What a difference a year makes! Republican majorities were hammered by Democrats and the media when the Legislature discussed defending marriage and implementing voter identification measures—all while we reduced a historic budget deficit and made great strides for the private economy.
Yet now, the new Democrat majorities are concentrating their efforts and have spent—and will be spending—hours upon hours of committee time on similar social issues, in addition to bills that dramatically increase spending and expand our dependency on the federal government.
Let’s take a look at the Democrats’ priorities within 40 days of taking charge of the Legislature, all before providing a budget proposal:
Gun Control: House Democrats disrupted a week’s worth of committee hearings to hold testimony on several gun control bills that would re-define what firearms Minnesotans could possess. Under these proposals, the only way one could keep a “disqualified” firearm would be to render it inoperable, turn it over to law enforcement, sell it in another state, or register it and allow the police to enter one’s home to check on lawful compliance.
It just so happened that President Obama came to town the same week touting his anti-gun agenda. It was a well-orchestrated political dance, with the president’s goal to have Minnesota get the ball rolling on massive gun control. Interestingly, the president’s own hometown has some of the most stringent gun laws in the nation, yet in 2012 more people were killed by gunfire in Chicago than the war in Afghanistan.
Gay Marriage: Liberal groups and Democrat legislators held a rally on Valentine’s Day at the Capitol to push for a re-definition of marriage to include same-sex marriage. It’s expected that Democrats will put forward a bill this spring to legalize same-sex marriage.
Remarkably, just as this social issue is a top priority for Democrats at the Capitol, it is also of primary importance to the Capitol press corps and Twin Cities media. At a press conference following Governor Dayton’s State of the State address, business leaders from across Minnesota stood at the ready to answer questions about how the governor’s $3.7 billion tax hike will affect the economy. Instead, the media was obsessed with where Republicans stand on same-sex marriage, prying for details on personal opinions, and ignoring the business leaders.
Dependency on the Federal Government: Minnesota Democrats seem to think that money falls from the sky. Last week on the House floor, the new majority voted to give up some state control of our health care to grab at a federally micro-managed, mandate-ridden, short-term match for expanded welfare. Democrats fail to remember the track record of the federal government, or its $16 trillion debt.
What’s more, a bill that creates one of the most powerful government agencies in state history is flying through committee at break-neck speed, right under the noses of taxpayers. The Dayton Administration has already spent $70 million creating a website for a Health Insurance Exchange (part of Obamacare), and now Democrats are making sure the Exchange’s politically-appointed board, without health industry experts, will not have any legislative oversight or accountability to taxpayers.
Essentially, Democrats are creating a massive bureaucracy that will most likely take control over the health insurance market.
Our economy is finally starting to recover. My question is: Why are Democrats working so hard to go backwards—why do they find it necessary to copy the bad habits of Congress?
As a faithful steward of your taxpayer dollars, I promise to support legislation that is responsible and in your best interests. Let me know what you think about the 2013 Legislative Session. Feel free to contact me at any time!
Ernie Leidiger is the state representative for District 34A.