The Good Guys Win One

Governor Dayton has reportedly signed HF878, the Public Safety omnibus bill that included five second-amendment-related provisions:

  • Barring thengovernornfeom confiscating guns during states of emergency

  • enacting carry permit reciprocity with several other states
  • allow Minnesotans to buy long guns in non-contiguous states
  • eliminated the capitol felony trap
  • allows Minnesotans to own and use their federally-licensed suppressors.

This is a big win for human rights.

Thanks to Governor Dayton for heeding the overwhelming will of The People, and signing the bill.

Thanks also to a newly-active NRA, to MN-GOPAC and to GOCRA, as well as to the legislators who made it happen.

And thanks to you, the Real Minnesotans, for speaking out so loudly and clearly.

What does this mean for next session? More on the show this weekend, and on the blog next week.

“Sharp-Tongued”

Ryan Winkler is leaving the House of Representatives.

Winkler spent nine sessions in the Legislature.  During the last five or six of them, his job, coming from an utterly safe seat in Golden Valley, seemed to be “the DFL’s Costco version of Sidney Blumenthal”; to say and do the things that no DFLer in a contested district – or human with an education and a conscience – would dare to say.

Winkler racked up a long, storied history:

…enough that he seemed to be well on the way to becoming Minnesota’s Joe Biden.

Of course, Paul Thissen said what caucus leaders are supposed to say about their hatchet men:

House Minority Leader Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis, said he’ll miss Winkler’s “impatience with injustice. He is always willing to take on the tough fights and not back down. He drove the discussion forward about how to make our economy work better for people. His work to raise the minimum wage and improve opportunity for average Minnesotans is a tremendous legacy.”

Um yeah.  When a Minnesotan loses a job to pay for his precious minimum wage hike, we need to say they’ve been “Winklered”.

But this isn’t about my observations.  Look at the adjectives the media uses in describing Winkler’s career; “outspoken” (as in “outspoken advocate on behalf of…” yadda yadda), “sharp-tongued”, “Harvard-Educated”, and the like.

If he’d been a Republican, I’d have looked for adjectives more like “Controversial”, “stridently partisan”, and maybe “gaffe-prone”.   More to the point?  A “sharp-tongued” Republican would be “contibuting to the nasty partisanship” around the Capitol.

But he’s a DFLer in Minnesota.   He was just a character, one that the reporters could always get a cutesy quote from.

Ryan Winkler is the poster child for the Minnesota media’s double standard.

Governor Congeniality

Senator Thompson – who will be a guest on the NARN on Saturday – pretty well nailed the Governor’s tantrum:

And Andy Aplikowski, on Facebook, made the sterling point that Governor Dayton is touring the state trying to convince Minnesotans he “cares about children”…

…with his Lieutenant Governor, Tina Flint-Smith, former executive butcherette of Planned Parenthood (aka “The Vandalia Abattoir”).

Impulse Control

This past week has been a really, really bad one for Governor Dayton and anyone who thinks he’s ready for prime time as a governor.

First, it the promise (since delivered) of a veto of the K-12 E-12 bill over a few hundred million in spending that a bipartisan majority in the Legislature had already turned down (in support of a program that nobody but Education Minnesota really wants).

And now?   He’s accusing Republicans of “hating teachers”.

Which certainly perked up my ears, what with having a father, two grandparents and a little sister who’ve been teachers.

Oh, yeah – Sondra Erickson, also a teacher, was not amused:

 Rep. Sondra Erickson, R-Princeton, who chairs the House Education Policy Committee said Dayton should apologize for the remark.

In a statement, Erickson said:

“As a public school teacher with nearly four decades in public school classrooms, I am disappointed with Governor Dayton’s disrespectful remarks. Minnesotans expect their public officials to respectfully debate the issues facing our state without resorting to personal attacks. Republicans and Democrats passed a bipartisan budget that underscored our commitment to students and teachers including significant investments in proven early learning programs. Teachers deserve nothing but great respect because of their dedication to prepare our children with knowledge and skills for the future. Closing the achievement gap requires only the highest regard for those who teach and lead our children. I respectfully request that the governor apologize for his remarks.”

Of course, he’s not going to do it.  I fact, look for them to double down.

Because that’s page 1 of the Democrat messaging handbook.  Question how veterans benefits are paid for?  ”Why do Republicans hate veterans?”.

Dispute global warming?  ”Why do Republicans hate science?”.

Don’t like abortion, and think identity feminism has done a lot of damage?  ”It’s a war on women!”.

Push back against a pork-barrel program that will at best do nothing useful for the vast majority of kids, but will plump up Education Minnesota’s and the DFL’s coffers?  ”Republicans hate teachers!”.

And the thing is, 40-odd percent of Minnesota voters are stupid enough to buy it.

Why would he apologize?

Make My Day

Here’s the good news: over the weekend, an overwhelming, bipartisan majority of Republicans and Democrats, in both the House and Senate, voted for the public safety omnibus bill as finalized by the conference committee.

How overwhelming was the majority?

Here’s how overwhelming:

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That is a veto proof majority in both the House and the DFL-controlled Senate.

How important is this? This bill will:

  • Abolish the capital felony trap – by recognizing that the Capitol police have instant access to the database of carry permit holders, just like every other cop in the state of Minnesota.
  • Bar the governor for ordering the confiscation of firearms during emergencies. The governor of Minnesota has immense, wide-sweeping emergency powers, almost completely unregulated by law. This will prevent the situation that new Orleans residents ran into after Hurricane Katrina, with government officials and police going door-to-door to confiscate firearms, rendering citizens defenseless in the face of looters.
  • Legalize the ownership of federally licensed suppressors – mufflers for guns.
  • Allow Minnesotans to buy a long arms from non-contiguous states.
  • Make Minnesota permits reciprocal with many more neighboring states. This is great if you, hypothetically, constantly wind up having to stop at gas stations in Moorhead or East Grand Forks, to avoid inadvertently becoming a felon in North Dakota. Again, hypothetically.

So that’s the good news.

The Bad News – Governor Flint- Smith Dayton has said that he will veto the bill, over the suppressor provision.

Of course, the photo above – the votes for a bipartisan, vetoproof majority passing the bill – might give Governor Flint-Smith Dayton pause. Getting a veto overridden is embarrassing.

You know what else would give her him pause?

We’ll talk about that at noon.

 

Governor Dayton’s Priorities

Governor Flint-Smith Dayton is threatening to veto the budget deal over the lower level of funding promised for pre-kindergarten.

I’m not sure that our legislature – much less our governor – is smart enough to fight the battle based on something like “what’s best for children”…

…but in case any legislators are focused on that, psychology and even teachers are starting to think that jamming down academics with young children is at best of no value, and at worst counterproductive in the long run:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/freedom-learn/201505/early-academic-training-produces-long-term-harm (I’ve added emphasis):

A number of well-controlled studies have compared the effects of academically oriented early education classrooms with those of play-based classrooms (some of which are reviewed here, in an article by Nancy Carlsson-Paige, Geralyn McLaughlin,and Joan Almon).[1] The results are quite consistent from study to study: Early academic training somewhat increases children’s immediate scores on the specific tests that the training is aimed at (no surprise), but these initial gains wash out within 1 to 3 years and, at least in some studies, are eventually reversed. Perhaps more tragic than the lack of long-term academic advantage of early academic instruction is evidence that such instruction can produce long-term harm, especially in the realms of social and emotional development.

When you start regimenting kids bright and early, is it a surprise they grow up less able to think for themselves?

For example, in the 1970s, the German government sponsored a large-scale comparison in which the graduates of 50 play-based kindergartens were compared, over time, with the graduates of 50 academic direct-instruction-based kindergartens.[2] Despite the initial academic gains of direct instruction, by grade four the children from the direct-instruction kindergartens performed significantly worse than those from the play-based kindergartens on every measure that was used. In particular, they were less advanced in reading and mathematics and less well adjusted socially and emotionally. At the time of the study, Germany was gradually making a switch from traditional play-based kindergartens to academic ones. At least partly as a result of the study, Germany reversed that trend; they went back to play-based kindergartens. Apparently, German educational authorities, at least at that time, unlike American authorities today, actually paid attention to educational research and used it to inform educational practice.

Of course, universal “free” Pre-K isn’t about educating children, much less making them grow up to be better, happier, smarter people.

It’s about providing more jobs for Governor Flint-Smith’s Dayton’s biggest contributors, and thereby more dues for the DFL.

Universal pre-K may be the best possible advertisement for home schooling.

Perspective

While legalizing firearm suppressors has gotten most of the attention this legislative session, I think the most vital part of the Public Safety Omnibus bill is Rep. Newberger’s “Katrina Bill”, which would bar the state government from confiscating citizens’ firearms during a state of emergency.

How important is this?  As we speak, in Maryland, the government is clamping down on the availability of ammunition…

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…which is another way of making civilian firearms useless.  Of course, during Hurricane Katrina, the local police went door-to-door, confiscating firearms.  Current Minnesota law allows the state governnment even more-onerous leeway than Maryland law.

And a quick note to the “Minnesota” gun groups that advocate focusing only on “Constitutional Carry”; even if that were to pass, it wouldn’t affect state emergency powers.

This bill needs to pass.

Intended Consequences

Remember when the Minnesota DFL made all sorts of noises about wanting people to quit smoking?

Apparently they only want them to quit the right way.  Lyle Koenen (DFL), has introduced a bill (SF 2025) that would jack up taxes on e-cigarette vapor products by 800%.

Clearly, the goal is to try to gut sales of e-cigarettes – which would seem to be cutting into the state’s lucrative racket, picking the pockets of tobacco users.

It’s very worth a call to your legislator.  Ask them why they want to drive people back to tobacco.

At The Capitol

It’s been a big couple of days at the Minnesota State Capitol for Second Amendment supporters.

Yesterday, the House Public Safety Committee passed all or parts of four bills as part of the Public Safety Omnibus bill:

  • HF830 (Lucero), the Interstate Purchase bill (legalizing buying firearms from states that aren’t contiguous to Minnesota.  I bet you didn’t know that was illegal?)
  • HF372 (Nash), which would abolish the capitol felony trap (the requirement to notify the head of Capitol Security if you’re a permittee who’s carrying is obsolete and serves only to dangle the threat of a felony over otherwise law-abiding citizens)
  • HF722 (Newberger), perhaps the most important of all, the Katrina bill, barring state government from seizing firearms during a “state of emergency”.

It’s an omnibus bill – which means when it goes to the Senate, the bills have a decent chance of either passing, or putting a lot of DFL senators on record as anti-gun extremists. While the majority in the Senate is pro-Human-Rights (even the DFLers), most of the committees are controlled by anti-gun extremists like Ron Latz.

Now, here’s the big part; tomorrow, the House is voting on four stand-alone bills.  Yes, it’s redundant to the omnibus bill; it’s theatrics, to show the Senate (and governor, and the media) how much popular support these bills have.

They’ll be voting on Lucero, Nash and Newberger’s bills, as well as Mark Anderson’s bill  (HF1434) to allow Minnesotans to put mufflers on their guns and preserve their hearing, as they do in 39 other, smarter states.

Here’s The Deal:  The debate and vote are at 3PM tomorrow.  If you can make it down to the Capitol at 3, preferably wearing a maroon shirt, ideally a GOCRA t-shirt (or anything but camouflage, basically); it’d be great to show the House (and the Senate) that we’re serious.  We always do.

There’s a decent chance these bills can pass – and leave the Human Rights movement in a better position to further expand the rights of the law-abiding in future sessions.

The Elmer Gantries

When it comes to Second Amendment rights groups, I’ve always said “let a thousand flowers bloom”.

You prefer to fight the national fight by proxy?  Send your $35 to the NRA.  Want to get more into the thick of things nationally?  Contribute to the Second Amendment Foundation.

Wanna affect what happens in the Minnesota legislature?  Support GOCRA.  Wanna affect who gets elected to the Legislature?  Support MNGOPAC.  Feel like taking it to the streets?  The Twin Cities Carry Forum is the place to go.

If you want to donate money to an organization that seems to have little tie to Minnesota, that is closely linked to a network of similar organizations that seem to do more harm than good in the legislature in other states (Iowa, Colorado and Mississippi), which probably means it’s a good thing all that Minnesota fundraising has no visible impact in the Legislature itself?

A bipartisan group of pro-Second-Amendment legislators would like to have a word with you about that:

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This bipartisan group of legislators, most of whom have been key leaders in pushing back the Bloomberg-financed gun grab bills, are urging you not to be fooled.

Now, I’ve written a bit about “Minnesota Gun Rights”, as well as “Iowa Gun Owners” and the “National Association of Gun Rights” in the past year and a half.  And I get two questions about the subject:

  • “Berg, aren’t you connected with GOCRA?  Isn’t this just trying to thin out the competition?”:  I’m “connected” with just about everyone in the Second Amendment movement.  I network like a madman.  Hello – I’m a blogger and talk show host; I go where the info is. And no – “competition” is good, where the goal is “who can be the first to drag Governor Flint-Smith kicking and screaming to the table to sign the legislation we want”.  As I believe I and the sixteen oversigned legislators have established, MGR isn’t really competing on that front.
  • “MGR stands for Constitutional Carry – GOCRA, the NRA and MNGOPAC don’t.  If we pass Constitutional Carry, we won’t need any of the other legislation.  Why waste time?”:  That’s a little like saying I’m swearing off dating until Morena Baccarin returns my calls.  I mean, if I get into a position where Morena Baccarin returns my calls, great – but until I do (and I’m not), what then?    Saying “We’ll accept nothing but Constitutional Carry, and any lesser legislation merely accedes to government’s power to regulate  your God-given right to self-defense”.  Which is true – in a philosophical sense.  The law is not philosophy.  If the Minnesota gun movement had adopted that idea in 1994, we’d still be begging our police chiefs for carry permits, mostly in vain.  And the simple fact is, until we get a pro-Second Amendment governor, and legislatures that are not just mostly pro-Second Amendment (as they are today) but very strongly so, we’re not going to get Constitutional Carry.  Minnesota is not Arizona or Wyoming or Alaska.  By the way, passing Constitutional Carry won’t solve many of the other gun related issues – like reciprocity, the Capitol felony trap, or the right to purchase in non-contiguous states.  It just won’t.
  • “Isn’t ‘Shall Issue’ just a moneymaker for the carry permit instructors that run GOCRA?”:  No more so than fund-raising over a pie-in-the-sky proposal that is years away from passage, assuming everything goes perfectly from an electoral perspective (which Minnesota Gun  Rights is doing absolutely nothing to assure).

More later.

Clearly All Of Minnesota’s Problems Have Been Solved

Because they have time for this:

A bipartisan Minnesota House proposal suggests the engraving on a statute of Christopher Columbus should be edited. It now reads “Discoverer of America.” The proposal says it should be re-written to read, “Landed in America.”

The bill is sponsored by DFLer John Persell, of Bemidji.  Who, to be fair, may be (fairly and accurately) representing for his Norwegian constituents, who may prefer to honor North America’s actual European discoveror, Leif Ericson.

Still.  They have the time for this?

Break Out Your Maroon Shirts

Tonight, and Thursday morning, the legislature is going to be debating a bill – HF722, sponsored by representative Jim Newburger – which would prevent government from confiscating civilian firearms during states of emergency.

This is no idle worry; after Hurricane Katrina, the police went door to door through the storm ravaged neighborhoods, confiscating peoples firearms, leaving them helpless in the face of looters and thugs.

There are going to be two rounds of hearings:

  • Tonight at 6 PM, in the Civil Law committee. This will be in room 500, at the State office building. You can park for free in lot AAA, at Aurora and rice, after 4 PM – and meters are generally open along John Ireland Boulevard after business hours, too.
  • Thursday morning at 10:15 AM in the Public Safety committee. This will be in room 10 at the state office building.

Second Amendment humans rights advocates are on the offensive, this session – but that doesn’t mean anything is a shoe in. Showing up at hearings, or calling your legislators, is still essential.  Maybe moreso than ever.

Any DFLer who votes against this bill is essentially tipping their hand; they won’t “waste a crisis”, and if offered the chance will use that crisis as an excuse to extort firearms from the law abiding citizen. They need to be held accountable for this 2016

Orwell Would Puke…

,,,at this proposal, from the usual assortment of Metrocrat hamsters.  It may be the worst anti-gun bill, and the most toxic attack on civil liberty, in recent years.

It would essentially allow any cop or domestic violence victim to claim you brandished a firearm and have the authorities remove all firearms from your house and person.

Without even a hint of due process.

I say again; without even a plaintive whiff of due process.

Now, this bill is DOA in the House; Tony Cornish, a legislator who makes Ted Nugent look like Oprah Winfrey on Second Amendment issues, is chair of the Public Safety Committee; the DFL may as well deliver the bill directly to the paper shredder.

So why do it at all?

Politics:  Because Ron “Did You Know I Went To Harvard?” Latz is running the show in the Senate public safety committee, so it’s pretty much guaranteed a floor vote.  Which means a bunch of GOP senators will be on the record with “no” votes, which will be dutifully relayed during the 2016 campaign as “Senator X voted to give firearms to domestic abusers and people who threatened cops!” by the Alliance for a “Better” Minnesota.

That’s my two cents worth, of course; I have no doubt that Ron Latz would love to send SWAT teams to the home of every law-abiding gun owner on principle, but the political realities don’t support it right now.

We’ll keep you posted.

UPDATE: GOCRA is taking this bill very seriously, and so should you:

Everyone has moments in life where things seem hopeless. A death in the family, a job loss, PTSD from military service, a divorce… Responsible gun owners know that a doctor or psychologist can help. But this bill would encourage doctors to trick you into signing away your rights!

Imagine: there you are. You’re hurting. You go see a professional. He listens, then says he can help. He gives you a pile of forms to sign. Buried among them is a form created by this bill — one that puts you on the NICS no-buy list. “Voluntarily.”

Call your legislator. Tell them this bill needs to be killed with fire.

It’s Go Week

This is going to be a big week at the legislature for Second Amendment bills; five vitally important gun rights bills are going to be hitting the legislature in the next week.

End The Trap: Currently, you have to notify the head of capitol security if you are a carry permittee who wishes to carry at any building in the Capitol complex – the Capitol, the office buildings, and even the Minnesota history center, across the freeway. This is what’s called a “felony trap” – an obscure law which happens to be a felony. It’s also obsolete; it made sense, back when carry permits were cardboard chits carried in the wallet, and police didn’t have instant access to computers. But today they do; police can validate a carry permit as fast as they can validate a drivers license these days. This law serves only to trip up people who aren’t clairvoyant about the law, and it needs to go away. Representative Jim Nash Will be introducing a capitol carry bill today,

End The Other Trap: Did you know that it was illegal to buy a gun in a state not directly bordering Minnesota? I’m pretty up on the law, and I didn’t know this. But it’s true – if you buy a firearm from a state other than Minnesota, the Dakotas, Iowa or Wisconsin, you have to transfer it through a federally-licensed firearms dealer. It’s a stupid law, and another felony trap, and it needs to go. And go it shall, if the bill be introduced by Representative Lucero passes into law. Lucero is introducing the bill tomorrow.

Secure In Your Homes A lot of urban legends sprang up in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. One that was all too real? On government orders, the police went door-to-door, confiscating firearms and leaving the remaining citizens disarmed and helpless in the face of looters and gangs. And the fact is, Gov. Dayton could order the same confiscation after any sort of disaster, here in Minnesota, today. Heck, he could order firearms confiscated if he sees the walls pulsing in his office. Representative Newberger is introducing a bill on Thursday that will restrict governments emergency power to confiscate guns from the law-abiding citizen.

A Right of the People – The vast majority of states have a state constitutional provision echoing and reinforcing the US Constitution’s Second Smendment guarantee of the right to keep and bear arms to the people. It’s not redundant; states have Powers reserved to them by the constitution, and it’s good to make sure that they are enumerated. Representative Hackbarth will hopefully be introducing an amendment to the Minnesota state constitution this week.

Noise – if you drive your car without a muffler, you get a ticket. But if you try to put a muffler on your gun – to forestall the hearing loss that can accompany the noise involved in shooting – it’s a state felony.

Minnesota is one of very, very few states that bands civilian ownership of firearm suppressors. They’re called “silencers” by people who know nothing about firearms; they don’t “silence” anything. In fact, a suppressed firearm is still fully detectable I shot spotter, which is the police’s Big beef with the proposal to allow suppressors. They are governed by federal law – it requires a federal license to own a suppressor, so it’s not like this bill will open them up to criminals. Indeed, there has never been a confirmed crime committed using a suppressor of any kind, much less he legally owned one. Ever. Outside the movies, anyway. Hopefully, there will be a bill legalizing federally licensed suppressors in Minnesota next week.

All of you Second Amendment supporters, need to get your dialing finger is Limbird up. We’re going to have all sorts of work to do.

By the way – after this last two sessions, it’s nice to be on the offensive again, isn’t it?

Pay Up For Your Rights

Up until 1974, Minnesotans didn’t need a permit, or a sheriff’s permission, or a card costing $100, to exercise their Second Amendment right to carry a firearm. Minnesotans could carry anything they wanted, subject to their criminal record; they could do it anywhere they wanted to subject to their senses of etiquette.

From 1974 to 2005, Minnesotans had to beg, convince, or suck up to their local police chief to exercise their Second Amendment rights. And since 2004, Minnesotans have had to pay for the privilege of having Minnesota law-enforcement try to prove they weren’t legally entitled to exercise their Second Amendment rights.

So over the context of the past 40 years, things are moving generally in the right direction.

But there is a proposal of footage, floating around somewhere in the legislature, to adopt “Constitutional Carry” – as several other states around the union have. Constitutional Carry means that any law-abiding citizen can carry a firearm, openly or concealed, as long as they don’t have a criminal record that would deny that ride.

Not only is that exactly the way Minnesota law stood before 1974 – it is, in effect, exactly the way it is today; The law abiding jump through hoops to exercise their right to carry, and criminals carry anyway. Just as they did before 1974.

The actual record is clear and unequivocal; law-abiding citizens in Minnesota are phenomenally unlikely, statistically, to commit any kind of crime of all:

I think the proposal is a good one; Gov. Dayton will veto it, of course, but before that we will get some votes on the table before 2016.

But after 40 years of having to pay, and submit to scrutiny, to exercise our God given constitutional rights, I think we need to have a proposal with more teeth to it.

I think we need a Mandatory Carry law.

Under my law, all law-abiding citizens over the age of 21 will be required to have a firearm on their person.

Now, anyone who doesn’t want to have a firearm will be able to exercise that right – by getting a “Permit to Not Carry”. This permit can be gotten one of two ways:

  • Pay $100 to your local county sheriff to obtain a Permit Not to Carry,
  • Applying to your county sheriff, with proof you have reason not to carry a firearm.

I think that would be perfectly fair. Or, at least, bring a form of Justice after this past 40 years.

Money In Politics: Talk Dirty To The DFL

The DFL is in the midst of an extended campaign of sniveling about the amount of money in politics.

A look at this list of independent expenditures registered from the 10 Minnesota House races that flipped last election shows you why:

The DFL spent more.  Sometimes a helluvva lot more.  And it didn’t work.

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Courtesy John Rouleau of the MN Jobs Coalition, via Twitter.

The candidate with the most indy spending in each race is color-flagged.

Of 10 races, DFL groups outspent GOP groups in eight of them, notching a little over 10% more independent spending.  And that doesn’t even tell the whole story.

  • Remember all the whining Zach Dorholt did the Twin Cities media did on Zach Dorhold’s behalf about big money in his district?  His independent expenditures were 20% higher than Knoblach’s.
  • The GOP spent more on Peggy Bennet than the DFL wasted on Shannon Savick – by about $4,000.  That speaks to what a terrible campaign Savick ran, and what a lousy term she had in office – and the power of the grass roots that turned out to bounce her.  Don’t screw with the Second Amendment outstate!
  • On the other hand – Erickson vs. Hancock (over 2:1 in favor of the DFLer) and Fritz vs. Daniel (almost 3:1 for the DFL?)  Holy cow.
  • Against that, the GOP indies only outspent the DFL in two of the flips; the Bennet/Savick race, as already noted, and a 15% margin in the Heintzelman/Ward race.

So no wonder the DFL is so concerned about rationing money in politics; theirs didn’t work.  They need less competition.

Petition

Senate File 32, as proposed by Senator Branden Petersen in the current session, would basically reiterate the Fourth Amendment…

…which is good, because the last couple of Presidents, going back to Clinton, have put the Fourth Amendment on life support.

The bill would require law enforcement and prosecutors to show legitimate probably cause before doing any electronic eavesdropping.

Senator Ron Latz, of course, controls the Senate Judiciary Committee.  And he apparently believes that if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.

Please sign this petition urging Senator Latz to bring the bill up in committee for an up or down vote.

Because it would be good to know where our Senators stand on privacy and, y’know, freedom.

 

Golf Clap

The House GOP caucus is making some encouraging noises these days; speaker of the house Kurt Daudt is putting the kibosh, for the session, on funding for the Southwest light rail pork train:

Daudt said the 16 mile light rail line is not a priority for House Republicans .

“We are not interested in moving forward on the Southwest light rail project. I think we need to get real with our priorities in Minnesota on how we spend our transportation dollars. Our plan is to spend them on roads and bridges.”

Gov. Mark Dayton said he isn’t willing to fund the Southwest Light Rail project until the Minneapolis Park Board’s objections are resolved. The park board is funding a study to determine whether a deeper, more expensive tunnel is a better option to protect city parkland than the Metropolitan Council’s plan that features a shallow tunnel.

Sen. Scott Dibble, DFL-Minneapolis, said Senate Democrats are committed to funding the project.

Dibble, who chairs the Senate Transportation Committee, released his transportation funding package today. It would rely on $800 million in new revenue through a wholesale gas tax hike, and higher license tab fees. The plan also borrows $576 million for new roads and bridges and includes a half cent sales tax in the metro area to pay for transportation projects.

It’s good to see the House GOP come out of the gate taking a serious stance on something.  It’d have been nice to have seen more of this during, say, the Vikings Stadium jamdown, but better late than never.

More importantly?   The GOP controls half of a third of Minnesota’s government.  We get it – negotiation and compromise is going to be involved.  But it’s so good to hear House GOP leadership smell the coffee, and stop leading negotiations with the “compromise”.

Status Quo Ante

While this blog has repeatedly referred to Sally Jo Sorenson of Bluestem Prairie as “one of about five Minnesota liberal bloggers that don’t deserve police surveillance” – not the highest compliment I can give, but the highest warranted under the circumstances – one should not presume that I agree that Ms. Sorenson will go out of her way to tell a story that the DFL doesn’t want, or  pay to have, told.

So with yesterday’s post about the Minnesota Senate “tightening” media credentialing rules, which was signal for including just the bits that fit the DFL’s narrative about media and communications:

Via David Montgomery’s post at the Pioneer Press’s Political Animal blog, MN Senate tightens rules for press credentials and The Uptake’s MN Senate Tightens Media Credential Rule, we learn that ““individuals affiliated with a political organization” can no longer be credentialled as journalists or keep their press pass at the Minnesota Senate.

Now, the mainstream press is noplace to get information about this issue, since they’ve been blissfully above it all from the beginning.  And the Uptake has a bit of a conflict of interest, as it was the DFL’s favoritism toward them (they gave credentials to the stridently partisan Uptake, but denied them to conservatives) in 2010 that led to the whole “Senate Media Rules” fracas in the first place.

Back when the GOP took over the Senate in 2011, then-Senate-GOP-comms guy Michael Brodkorb convened a working group to come up with new rules for media credentialing.  I was part of the group, along with David Brauer.  And we did a really good job; they were among the best, fairest rules in the country, balancing the investment the big mainstream media outlets had made in coverage with the access for alternative media sources.

And to prevent the system from being hijacked by the parties, the rules barred people who were on party payrolls from getting credendialed.  Period.

In 2013, the DFL took control of the Senate:

Montgomery reports:

That’s a pretty broad definition, but the background appears to be related to a blogger named Shawn Towle, who received a Senate press pass while also being paid by the Senate DFL.

Republican senators made a stink about Towle in April of 2014, putting out a press release accusing DFL leader Tom Bakk of “secret payments” to Towle.

Introducing the proposed change today, Bakk described it as “something the rules committee had considerable conversation about near the end of the session last year.”

In other words, Bakk is reiterating the process that we came up with in 2011.  With a great deal of noise, he returned the Senate to the rules it had before.

Thank goodness.

One presumes that the DFL will find some way to sneak Towle, their favorite hit-piece writer, into the room – but it’ll be the traditional Democrat way; rules be damned!

And that is the rest of the story.  

Marching Orders

As we get ready for tomorrow’s beginning of the 2015 Legislative session, Senator Dave Hann gave the state a pretty fair look at conservative GOP priorities in an open letter to Governor Flint-Smith…er, Dayton in the PiPress over the weekend.

The whole thing is worth a read.  I’m going to pullquote the bit on education, which sounds like a little Scott Walker might just at long last be leaking across the border, thank God:>

Republicans will also be ready to consider bolder ideas and reforms such as breaking up our large urban school districts into smaller and more nimble organizations, able to better focus on solving our persistent achievement gap. Empowering parents and local school boards through public-employee-union rules reform and expanded school choice options are tools other states are using effectively. Every year there is talk about closing the achievement gap. But the policy of the DFL is always the same: increase spending. Every year we get the same results: flat or declining achievement. It borders on criminal to tell half the parents in Minneapolis we’ve improved education by providing more expensive schools from which their children will not graduate.

The whole letter is music to my ears – provided the GOP delivers on it (and prevails over the DFL majorities in the Senate and Governor Flint-Smith’s…er, Dayton’s partisan obstruction.

Hann was silent about the elephant in the room (for conservatives, at least), and perhaps justifiably so, from his perspective; the need for the GOP majority in the House to hold, or at least work hard to try to hold, the line on spending – especially the mindless pork-mongering that marred the GOP’s generally decent performance in the majority in the 2011 and 2012 sessions.

Wanna fire up the base?  Get the House caucus to chug a down some of whatever Scott Walker has for breakfast, sack up, and tell Governor Flint-Smith…er, Dayton where to put those proposed spending increases; show the “targeted tax breaks” (aka, swag to DFL constituencies) off to a place where the sun rarely shines.

Be, in short, what you were elected to be.  You were sent to office over the peoples’ revulsion over tax hikes, spending orgies, losing our doctors and our clinics and spending days signing up for MNSure, union money-grubbing from childcare and home care providers, and building useless trains while our roads flake away into impassability.

Remember that. Seriously.

 

Targeted

H2O –  two atoms of hydrogen and one of oxygen – makes water.  You drink a lot of it daily.

H2O2 is Hydrogen Peroxide.  It just adds an extra oxygen atom – but if you drink it, you’ll get sick; it’s toxic.

They lookalmost the same – but they are very different, just with the addition of that one little Oxygen atom.

Little changes mean a lot.

Like Crack Whores With A Stolen Credit Card: Minnesota has a “billion dollar surplus” – meaning that the state is on track to take in about a billion dollars more than even the DFL planned to take in after jacking taxes up by two billion dollars in the last two sessions.

Now, back in the nineties, we had surplus after surplus after surplus.  And the largely DFL-controlled legislature, aided and abetted by Governor Arne Carlson (who was an old-school “moderate” Republican, who’d probably be a “moderate” DFLer today, if any such thing existed), turned every single one of them into permanent spending – which is a little like finding a $50 bill on the street, and adding $50 to your monthly entertainment budget as a result.

But it’s a new year, and another decade.

Notwithstanding the fact that the GOP wave largely skipped Minnesota (except for the House races in Greater Minnesota), the aftereffects are still being felt in Saint Paul.  There’s less of the triumphalistic talk about equalizing society through taxation that the DFL gave us in the last two sessions.

It’s Such An Innocent Little Word: But make no mistake; the DFL wants to turn the surplus into spending.

They’ll call it “targeted tax relief”.

The phrase is a clever one; it includes the phrase “tax relief”, so the average Minnesotan will see “tax relief”,and assume that their taxes are going to be, y’know, relieved.

But “targeted” is to “tax relief” as “extra Oxygen atom” is to “water”:  it turns it from an unalloyed good into a cudgel of DFL social engineering.

Governor Flint-Smith Dayton has her his fingerprints on some of it:

DFL Gov. Mark Dayton’s already made it clear that child care tax credits are on his list.

Currently, about 38,000 families receive the credit. Dayton said he wants to lift the income eligibility to include 137,000 more families. He said the cost would be $175 million over two years.

“The state program is capped very low and phases out very quickly,” Dayton said. “It really doesn’t reach working middle-income, one- and two-parent families. Talk about tax reduction that benefits the middle class — that to me is probably one of the most significant things we can do.”

And isn’t that just like the state of Minnesota – spend two years trying to force daycare providers into AFSCME, and then making taxpayers pay for it again?

Just Hand It Over: In the meantime, Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk has different ideas:

Bakk said tax reductions will compete with other spending proposals during the budget-writing session, and he said the final product won’t satisfy everyone. He said he favors tax relief targeted to economic development in struggling areas of the state.

And by “struggling areas of the state”, he means the Iron Range, which after 50 years of being put out of business by DFL policy still votes DFL, and wants the rest of the state to pay for it.

Anyway – “targeted tax cuts” are to “tax cuts” as “H202″ is to “H20″; they are another term for “payoff for DFL constituencies”.

How Can You Tell “Moms Want Action” Is Lying?

Oh, please.  Like I even need to finish the punch line.

But some of you have been under rocks for a while (vide Governor Messinger’s Flint Smith’s Dayton’s re-election).  So for your benefit:

“Their lips are moving, and/or their fingers are typing something”. 

To wit:  Moms Want Action sent out a post-election thank-you to their supporters (and quite a few Real Americans who get their updates as well):

Many thanks to those of you who made hundreds of phone calls in support of Sen Al Franken. His re-election means that both of our US senators are lawmakers who support gun-sense legislation. Gun violence prevention was not a major campaign theme for any federal candidate, [And why do you suppose that is? - Ed.] although a few did mention it. Notably, US. Rep. Betty McCollum’s campaign materials called it out, and state attorney general candidate Andy Dawkins of the Green Party did, too (McCollum won re-election; Dawkins failed to unseat Lori Swanson)

Side note:  Betty McCollum runs in a district that would elect a wheelbarrow full of manure to Congress, if the DFL endorsed it. 

And what Moms Want Action failed to tell you is that while Lori Swanson may be an interventionist, activist who’s continued her predecessor and mentor Mike Hatch’s policies on nattering away at private business, she is one of the better state AGs in the country on gun rights.  So the Moms would be more honest to say that the pro-gun candidate utterly destroyed the only AG candidate who explicitly mentioned support for gun control and the Bloomberg Oompa-Loompas. 

But here’s the big one.  I’m bolding it for emphasis:

All of Everytown’s endorsed candidates in Minnesota won re-election. Yay!

Oh, did they? 

Follow the link to Everytown’s extraordinarily badly-designed site.  Look for “Filter by State”, and select “Minnesota”. 

Scroll down. 

Do you see Will Morgan?   “Moms Want Action”/”Everytown” offered him endorsement; the then-incumbent was arrogant enough to figure he didn’t need the votes of pro-2nd-Amendment Real Americans to win in District 56B. 

And Roz Peterson absolutely brutalized him with an eight point upset win.

So what is it we say, again?

“If a gun-grabber group says it, it’s probably a lie”. 

Pass the word.