American Experiment policy fellows have testified in front of various state House and Senate legislative committees this session. Senior policy fellow Peter Nelson testified February 13 to the Minnesota House Commerce Finance and Policy Committee on H.F. 348, a bill that adds to a long list of benefit mandates the state has imposed on health plans through the years. Nelson explains, “If adopted, H.F. 348 would add another unnecessary benefit mandate that will add a new layer of mandated costs and undermine future benefit designs aimed at incentivizing more value-conscious health care decisions.”
In light of several pieces of legislation introduced in both the Minnesota House and Senate this session focused on mandating ethnic studies in K-12 education, policy fellow Catrin Wigfall testified against its inclusion in the Senate education policy omnibus bill (S.F. 1311) during its committee hearing March 8. Wigfall states, “The definition of ethnic studies in this legislation will teach students to view society in terms of race-and-class warfare” while academic excellence and proficiency continue to decline.
American Experiment economist Martha Njolomole testified in front of the Minnesota Senate Taxes Committee for hearing on S.F. 0009 which proposes to expand Minnesota’s childcare and dependent care credit. Njolomole writes extensively at CAE on the ongoing childcare crisis in the state and argues the bill does nothing to address the excessive government regulation at the root cause of the crisis.
Led by public safety policy fellow David Zimmer, American Experiment addressed a letter of dissent to the legislature opposing the bill (H.F. 28) that would allow convicted felons not sentenced to prison to retain their right to vote and would automatically restore the right to vote when a felon is no longer incarcerated in prison — despite their status on probation, parole, or conditional release. Says Zimmer, “This proposal erodes an already weakened system of accountability for criminal behavior in Minnesota and sends the wrong message at the wrong time.”
Written testimony was given to the Climate and Energy Finance and Policy Committee March 14 by policy fellow Isaac Orr regarding H.F. 413, which would force state agencies to prioritize electric vehicles (EVs) when purchasing new cars, provide rebates to EV buyers, and allow investor-owned utilities like Xcel Energy to build EV charging stations and force taxpayers to pay for them. In addition to Orr’s written testimony, American Experiment encouraged voters to give feedback about the issue through an online petition urging the Public Utilities Commission to oppose the plan.
Initiatives and webinars
In response to Gov. Walz’s proposed transportation budget and congressional Democrats’ budgetary inclusion of a provision that would raise the license tab fee in the first year of your car’s life, American Experiment launched the “Don’t Jack the Tax” initiative. A petition and video can be found at our website to urge legislators to reject the tax increase at a time when all Minnesotans are affected by rising gas prices and inflation: www.americanexperiment.org/dont-jack-the-tax-car-tab-tax-minnesota/
On Thursday March 30, adjunct policy fellow Bill Glahn hosted a webinar with an update on the COVID-19-related Feeding Our Future scandal. He covered the latest federal indictments and convictions in an ongoing investigation that involves hundreds of millions of dollars stolen from government funds.
Dennis Prager returns
American Experiment’s 2023 Annual Dinner will feature Dennis Prager — one of the leading thinkers in American public life. Prager is a long-time radio host, author, and founder of the Prager University Foundation; he will also introduce PragerU’s Amala Ekpunobi, a 21-year-old former leftist and now a podcasting and social media expert and rising star. The event will be held on Friday, May 12 at the Hilton Minneapolis. A cocktail reception begins at 5:30 pm, ballroom doors open at 6:30, dinner and the program begin at 7. A YLC afterparty will follow. Go to Americanexperiment.org for information and to purchase tickets.
CAE’s president John Hinderaker traveled to Naples, Florida March 7 expounding on American Experiment’s vision regarding public safety, education, cost of living, and the Center’s fight to restore Minnesota’s future through sound public policy and grass roots activism. The Minnesota Evening in Naples has become an annual event. Hinderaker also traveled west to host an event March 22 in Phoenix, Arizona speaking about the Center’s work, initiatives, and the policies he sees as the most impactful to Minnesota in the coming years.
Policy fellow Catrin Wigfall joined economist John Phelan for events in Bismarck and Fargo, North Dakota March 23 and 24, respectively. Phelan discussed policy changes and priorities that will put North Dakota in position to take advantage of the next oil boom without experiencing the inevitable bust and policies to improve the state’s economic outlook. Wigfall presented ways North Dakota can shed its complacency and catch up to other states when it comes to education reform. The evening event in Bismarck was held at the Bismarck Municipal Country Club while the Fargo lunch event took place at the Avalon Event Center.
American Experiment’s Owatonna chapter has hosted two roundtables about energy and childcare led by Orr and Njolomole. The events in February and March highlight the ongoing issues important to all Minnesotans in their communities, especially outside the Metro area. “Our chapter has held a number of focus groups on everything from economic stability, energy and childcare. We find that these groups are extremely beneficial as we put a human side to the data. We have also found these focus groups to be eye-opening, highlighting areas that we hadn’t thought about before” says Owatonna Chapter Chairman Mike Jensen.
Orr will be leading energy events hosted by the Mankato and Rochester chapters. “Sticker Shock: How Liberal Policies Make Energy Expensive and Unreliable” will be on Thursday, April 20 at the Courtyard by Marriott in Mankato and at the Rochester International Event Center on Tuesday, April 25. For more information and to register go to AmericanExperiment.org/events/.
CAE is starting a new West Central chapter. Ben Anderson, the chapter’s chairman says, “I’m very excited to help launch the Center’s chapter in West Central Minnesota. The Center’s efforts to advance common-sense policies and the conservative movement are essential in fighting for a prosperous state.” A launch event has yet to be scheduled. Visit American Experiment’s website for updates and more information at AmericanExperiment.org.
Greater Minnesota Outreach Director Micah Olson remarks on the chapters’ growth, “We now have five Greater Minnesota chapters and are growing our network in every corner of the state. The most important way conservatives can fight the liberal overreach in St. Paul is by investing in the Center. Consider signing up your friends and neighbors for Thinking Minnesota, attending events, and making a charitable, tax-deductible donation. With your help we can deliver a prosperous Minnesota.”
Readers of Thinking Minnesota can find daily updates on American Experiment’s activities and initiatives at AmericanExperiment.org. While there, check on the Center’s merchandise for sale, sign up for exclusive bonus content, and request a speaker.