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Commentaries

Jun 4, 2013
The city of Red Wing, Minnesota, has a rental property inspection program—one that’s unfortunately not unusual—whereby landlords and tenants must routinely open their doors to government agents. These searches take place even if both the landlord and tenant believe it not to be necessary. The owner of the property even has to pay a fee for the unwanted search to receive a rental license! The city only sometimes makes initial requests for consent as a mere courtesy, because it proceeds with an administrative warrant in the event of a refusal—without a showing of probable cause to believe there’s a housing code violation or other problem. The inspection ordinance doesn’t even attempt to prevent the disclosure of information revealed during the search; the whole neighborhood may find out the contents of your medicine cabinet or choice of DVDs.
May 28, 2013
For the first time in a good while, we are about to be asked to stop some of what we’re doing, pay attention and take measure of various allegations of wrongdoing in high Washington places. You know — Benghazi “talking points,” the IRS’ special attention to Tea Party groups, the Obama administration’s snooping around reporters.
May 21, 2013
Even as the Minnesota Legislature passed a bitterly contested bill Monday authorizing a vote among home-based child care business owners and personal health care attendants on a collective bargaining unit, union opponents already were preparing to mount a constitutional challenge.
May 21, 2013
Despite significant opposition from affected citizens, the Legislature rewarded a multi-year campaign by public unions AFSCME and SEIU to open the door to the unionization of both day care workers and personal care attendants (PCAs or home health care aides).
May 15, 2013
It would seem that Governor Dayton's relentless hunt for “the rich to pay their fair share” will cost the state of Minnesota more than it will take in by raising the tax rate.
May 13, 2013
“It's easy enough to levy costs when it's ‘somebody else’ who pays, but levy too much and we'll discover, down the road, that we don't like the price.”
May 11, 2013
Even though much of the feel-good twaddle has been dropped from the Senate version, the 100 percent renewable energy goal remains. All it would take would be an activist judge or an over-eager department head to turn such wishful thinking into state policy.
May 6, 2013
All of you have constituents who have lost retirement savings in the Great Recession, either in whole or in part and will have to work much longer than they planned to make up those savings. How will you explain this legislation to them?
May 5, 2013
Recent events at the Capitol make clear that we ­Minnesotans are on track for one of the biggest tax increases in recent state history. But suppose you could wave a magic wand and erase our budget deficit, pay off the $801 million left from the school shift, actually have a surplus — and do it all without raising taxes. There’d be dancing in the streets, right?
May 2, 2013
This morning (May 2nd) I attended an event held in the southeast metro at a conference center with floor-to-ceiling windows on three sides. After last night’s freak, early-May snowstorm, the windows offered an excellent, 270° view of the several inches of climate change blanketing the Minnesota countryside.