April showers bring… budget bills!
We’ve got a lot to talk about, Minnesotans. Legislators are back after break, and we’re back with the Weekly WTF. Let’s get into it:
“No Big Thing”
Minnesota is the only state that hasn’t fully authorized federal funds for election security, which leaves our state more vulnerable to cyberattacks on our elections. Iowa took the full amount. The Dakotas took the full amount. Wisconsin took the full amount for crying out loud.
Secretary of State Steve Simon has stressed the need for the full amount. So why hasn’t Minnesota authorized it? Because Republican Senator Mary Kiffmeyer, chairwoman of the Senate’s State Government Finance and Policy and Elections Committee, isn’t too worried about hacking:
“People are being hacked all the time. You’re being hacked all the time, I am. This is no big thing.”
We would bet that most Minnesotans would disagree. Minnesota is proud to be a state with consistently high voter turnout, and that is a very big thing. We want to make sure that our elections are fair, safe, and secure.
Maybe Senator Kiffmeyer could have heard from the Minnesotans who want to know that their elections are safe and secure, but unfortunately, no Republicans showed up to hear the bill in committee. Again.
Blocking the measures that Minnesotans care about
Minnesotans want gun violence prevention so they can feel safer in our schools and communities. Minnesotans want driver’s licenses for all to keep our roads safer and help our neighbors, no matter where they come from, live with some peace of mind. Minnesotans want to know that our equal rights will be guaranteed, regardless of our gender. Minnesotans want paid safe, sick, and family leave so our financial stability isn’t threatened while we’re caring for ourselves or an ailing loved one.
DFLers are trying to do right by Minnesotans. Meanwhile, Republicans are blocking all of those measures, and then some. In fact, Republicans went so far as to vote that gun violence prevention measures are “not germane,” or irrelevant, to public safety. If that’s not public safety, what is?
STILL attacking safe, legal abortion and reproductive care
Republicans have been trying to restrict access to safe, legal abortion all session. So it’s no surprise that Senate Republicans are now trying to sneak an unconstitutional 20-week abortion ban into their budget bill.
In the House, Republicans tried to add radical anti-choice amendments to the Health and Human Services Budget bill, which, thanks to DFLers, did not pass.
Republicans continue to try to villainize and shame women for making informed choices about their health and wellness. In truth, bans like these hurt Minnesotans like Tippy, who made the impossible choice to end her pregnancy when her life was at risk.
Minnesotans like Tippy and her doctor don’t deserve to be punished. Why do Republicans keep pushing this awful rhetoric?
Turning a blind eye to the facts
Climate change is real, and it’s happening right now. While DFLers are working to protect our environment and create more jobs in the fast-growing field of clean energy, 50 Republicans in the House voted to deny that climate change is caused by humans.
Minnesotans want to pass on a cleaner environment to the next generation, but Republicans are refusing to acknowledge that there’s anything we can do.
“I’m not homophobic but…”
Yesterday, the House debated an amendment to the Health and Human Services (HHS) budget, authored by DFLer Hunter Cantrell, to ban conversion therapy for young LGBTQ+ Minnesotans. The amendment passed with support from the LGBTQ+ community and medical experts, but not without some… interesting commentary… from Republicans.
Rep Glenn Gruenhagen, who has a history of anti-trans tirades on the floor, encouraged a no vote on the amendment, but it’s chill, because some of his friends are “former homosexuals.”
Yeah. He really said that.
Voting against life-saving measures
The House Health and Human Services Bill, passed last night, includes measures to protect Minnesota’s health care access fund, stand up to Big Pharma, and provide affordable health care to Minnesotans. One of those is the Alec Smith Emergency Insulin Act, named for a hardworking young Minnesotan who died because he couldn’t afford his insulin. This portion of the bill would set up an emergency fund for diabetes patients so Minnesotans who find themselves in a bind can still access the life-saving insulin they need.
I’ve had photo of Alec on my desk since session began. Today I had honor to share his story & vote yes on Alec Smith Emergency Insulin Act. Never again should anyone lose their life because they cannot afford the insulin they need to survive. We must fight for this bill & win. pic.twitter.com/6qJah4TnRs
— Mike Howard (@mikehowardmn) April 26, 2019
Every single Republican voted against the HHS bill. Maybe this has something to do with it…
Erasing Dakota history
Bdote. It’s the Dakota name for the spot where the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers meet, and it’s a place rich with spiritual and historical significance for indigenous Minnesotans. It’s also where Fort Snelling was constructed.
To recognize the importance of the location and indigenous history in the area, the Minnesota Historical Society added “at Bdote” to their Fort Snelling welcome sign. Cool, right?
Not according to Senator Mary Kiffmeyer, who is threatening to slash the Historical Society budget because of the addition. Keep in mind, this is the same Mary Kiffmeyer who thinks hacking is “no big thing,” but wants to gut historic sites and educational programs and force dozens of layoffs because of one Dakota word. Really?
It’s down to the wire. We’re less than one month away from the end of session and Republicans are still standing in the way of the things that Minnesotans care about most. We need to stand up and let Republicans know what really matters in this last month of session. Find out who represents you here.