Legislative Watch, House Edition 1

This will the first in a series of posts keeping an eye on what our state legislators are doing in St. Paul.  We’ll start off looking at our representatives in the State House.

Newcomer Rep. Ernie Leidiger (34A) has been busy signing on as a co-author on 11 bills so far in the session.

The 11 bills are:

H.F. 1:  streamlining permitting processes

H.F. 4:  mandating a 15% reduction in the state workforce

H.F. 5:  implementing a wage freeze for all remaining state employees

H.F. 6:  increasing the penalty for first degree criminal sexual conduct

H.F. 9:  removing the prohibition on planning for new nuclear power plants

H.F. 50:  creating new license plates honoring female veterans

H.F. 89:  requiring photo identification to vote

H.F. 92:  repealing the penalty on school districts who do not reach negotiated agreements with their teacher’s unions

H.F. 103:  modifying eligibility for unemployment benefits

H.F. 187: a constitutional amendment that would require the Legislature to establish a process for replacing members called into active military duty

H.F. 201:  ending public funding of abortion

Rep. Joe Hoppe (34B) thus far has only signed on as an author of H.F. 1.

Let’s talk about a couple of the bills that Leidiger is supporting. 

H.F. 4 (reducing the state’s workforce by 15%) may strike many as a common-sense measure.  We do face a $6.2 billion deficit, after all, and cuts are going to have to be made.  However, setting an arbitrary workforce reduction target without thinking about what services the state government will need to provide is a recipe for disaster.

I sincerely doubt Rep. Leidiger runs his business in such a way, determining how many employees he will hire without regard to how much activity needs to be performed.  The proper way to go about reducing state workforce is to determine the functions that are no longer needed or duplicated in multiple agencies.  Once you know what services you will be providing, then you can determine the correct staffing levels and look for additional savings and efficiencies. 

For all of their talk about bringing private-sector management techniques to state government, Minnesota Republicans sure don’t govern that way.

Meanwhile, H.F. 89, requiring voter ID at the polls on Election Day, is a solution in search of a problem.  There’s no evidence of significant voter fraud in the state.  In fact, nearly every documented case of voter fraud in this state during the past decade can be traced back to felons attempting to vote before completing their probation, many of whom did so because they weren’t notified about the status of their voting rights.  The DFL-controlled Legislature passed a solution supported by every County Attorney in the state during the last legislative session:  send a letter to felons that clearly state whether or not they are eligible to vote.  The Republican Governor vetoed the bill.

And that doesn’t even touch the very real problem that many voters who don’t currently have photo identification (typically the poor and elderly) will be disenfranchised by the law.  This is a law that is designed to discourage people from voting.  Period.  Since when do we as Americans want to keep our citizens out of the democratic process?

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Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. A response to Vince Beaudette « Brick City Blog - February 7, 2011

    […] the January 27 edition of the Chaska Herald, I had a letter to the editor detailing my disagreements with Rep. Ernie Leidiger on his support of H.F. 4 and H.F. 89.  Last week, Vince Beaudette, an officer with the Carver County GOP, fired back with his […]

  2. MN HF264 – The Cheeseburger Bill « Zera's Blog - March 2, 2011

    […] Legislative Watch, House Edition 1 (brickcity.wordpress.com) […]

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