Aren’t the Democrats the ones who complain that their opposition is in the back pocket of lobbyists?
We’ll come back to that.
We’ll also come back to this: until redistricting last February, I spent close to two decades in the old House District 66B, which was represented by long-time DFLer and teachers union mouthpiece Alice Hausman.
Republicans in the district used to call her “Alice The Phantom”, because she was rarely seen out and about in the district, except for the odd photo op. Redistricting put her in 66A – but she’s the same Alice Hausman she ever was.
Like I said, we’ll be back.
I went to the Capitol last night. As usual, the number of pro-Second Amendment people dwarfed the number of orcs – in the overflow room I was in, it was 100 to about five, and that was much closer than it usually gets.
While all of the Republicans on the Public Safety committee stayed through the full three days of testimony, a variety of the DFLers picked up and left the hearings.
Hearings for the bills their people were introducing. Representative Hilstrom, Savick, Schoen, Simonson and Slocum were largely absent from the morning’s testimony – at least, testimony from opponents of the gun grab bills. I’m going to hazard a guess they’re present for the votes.
But more egregiously, Representative Hausman was absent for the readings of both of her gun grab bills – the magazine capacity bill and the “assault weapon” grab. Which is not uncommon in the House; Reps have busy schedules, and it’s not uncommon for other representatives to fill in for them.
So who read Hausman’s gun grab bills?
Heather Martens, “executive director” (and, likely one of about three actual members, and that’s being charitable and assuming that they don’t actually charge to be members) of “Protect Minnesota”.
(No, I’m not kidding. The late Joel Rosenberg used to tell stories of going to “Citizens for a “
Safer” Supine Minnesota meetings – Martens had to rename the group again after what was left of CSM’s credibility evaporated a few years back – where Martens presided over a table with nothing but Second Amendment activist ringers. Not a single actual gun-grabber showed up for these meetings)
Martens – who, as has been noted in this space for the past decade, rarely if ever says a single truthful or factual word about the gun issue in public – read both of the bills to the committee for the record. It’s the job the Representative is supposed to do.
This was brought up to Michael Paymar, the committee chairman. He said it was fairly common for people to fill in for Representatives in front of the committee.
Which may or may not be true, but I’m going to hazard a guess that those people who fill in are almost never registered lobbyists.
I say “almost never”, because it’s against the House of Representatives’ purported “Permanent Rules“:
2.39 EXECUTIVE BRANCH OR LOBBYIST PRESENCE IN COMMITTEE. No House committee, division or subcommittee shall permit any member or staff of the executive branch, registered lobbyist, or lobbyist principal, to be seated at the committee table with members of the House during official proceedings of committees of the House.
“Presenting a bill to the committee” certainly counts as being “seated at the table with members of the House”.
So the facts are these:
- Representative Hausman was absent – according to staff, off doing non-House business – during the introduction of not just one but both of her gun grab bills
- Both of her bills were read by a registered lobbyist
- If a Republican had done this, there’d be an uproar
- BONUS FACT: After all of the DFL’s whinging about “model bills” last year, in an attempt to impugn ALEC, all of the DFL’s gun grab bills are cribbed from legislation in other states, and are pretty obviously not just model bills, but really stupid ones
So there you go, District 66A. Your voice has been given over to a special interest group.
Are you proud today?