers
By Chad Graham, The Arizona Republic
Oh, for the days when Arizona's high school students could roll pizza dough, sweep up sticky floors in theaters or scoop ice cream without worrying about ballot initiatives affecting their earning power.
That's certainly not the case under the state's new minimum-wage law that went into effect last month.
Some Valley employers, especially those in the food industry, say payroll budgets have risen so much that they're cutting hours, instituting hiring freezes and laying off employees.
And teens are among the first workers to go.
Companies maintain the new wage was raised to $6.75 per hour from $5.15 per hour to help the breadwinners in working-poor families. Teens typically have other means of support.
Mark Messner, owner of Pepi's Pizza in south Phoenix, estimates he has employed more than 2,000 high school students since 1990. But he plans to lay off three teenage workers and decrease hours worked by others. Of his 25-person workforce, roughly 75 percent are in high school.
"I've had to go to some of my kids and say, 'Look, my payroll just increased 13 percent,' " he said. " 'Sorry, I don't have any hours for you.' "
Messner's monthly cost to train an employee has jumped from $440 to $580 as the turnover rate remains high.
"We go to great lengths to hang on to our high school workers, but there are a lot of kids who come in and get one check in their pocket and feel like they're living large and out the door they go," he said. "We never get our return on investment when that happens."
For years, economists have debated how minimum-wage increases impact the teenage workforce.
The Employment Policies Institute in Washington, which opposed the recent increases, cited 2003 data by Federal Reserve economists showing a 10 percent increase caused a 2 percent to 3 percent decrease in employment.
It also cited comments by notedeconomist Milton Friedman, who maintained that high teen unemployment rates were largely the result of minimum-wage laws.
"After a wage hike, employers seek to take fewer chances on individuals with little education or experience," one institute researcher told lawmakers in 2004.
Tom Kelly, owner of Mary Coyle Ol' Fashion Ice Cream Parlor in Phoenix, voted for the minimum-wage increase. But he said, "The new law has impacted us quite a bit."
It added about $2,000 per month in expenses. The store, which employs mostly teen workers, has cut back on hours and has not replaced a couple of workers who quit.
Kelly raised the wages of workers who already made above minimum wage to ensure pay scales stayed even. As a result, "we have to be a lot more efficient" and must increase menu prices, he said.
While most of the state's 124,067 workers between the ages of 16 and 19 made well above $5.15 per hour before the change, the new law has created real-life economic opportunities.
Liliana Hernandez brings home noticeably more under the new law. The 18-year-old, who attends Metro Tech High School in Phoenix and works part time at Central High School, is saving the extra money, maybe to put towards buying a used car.
Hernandez said she deserves the raise just like any other Arizona worker even if she still lives with her parents.
"I'm doing the best I can and working hard like everyone else," she said.
In the months leading up to last November's vote, advocates of the new law maintained that it would help Arizona create a "living wage" for some of the poorest workers.
The Economic Policy Institute estimated that 145,000 Arizonans would receive a pay raise. That was how many made $5.15 to $6.74 per hour.
At one press conference, a mother described how she was unable to afford basic school supplies for her son.
Opponents, however, said there was little talk about teenage workers. "Everyone wanted to focus on the other aspects of the minimum-wage campaign," said Michelle Bolton, Arizona state director of the National Federation of Independent Business.
An Employment Policies Institute study determined that 30.1 percent of affected workers in Arizona fell between the ages of 16 and 19.
"Workers affected by the minimum-wage increase are less likely to be supporting a family than the typical Arizona worker," it stated. "For example, 30.4 percent of the workers are living with their parent or parents, while only 7.6 percent of all Arizona workers are in this category."
John Weischedel, a senior at the East Valley Institute of Technology in Mesa, knows he is lucky to be making $8 per hour at an auto dealership and learning technical skills. So are most of his friends who make $9 or more per hour while still attending high school.
After the minimum-wage law went into effect, "a couple of my friends got laid off - they worked in fast food," he said. "They're going to wait until they're out of high school to find other jobs."
Matt Dempsey contributed to this article
The following article is reprinted from TownHall.Com 01/10/2007:
Sticking it to low-skilled workers
By John Stossel
In the first hundred hours of the just-started session of Congress, the new leadership promises to raise the minimum wage. The Democrats won't be opposed by many Republicans. President Bush says he'll go along with a higher minimum wage if it's coupled with tax and regulatory breaks for small businesses.
Raising the minimum wage is definitely popular. Voters in six states approved higher minimums last Election Day. State politicians in both parties are practically drooling with eagerness to "help" lower-income workers. After all, how can you call the current minimum, $5.15 an hour, a "living" wage? Who can live on that?
We all want the poor to make more money. So if government can raise wages by decree, why are the popular proposals so stingy? What good is a measly buck or two extra? Let's really do something for the poor. Let's raise the minimum wage to $20 an hour. Even better, $50!
Or maybe we should take a deep breath and think like economists for a change.
The law of supply and demand, which operates whether we like it or not, says that when the price of something goes up, people buy less of it. That's why environmentalists like higher gasoline taxes, and anti-smoking activists back higher cigarette taxes.
The law of supply and demand works in the labor market, too. If government mandates a higher minimum wage, some workers will get a raise. Some. But something else will happen. Employers will hire fewer low-skilled workers. Others will let some current workers go. Some will choose not to expand their businesses. A few will close altogether. If an employer believes a worker creates only about $5.15 worth of value on the job, he won't pay $7, even if the government demands it.
Only 2.5 percent of all hourly workers make $5.15 an hour (or less; some jobs are exempt from the law), says the Department of Labor. "Minimum wage workers tend to be young."
Few of them stay at the minimum wage for long. As they acquire skills, their productivity rises and they command higher wages. According to a study done for the Bureau of Labor Statistics, "minimum wages have virtually no effect on the careers of most workers."
A small percentage of people do get stuck in minimum-wage jobs for a longer time. Since wages tend to rise with productivity, these are people whose productivity does not improve. A higher minimum wage will cost some of them their jobs. How does that help them?
Legal wage minimums kill all kinds of entry-level jobs, particularly those that would teach young people basic work habits and the benefits of effort. That's why there are no kids cleaning your windows at gas stations or working as ushers at movie theaters. Those jobs are extinct now because they are worth less than the legislated minimum. Who is helped by that?
Let's face it. The higher minimum wage is a feel-good law. A slight increase will pass because politicians and poverty activists will be able to say they have "done something" for the poor, while the victims of the policy go unnoticed. Those who can't find jobs because they produce too little are not likely to blame the law or the politicians who tried to "help" them. Then the resulting unemployment will justify expansion of the welfare state.
As George Mason University economist Walter Williams says, "It's tempting to think of higher minimum wages as an anti-poverty weapon, but such an idea doesn't even pass the smell test. After all, if higher minimum wages could cure poverty, we could easily end worldwide poverty simply by telling poor nations to legislate higher minimum wages."
John Stossel is an award-winning news correspondent and author of Myths, Lies, and Downright Stupidity: Get Out the Shovel--Why Everything You Know is Wrong
• Drew Emmer: Who voted for these idiots? -- More questionable legislation from the lefties -- DFL Bills Gone Wild, Part Deax -- Some dfl bills from Febrauary 26 and March 1.
• King Banaian and Michael Brodkorb have the results of their poll: "Pick the most ridiculous bill introduced by the DFL in the MN House."
• Minnesota Democrats Exposed: 71 reasons why January 2007 may have been the worst month in Minnesota legislative history