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Saturday, June 3, 2023

DFL trifecta hat-trick on controversial bills

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Minnesota DFL lawmakers have been touting their new “trifecta” of power at the Capitol since Election Day right and are now putting that power on display.

On the third day of the 2023 legislative session, they put out three bills on potential fast-tracks to passage that Republicans have blocked for years. They held a hearing on a bill to put abortion rights into state law, held a press conference in support of a mandate for paid family and medical leave over Minnesota businesses and introduced a bill to legalize recreational marijuana.

“Minnesota residents are ready and I think 2023 is the year we will legalize adult cannabis use in Minnesota,” says author of the bill Rep. Zach Stephenson, DFL-Coon Rapids. “I don’t think it would be an exaggeration to say that we have engaged in among the most powerful law development processes of any legislature in the history of the legislature.”

She will face opposition among many Republicans and a variety of groups that range from the Minnesota Safety Council to law enforcement to the Minnesota Trucking Association. These groups held an online press conference early in the week to voice their opposition and compare it to last year’s bill that increased permissible levels of THC in many edible products.

That would also apply to the marijuana bill, said Paul Asen, executive director of the Minnesota Safety Council in describing the report card they used.

Senate Minority Leader Mark Johnson, R-East Grand Forks, had concerns that the DFL marijuana bill could be “rushed” through the legislative process.

“We need to hear from law enforcement, employers, addiction counselors, educators and others who have concerns about legalizing marijuana. We know that even small changes in this area of ​​the law can lead to massive changes in the marketplace and in people’s practices,” Johnson said in a statement. “We do not take the risks that marijuana poses to young people, minorities and the vulnerable, lightly. The Senate Football Association will need to decide whether they want to expedite this process to keep their political partners happy or spend their time deciding whether full legalization is the right thing for Minnesota.”

The marijuana bill will get its first hearing in 2023 next week.

The abortion bill, House File 1, passed its first committee Thursday.

“House File 1, the Reproductive Protection Options or Pro Act establishes the basic right of every Minnesotan to make decisions about his or her reproductive health care,” said bill author Carlie Kotyza-Witthuhn, DFL-Eden Prairie, in introducing the bill before the House Finance and Policy Committee. .

The bill would codify the right to abortion, contraceptive use and other reproductive rights into state law rather than having to rely on previous court rulings. Opponents say it’s too drastic a bill most Minnesotans won’t support because it would allow late-term abortions.

“You would allow a 40-week-old baby to be killed,” Tim Miller of Pro-Life Labor Ministries testified.

Elisha Olson of Students for Life said, “I’m here as a young man in Minnesota asking you to oppose this new law before you that could legalize abortion until the moment you give birth.”

The bill passed the committee 11-8 along party lines with all Republicans voting against it.

Hearings will also be held soon on a paid family and medical mandate over Minnesota businesses. A group representing at least 30 organizations supporting the legislation held a press conference Thursday.

“To say this legislation has been thoroughly vetted would be an understatement,” said Bernie Burnham of the Minnesota AFL-CIO.

Burnham and others say the mandate for a paid leave program is necessary because not enough companies offer voluntary leave.

“We need to make sure that arriving at leaving doesn’t mean being lucky enough to have an employer that recognizes your humanity,” says Rep. Ruth Richardson, DFL-Mendota Heights.

Grow guide for marijuana beginners.
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