DFL legislative agenda not waiting for conference committees

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With Democrats enjoying their new power in St. Paul, one normal part of the legislative process has been missing: conference committees. When important legislation becomes law, it usually goes through a separate process in the House and the Senate. The bills rarely get through both houses with the exact same language and a conference committee is necessary to work out the differences. The process usually fixes mistakes and produces the best possible result.

Not this year.

Two major pieces of legislation are moving quickly through the House and Senate with the exact same language and no plans for a conference committee. House File 1 establishing a Minnesota abortion regime as liberal as North Korea already passed the Senate and House and will soon be on the governor’s desk for signing. Senate Republicans put up a valiant and important fight — they offered over 60 amendments — but all of them failed. Senate File 4, known as the Blackout Bill, is racing to a similar finish, having already passed the House.

Two huge bills with far-reaching ramifications, both rammed through with the exact same language as Democrats fought off every attempt to change even one word in the text. While the abortion language is pretty straightforward, look for future legislative “fixes” to the Blackout Bill as utilities work through implementation.

Democrats are also working on two other complicated pieces of legislation, one establishing a paid family leave program and another legalizing recreational marijuana. Each proposal creates huge new bureaucracies with hundreds of state employees. Passing this legislation without the normal conference committee process will result in implementation mistakes that will have to be fixed in future years. It’s not a perfect analogy, but the THC gummy law that passed last year without proper transparency is a good example of what can go wrong when the process is rushed.

Sen. Kupec “not sure” about Blackout Bill

Speaking of the Blackout Bill, it is on the Senate agenda for this Thursday. If you haven’t sent an email to your Senator yet, take a minute right now. This is going to be a tough vote for several new DFL Senators who represent swing districts. If you live in Moorhead/Detroit Lakes, Cottage Grove/Hastings or Hermantown/International Falls, your Senators really need to hear from you.

Newly elected Senator Rob Kupec (DFL-Moorhead) is particularly vulnerable on the Blackout Bill because he represents a district that borders North Dakota. His district also supported President Trump by 3.5 points in the 2020 election. Kupec is one of two meteorologists in the Senate, so he has a lot to say about climate change. But in an interview right after the election, Kupec publicly questioned the idea of mandating 100% renewable energy, telling MinnPost:

“I think there’s a realization in the private sector that some of these things are just going to be more cost effective to move towards more renewable energies, and I think they’re doing it naturally,” Kupec said. “Do we set a date? I’m not sure.”

Kupec being “not sure” about the Blackout Bill might be the closest thing to a crack in the DFL group-think we’ve seen so far this session.

Minnesota media bias example #3,465

During the long debate on abortion in the Senate, Minnesota Public Radio digital reporter Sam Stroozas tweeted about the length of the debate writing, “We can’t make this up folks.”

This erstwhile reporter sounds exasperated that Senators would dare offer amendments and engage in a long debate on a bill dealing with abortion. Is it her first day on the job? Earlier in the week Stroozas turned heads with a laughingly biased story on crisis pregnancy centers where she put the term “crisis pregnancy centers” in quotes 15 times to indicate she didn’t believe they actually help pregnant women in crisis. The story begins with Stroozas’ portrayal of “crisis pregnancy centers” as “nonmedical anti-abortion organizations that deceive pregnant people and discourage abortion.” Pregnant people?  We can’t make this up folks.

Walz budget

More details are coming out on Gov. Walz’s budget. Here are three posts by American Experiment economists John Phelan and Martha Njolomole that begin to analyze the details.

A look at Governor Walz’s budget proposal

DFL proposals will give Minnesota the highest top rate of tax in the United States

Walz checks will boost inflation

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