The debate about House rules continued in the House Rules and Legislative Administration Committee Jan. 25. Committee meetings are rarely held on a Friday and Representative Steve Drazkowski (R- Mazeppa) commented on this matter saying they’re “holding a very important committee meeting on a day that the committee was not supposed to meet”. Representative Jeremy Munson (R- Lake Crystal) told Alpha News that the legislators were notified at the beginning of the session that “there would be no committee meetings on Fridays.” This calls to into question the issue of transparency.
Rep. Drazkowski noted “the inability for the public to take part in that process, to understand what is being brought before them”. He continued with a call on “house majority Democrats to adopt permanent rules that allow and full and deliberate public participation… just like the Senate uses.”
Rep. Drazkowski believes “The Democrat majority is working to grease the skids to bring their agenda through the legislature as quickly as they can in the house.” Representative Cal Bahr (R- East Bethel) echoed these concerns, calling out House Democrats for their hidden agenda saying “if full transparency was shined on it, the majority of Minnesotans would not accept.”
Not only do these proposed permanent rules reduce transparency, but they affect Minnesota residents ability to testify in from of committees. Elizabeth Bangert, a business owner from St. Peter said she spent over 30 days last year testifying at the capitol. This session, she stated she is seeing that bills which directly impact her business “have moved yet again from… ways and means over through two committees without [her] having the ability to come up and testify.”
Rep. Bahr told Alpha News that he would guess about ¾ of DFL members represent the metro area so “it’s not hard for their constituents to get to the capitol to testify on a bill”. Rep. Munson told Alpha News that “Democrats are promoting One Minnesota, but it is clear that One Minnesota does not include the voices of rural Minnesota.”
Do you like Alpha News? Help us reach more readers in 2019 by donating today
Megan Olson is a 2020 graduate of the University of Minnesota with degrees in political science and history. She works in public affairs in addition to serving on the Legislative Advisory Council for School District 196. She is also on the school board for FIT academy, a charter school in Apple Valley.