Is the ‘sanctuary’ bill dead for this session?

Never say never. Dubbed the “North Star Act” (as in “follow the North Star from the southern border”) the bill would designate all of Minnesota as a sanctuary state for illegal aliens.

Back on February 8, the bill’s authors held a capitol press conference to advocate for the bill’s passage this year. On February 12, the first day of session, advocates held a rally at the capitol. However, the bill is not scheduled for a hearing in either chamber.

For his part, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz has opened an office of “New Americans” to welcome the anticipated new arrivals.

The bill has 18 sponsors in the Minnesota House, however the House Speaker, Melissa Hortman (DFL-Brooklyn Park), has poured cold water on the idea. Hortman is quoted by the MN Reformer as saying,

“I don’t believe that there are the votes for that bill to move in the House or the Senate,” she said. “I just don’t think there’s the votes.” 

A remarkable statement by Hortman as her Democrats currently enjoy a seven-seat majority in the lower chamber. Hortman adds,

I don’t think a lot of us know completely what’s in it or what the authors had in mind when they introduced the bill.

Another remarkable statement given the dedicated website, the rallies and press conferences, and the fact that the bill runs only a little over five pages of text.

Perhaps more damaging to the bill’s prospects is the open opposition to the bill by a Democrat state senator. Democrats hold only a one-seat (34-33) majority in the upper house.

Northern Minnesota Democrat Grant Hauschild (DFL-Hermantown), writes on Twitter (X),

“Unlikely” but not impossible. Would Democrats completely abandon their efforts (paraphrasing Bertolt Brecht) to elect a new people?

The lead Democrat in the state senate is not as dismissive of the idea, quoted by KSTP-5 as saying,

“It will be up to the committees to decide whether to hear that legislation or not,” said new DFL Senate Majority Leader Erin Murphy. 

We’ll be watching.