10 things you need to know about MN politics and the legislature
- Sen. Eric Pratt lost the Republican endorsement to a candidate backed by Action For Liberty over the weekend. First-time candidate Natalie Barnes won more than 60% of the vote on the first ballot in this Shakopee/Prior Lake district. Action For Liberty is a conservative group that spends most of their energy trying to hold Republicans accountable to conservative values. The Minnesota Republican Party and Republican legislative caucuses consider them grifters. Similar Action For Liberty challenges to Sen. Karin Housley and Sen. Gene Dornink were unsuccessful.
- The Minneapolis strike ended, and teachers didn’t win much for their effort. The real losers, of course, are the students. Teachers receive a 2% raise the first year and a 3% raise the second year plus a one-time $4,000 bonus. They started their negotiations at 20% and quickly fell back to 5%. Capitol Watch will be tracking how much the contract will cost the school district, likely more than they can afford. Union officials are now calling for people to “occupy” the state capitol demanding more money for K-12 schools.
- The new agreement with teachers includes a blatantly unconstitutional provision that treats teachers differently depending on the color of their skin. Right now, Minneapolis uses a last-in-first-out system to handle layoffs in the teaching corps. With the new contract, teachers of color will be given priority in the layoff system, meaning white teachers will be let go even though they have more seniority, just because they are white. The Upper Midwest Law Center stands ready for this slam-dunk legal challenge.
- The DFL fixed their John Thompson problem over the weekend. This was actually set in motion last July when DFL Party Chair Ken Martin released a statement condemning Thompson’s actions in a St. Paul traffic stop. At that moment, the decision was made to find another DFL candidate to replace Thompson. The DFL almost always fixes their embarrassing election problems. Remember, they’re the professionals.
- On Tuesday the House Energy Committee will hear a Walz administration proposal that will artificially raise the price of gas by 22 to 50 cents a gallon for absolutely no good reason. The tax increase will not be used for roads and bridges, or even transit. It will pay for “credits” to atone for the sins of climate change. Except it won’t help reduce climate change either. Sign our petition now so committee members know how stupid this policy is.
- On Thursday, the Minnesota Senate Energy and Utilities Finance Committee heard multiple bills regarding nuclear power in our state. These bills included a full repeal of the current moratorium on building new plants (S.F. 0225), a bill that would allow small modular reactors to be built (S.F. 4082), and a bill funding a study to investigate the feasibility of replacing retiring coal plants with new nuclear power plants (S.F. 4163). Progress!
- Sen. Jason Isaacson lost the DFL endorsement to Sen. John Marty over the weekend. The two Senators were placed in the same district with the new redistricting map. It’s unclear whether Isaacson will challenge Marty in the primary. Isaacson once called American Experiment a “joke.”
- Tim Walz canceled the traditional Minnesota fishing opener this year after being protested at last year’s event. Instead of allowing a community to spend a year promoting the event and their hometown, Walz will quietly drop a line in Leech Lake with a fishing guide for a photo op. This annual event usually attracts media from all over the country promoting Minnesota tourism.
- Legislative Democrats want to spend money to fight crime by giving it to community groups. The House DFL, Senate DFL and Walz plans for public safety all involve giving grants to local non-profits such as violence interrupters in Minneapolis. We’ve seen how well this approach works with the Feeding Our Future scandal.
- Senate Republicans offered their own version of Paid Family Leave, a top priority of House Democrats and Gov. Walz. File this under the category of: “We can’t always be against everything. We have to come out with our own version of the Democrat’s horrible policy idea.” At least Sen. Julia Coleman’s bill won’t cost billions and create a huge new government bureaucracy, but now we’re negotiating, so hold onto your wallets.
This content originally appeared in our weekly Capitol Watch email. Subscribe below.
Subscribe to Capitol Watch
Minnesota political news from an insider’s perspective.