The Minnesota New House Republican Caucus held a press conference Feb. 7 to discuss proposed legislation about prohibiting multi-subject bills. The bill was later introduced on Feb 11. The bill comes as another step towards more government transparency, something the caucus has been committed to this legislative session.
HF986 contains a constitutional amendment proposal that would clarify the single subject clause of Minnesota’s constitution. This clause was enacted in 1858 to “guard against a practice… of grouping together several different subjects in one bill and passing them through the means known as logrolling” as stated by Representative Cal Bahr (R- East Bethel).
Rep. Bahr was accompanied by Representative Jeremy Munson (R- Lake Crystal) and Representative Steve Drazkowski (R- Mazeppa), as well as Representative Tim Miller (R-Prinsburg) and Representative Eric Lucero (R-Dayton) who all offered their support on Rep. Bahr’s bill.
“Trust, transparency, and accountability are what Minnesotans expect” Rep. Lucero earnestly said, adding that this bill would help “return state government to the constitutional principles” that it was founded on.
This bill has bipartisan support as well. Rep. Munson cited that Representative Mike Freiberg (DFL- Golden Valley) agreed to sign on. Rep. Munson also pointed out this bill will not need approval from Governor Walz. Instead, it just has to pass through the House and Senate to be listed on the 2020 ballot for Minnesotans.
The need for this bill comes from the government turning into 7 to 8 times the “size, scope, breadth, money and intrusion into our lives” than it was 45 years ago, Rep. Bahr cites. He points this out to discuss how in the 1973-74 biennium, 1,366 bills were signed into law compared to the record low of 189 bills of the last biennium.
The Minnesota house is making it clear that they understand that Minnesotans “want to have a more transparent government… This [bill] is going to allow [them] to do that” as Rep. Miller concluded.
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.