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While they like to give lip service to being the party of small government, and moan and groan about government over-reach ad nauseum, the GOP is the worst offender for unwarranted intrusion into the lives of citizens minding their own business.  The right is obsessed with controlling our sexual and gender identity, sexual orientation, and reproductive choices, attempting to variously criminalize those decisions, or to make them for us.  These are things which largely cannot be legislated, as gender and sexuality, and individual body autonomy are intrinsic and inherent parts of each human being.  The GOP, particularly the MN GOP, must get out of our bedrooms, our bathrooms, our locker rooms, and our pants.

 
It should be an accepted premise of government that any legislation that interferes with the free will and action of citizens should serve a demonstrated NEED for such legislation.  In the case of the transgender and bathrooms, there have been more instances of Republican politicians arrested for sexual misconduct in bathrooms than there have been documented incidents, much less arrests or convictions, of transgender persons behaving inappropriately or illegally.  One of those GOP pols, Larry Craig, was arrested right here in Minnesota, at the International Airport.

 

As noted by the Intellectualist:

 

According to Media Matters, there haven’t … been any reports of men ‘pretending’ to be transgender to gain access to women’s spaces and commit crimes against them. You know who have been arrested in public bathrooms for sexual misconduct?Republican politicians.
Without even diving too deep, we found three GOP legislators who were picked up for lavatory indiscretions.
Their names: Larry Craig …, Jon Hinson, and Bob Allen.

We may need laws against GOP politicians using public bathrooms. By contrast, trans people are doing just fine.

It has long been my contention that not only are a number of conned-servatives are controlling, authoritarian hypocrites, but also that many are bigots, (bigotry being defined as “sincerely” believing broadly denigrating and factually false things about a broad group of people in order to in some way demean or discriminate against them). In the case of transgender people, American or otherwise, it is a fact that there have been more Republican members of Congress arrested for illegal sexual conduct in public bathrooms than there have been arrests of transgender people for either sexual assault or sexual harassment, both of which are the justification for transgender bathroom bill legislation.

 

The most recent example of that is HB 41, a bill introduce by three of the most consistently stupid members of the state legislature since the super star of MN lege stupid, Michele Bachmann, moved on to a larger public platform for embarrassment. Her most recent public embarrassment was the lie that President Obama had extorted foreign governments to walk in gay pride parades.  Because you can’t make up stupid, especially dishonest stupid, the way Michele Bachmann can.  Sadly all too often, when the facts are not on the side of conservatives, like Bachmann, like the authors of HB 41, they just make up stuff; worse they come to believe their lies.

From lgbtqnation:

 

Former Congresswoman Michele Bachmann appeared on the Family Research Council‘s “Washington Watch” radio program late last week to discuss the incoming Trump Administration.
In her appearance, which was captured by RightWingWatch, she denounced the State Department for forcing foreign government ministers to march in gay pride parades. It is unclear what she is referring to.

Financial incentives are withheld from countries unless they advance, for instance, the gay agenda. In a country that doesn’t believe in the gay agenda, the Obama State Department has said, “Look, you have to have a Gay Pride parade. You have to make sure that you can show us that ministers are marching in this Gay Pride parade.” What? The US government is telling another government, “You have to have Gay Pride parades”? That’s unbelievable! “You won’t get your PEPFAR money, you won’t get your USAID money, unless you follow our radical social agenda”?

HB 41 is the latest effort at a bathroom bill, a bill to make life more of a living hell for transgender students.

From OnTop magazine:

 

Three Republican members of the Minnesota House have introduced a bill that targets transgender students.
The Student Physical Privacy Act (HF 41) seeks to “protect and provide for the privacy and safety of all students enrolled in public schools and to maintain order and dignity in restrooms, locker rooms, changing rooms, showers, and other facilities where students may be in various states of undress in the presence of other students.”
It defines “sex” to mean “the physical condition of being male or female, which is determined by a person’s chromosomes and is identified at birth by a person’s anatomy.” The bill would designate restrooms, locker rooms, changing rooms and shower rooms for the “exclusive use by students of the male sex only or by the students of the female sex only.”
The bill’s authors are Representatives Duanne Quam of Byron, Steve Drazkowski of Mazeppa and Eric Lucero of Dayton.
Introduced on Thursday, the proposed legislation has been referred to the Education Innovation Policy committee.

 

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bensonIt should always be kept in mind that right-wing drivel like this is inevitably spewed with one ultimate end in mind: disastrous outsourcing to greedheads. Assuming that we as a society are supposed to actually try to help those who need it, at all. Though not a Christian I can’t help but point out that the Bible certainly says that we should.
 

Senate Deputy Majority Leader Michelle Benson delivered a blunt message Friday to nonprofit leaders seeking state funding: Be prepared to prove your worth.
 
“When it comes to accessing public dollars, you will want to work really hard to prove what you’ve already done with the dollars you’ve already been given, whether it’s public dollars or private dollars,” said Benson, R-Ham Lake. “Be ready to deliver accountability.”
 
…“It’s a frightening time right now,” said Shelley Jacobson, CEO of Minnesota Communities Caring for Children/Prevent Child Abuse Minnesota. The nonprofit relies, in part, on state funding, and she said she was worried that could be stripped away.
 
Jacobson called Benson’s demands for proof of impact a Catch-22: “You have to have staff to be able to do the research.”
(Star Tribune)

As Sen. Benson (R-Ham Lake) has a safe seat I haven’t paid any attention to her during election seasons. She’s your typical Minnesota Party of Trump member, with a website that’s heavy on MNsure/ACA-bashing and whimpering about tax “relief.”
 

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MN lege: GOP makes a hater Senate Majority Leader

by Dan Burns on November 16, 2016 · 0 comments

gazelkaErstwhile Minnesota Senate Republican leader David Hann (R-Eden Prairie) lost his reelection effort, and Sen. Paul Gazelka (R-Nisswa) is the new guy. (The GOP has a 34-33 majority, pending a couple of recounts that are unlikely to change anything.) Gazelka is a head case.
 

Take his appearance nearly a year ago at the Now is the Time! Now is the Season! Jubilee! Chuck Pierce and Dutch Sheets, Duluth MN in Duluth, at which the state senator joined other Christian dominionists to pray for the Zenith City. (For a quick look into the mind of Dutch Sheets, check out his Baal Teachings, which equate LGBTQ people with demons; someone should find out in Gazelka–who in 2010 grabbed the endorsement from the MNGOP’s only openly gay legislator–if he agrees).
(Bluestem Prairie)

I don’t know that there was a lot of thought put into this. Mostly I figure that Gazelka wanted the job when it unexpectedly opened up, and he gets along with most everyone in the caucus, so they gave it to him.
 
It’s not like most people even know, much less care, who the state Senate Majority Leader is. But I will note that not long ago I would have mocked the MNGOP for putting an openly bigoted extremist into a position like this, given the longer-term political winds. Right now, I’m not so sure.
 

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Governor Dayton and the MN lege GOP

by Dan Burns on November 12, 2016 · 1 comment

dayton2Sounds like a good call on the Governor’s part, to me.
 

Dayton has two more years in his term and doesn’t appear willing to budge on key issues. He says Minnesota voters sent a mixed message by narrowly backing Hillary Clinton for president but also supporting GOP control of the Legislature…
 
Dayton and Republicans will also face a rerun of divided state government in 2011. That year, a budget impasse between the two sides resulted in a government shutdown.
 
While Dayton says he’s willing to work with Republicans this year, he warned the outcome could be messy again.
 
“It’s going to be unrealistic for Minnesotans to send a group of people that are closely divided and have deep differences and expect that it’s all going to be peace and harmony. It’s not,” he said. “They sent a divided government here in St. Paul and they’re going to get divided government for better and for worse.”
(MPR)

Referring to the rest of the article, in reality relatively few people are being screwed by the MNsure price hikes (though there shouldn’t be any, and a DFL legislature would have been primed to see to that). But Minnesota’s corporate media obsessing on that, as well as with the so-called “rural/urban divide,” in order to help out the Party of Trump, may indeed have helped them. Mostly, though, the GOP legislative majorities got there on the coattails of a president-elect who is a misogynist and sexual predator, white supremacist, pathological liar, career criminal…and a ridiculous buffoon. Really something to be proud of.
 
The elements will in all likelihood be in place for a 2018 backlash election in our favor. It will help if we take every opportunity, between now and then, to identify MN GOP legislators with Trump.
 
Comment below fold.
 
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Why can’t Minnesota legalize marijuana?

by Mike Kiepe on November 5, 2016 · 1 comment

Minnesota can’t manage serious marijuana reform for the same reason American politics in general is broken. Special interest groups, corrupt leadership and the quest for more and more power keep marijuana illegal.
 
Police Departments and Big Pharma, in conjunction with the University of Minnesota, benefit from Minnesota’s continued prohibition of marijuana. Police Departments receive millions of dollars in federal grants for drug enforcement. Police Chiefs are public administrators, and as anyone who has taken “Intro. to Public Administration” knows, budgets must go up, not down. Reform would lower the budgets of police departments across the state.
 
Big Pharma makes a literal killing off opioides and the U of M is a big research outfit for Big Pharma. Pharma sees marijuana reform as a threat to their opioid sales. Pharmaceutical research means big money for the U of M and its legion of administrators.
 
Corrupt lawmakers in Minnesota collect money from the aforementioned special interests and resist reform. Mothers with crying children in wheelchairs shown night after night on the evening news had no effect on these so called “leaders”.
 
Prohibition is also power, the power to seize property, to imprison individuals and break up families. The racial and cultural focus of prohibition should be obvious.
 
Voters want this offensive prohibition to end. Now.
 
(Original article on my website.)
 
Comment below fold.
 
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minnesota_state_capitolAlso, vote for your school referenda.

 
In SD28, it is ridiculous that there is a Republican in this D+4 seat, and that needs to end. Our candidate is Jon Pieper.
 

My top priority is making sure our children and grandchildren receive a high quality education. Public education must start early. Research has shown high quality preschool that prepares our children for kindergarten will increase standardized test scores and reduce the achievement gap. School preparedness is paramount.
 
The DFL House funded quality early-education programs and all day kindergarten. Early education programs are the best economic investment the public can make, they yield double-digit returns for every dollar put in. The DFL House also paid back the last of the education dollars taken by the Republican House in 2011.

Sen. Jeremy Miller doesn’t make headlines and the issues page of his website doesn’t really say much. But this is telling.
 

Sen. Miller was the deciding vote against a bill that would have invested over $25 million in a need for Winona State University, its students, and the City of Winona. The bill was defeated by only one vote.
 
Once again, Republican Sen. Jeremy Miller has turned his back on the students in his community and the people of Winona. Today, he joined every Republican Senator but one in voting against the Senate bonding bill, a bill which would create 39,000 jobs across the state and invest over $25 million in Winona State University’s Education Village.
(Fillmore County DFL)

DFLer Tom Jones is running in 11B, which goes R+1.
 

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Both sides on the legislative pay amendment

by Dan Burns on October 27, 2016 · 1 comment

minnesota_state_capitolI looked around, and I’m presenting cogent arguments that I found for both “yes” and “no.” Here’s information on the amendment itself.
 

For nearly two decades, the Legislature has done the politically expeditious thing. It has not raised its own pay since 1997. Compensation for legislators has been stuck at a lean $31,140 a year, though legislators are also eligible for per-diem payments of up to $86 for senators and $66 for House members, and lodging reimbursement of up to $1,200 a month for those who must move to St. Paul during sessions.
 
That salary is not sufficient to attract the caliber of candidates this state’s government needs to fill a job that is billed as part time, but in reality is full time during sessions and part time for the rest of the year. Low compensation is complicating candidate recruitment, operatives in both parties confide. Over time, it risks populating the Legislature with people of independent means and/or those young enough — or desperate enough — to settle for a low-income job.
(Star Tribune)

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Minnesota-State-CapitolFirst thing today, I need to shout out nothing but love for all of our DFL candidates, especially those that are working very hard in long-shot districts.
 
Rep. Tim Kelly (R-Red Wing) is leaving House 21A after a sex scandal. Our candidate is Lisa Bayley. The district goes D+1.
 

Invest in Education: A mother of two, Lisa knows a first class education is key to making Minnesota a place of innovation. She’ll fight to increase funding for early and K-12 education and supports plans to allow students to refinance college loans and reduce debt.
 
Work for our Seniors: As an attorney with a family law practice, Lisa sees the lack of care our seniors are receiving and the need to increase housing and assisted living choices. In St. Paul, she’ll cut through the red tape and work to ensure seniors have secure, affordable options in retirement, right here in our community.

The Republican candidate is Barb Haley. Her website’s issues page is terse, very non-specific boilerplate. In doing these posts I’ve noticed that that’s quite a popular approach among GOPers in competitive districts, this year.
 

Our candidate in 36A, in the NW metro, which goes R+2, is Kevin Parker.
 
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Hann Meets Cwod

by JeffStrate on October 20, 2016 · 1 comment

Minnesota Senate Minority Leader David Hann is seeking a fifth consecutive term in the Minnesota Senate. He represents Senate District 48, southern Minnetonka and all of Eden Prairie.

 

Challenger and first time canididate Steve Cwodzinski has recently been endorsed by former Minnesota Governor Arne Carlson (R) and former U.S. Vice President Walter Mondale (DFL).   I have met the recently retired Eden Prairie High School teacher and debut candidate several times this year, most recently for the taping of a discussion with DFL elder Tim O’Brien for Democratic Visions.

 

‘Cwod’ (pronounced ‘swod’ – a nickname that his students long ago attached to him), seems to be energized by the same progressive, populist currents that propelled Paul and Shiela Wellstone. Cwod, however, has a more engaging sense of humor then the Wellstones, who are among Steve’s heros. Cwodzinski is from a Superior, Wisconsin working class family and says that he will fight to get Minnesotans paid medical and family leaves and equal pay for equal work.

 

Steve says he will also work to close loopholes in gun laws that continue to enable criminals and domestic abusers to acquire guns. He will work to ease the severe, statewide shortage of school counselors and to get more 4-year olds into pre-school programs to fix what he calls “the opportunity gap.” Although Southwest Light Rail has found local funding to qualify for a federal matching grant and is moving forward, Cwodzinski has been aligned with local Chambers of Commerce and the elected City Councils of Eden Prairie and Minnetonka in support of the project. David Hann, the buttoned-down obstructionist, has not.

 

Senate District 48 is seen as a can win opportunity by the DFL and the left of center PACs. Cwod’s campaign itself, has been infused with an unusually high number of un-paid volunteers; former students who are energized and social media savvy.

 
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mn_capitolWes Volkenant is running in 35B, in the north metro. It’s R+9, but certainly doable this year.
 

If elected, Wes Volkenant will work to strengthen the public employee union process in Minnesota, fight for a stronger PERA and TRA, and vigorously oppose any Republican efforts to diminish teacher rights in the classroom and through the seniority process.

I wrote about this one late last year, when Volkenant declared. You can click to find out more about why Bachmannite Rep. Peggy Scott (R-Andover) doesn’t belong in political office. Click on this one, from Developers are Crabgrass, also.
 

Also in the north metro, Rep. Jerry Newton (DFL-Coon Rapids) is running for the open Senate seat in district 37, which goes D+1. This is not actually a “pickup opportunity,” as the race is to replace retiring Sen. Alice Johnson (DFL-Spring Lake Park), but I’m noting it anyway.
 
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