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Minnesota political news from an insider’s perspective.
The selfie session
Another momentous week at the State Capitol ended with the Senate passing a bill legalizing recreational marijuana. A similar bill already passed the House so now a conference committee will iron out the differences. In the new tradition of the legislature, legislators and their supporters celebrated like their team just won the state basketball championship.
This photo is from the Pioneer Press of the Senate gallery just after they adjourned for the day. The Senate President warned them not to celebrate until after adjournment, so they dutifully delayed their celebration. “Yeah! Our marijuana lifestyle is now sanctioned by the state!”
We are not being governed by serious people. Throughout the session, Democrats have been passing their divisive, destructive agenda (using a one-vote majority in the Senate) and then celebrating like high school kids at a Taylor Swift concert. Here’s another photo just after the marijuana vote captured by StarTribune photographer Glen Stubbe:
The recreational marijuana legislation is the latest in a suite of lifestyle bills that seek government approval for behaviors that previously were considered socially unacceptable if not morally wrong.
Tim Walz said it best Thursday during a bill signing event:
“In Minnesota, every single person is valued, everybody brings themselves and they’re welcome here. That message is loud and clear, now it’s codified into law.”
Your value is now codified into law. The bill signing celebrated the passage of three bills dealing with very contentious social issues: banning conversion therapy, making Minnesota a safe haven for abortion and a trans refuge bill that protects “gender affirming care” for children including chemical castration and genital mutilation.
After a parade of speakers, Walz signed the trans refuge bill flanked by bill author Rep. Leigh Finke (DFL-St. Paul) and two children being used as props for the event.
For those Minnesotans directly impacted by these bills, the joy expressed at their passage is deeply personal. Other supporters not personally impacted are considered allies, and their joy comes from empathy, as we wrote about here.
Conservatives receive joy, acceptance, and validation from sources outside of government such as family, religion or their own self-worth. What legislation would illicit the kind of joyous celebration from conservatives that have become common at the Minnesota Capitol? Tax cuts? Regulatory reform? Ending abortion would likely produce some joy among conservatives, but it would not include endzone dancing.
Speaking of endzone dancing, perhaps the most unserious legislator in St. Paul is Rep. Andy Smith from Rochester. This new young Democrat uses Tik Tok, Instagram and Twitter to inform and I guess, entertain his constituents about what’s happening at the Capitol. Here is Smith on Tik Tok singing about the “trans refuge” bill (click on image to watch video):
Senate finally loses a vote, but will it last?
With Gov. Walz doing another victory lap with the national media for his “progressive policy laboratory,” two Senate Democrats broke ranks and helped Republicans amend the K-12 Education Finance bill. Sen. John Hoffman (DFL-Champlin) and Sen. Judy Seeberger (DFL-Cottage Grove) voted for amendments dealing with Post Secondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) and teacher licensure. On Sunday morning Seeberger tweeted at her party boss Ken Martin pointing out there are “a few moderate lawmakers” who might not embrace the entire progressive agenda.
As many of the commenters on Twitter pointed out, Sen. Seeberger can begin acting like a moderate any time she wants by actually voting against the agenda. Until the Education Finance bill, she has voted with the DFL on every major bill. As Catrin Wigfall wrote here, the big test will come when that bill comes back from conference committee without the language she supported in the bill. Will she vote to send the bill back to conference or acquiesce to the pressure and send it to the governor for his signature? Stay tuned.
Senate releases tax plan
All three tax plans are now on the table. American Experiment’s John Phelan provides an overview here. To keep with the selfie theme, House Majority Leader Jamie Long tweeted this photo with the Chairs of the House Tax Committee and Property Tax Subcommittee.
The tweet includes the absurd statement that this is the “largest tax cut ever,” but the bill doesn’t cut any tax. The closest they come to a tax cut is exempting more people from paying taxes on their social security income. The rest of the bill is a giant redistribution of wealth from one group of taxpayers to another.
Not one state tax rate is lowered. In fact, the only tax rate that changes in the House bill is a new fifth tier income tax rate that goes up to 10.85%. Smile for the camera! It’s the selfie session.
Minnesota political news from an insider’s perspective.
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