2016 Report on the Minnesota Legislature Released

Three members of the Minnesota State Senate have been honored in the Legislative Evaluation Assembly’s 2016 Report on the Minnesota Legislature. Three legislators received an honorable mention.

Honorees: Senators Bruce Anderson, David Brown, and Dave Thompson. Honorable Mention: Senators Michelle Benson and David Osmek; Representative Steve Drazkowski.
2016-lea-honorees

Citizen Legislature Has Given Way to an Administrative State

Press Release by LEA President John Augustine

A half-century ago, candidates for the Minnesota legislature ran on the ballot without partisan designation, and legislators met in session every other year to conduct the business of the people. Many bills were passed, but they were fairly simple. Certainly, not all the laws that passed were good laws, but they were easier to understand and to repeal if they created more problems than they addressed. The simplicity allowed a good citizen legislator to achieve competence and function effectively without pursuing a full-time career as a government official. Continue reading →

Don’t Pass a Law Offering Blanket Restoration of Voting Rights to Felons not in Prison

by John P. Augustine

Note from Mr. Augustine, Chairman and President of the Legislative Evaluation Assembly of Minnesota: LEA is on record in its 2015 report (available at www.lea-mn.org) as being opposed to felon-voting restoration language very similar to what is in a bill that has been passed by the 2016 Minnesota Senate. However, the views expressed in this piece are the author’s and not necessarily those of the LEA Board or its members.

It has become trendy for activists across the political spectrum to support automatic restoration of voting rights to convicted felons not in prison, regardless of whether the offenders have completed all the terms of the sentencing process. Continue reading →

2016 Annual Awards Banquet: Come Join Us!

The Annual LEA Legislative Awards Banquet will be held on Thursday, March 3rd, 2016, in the Coral Room at The Mermaid Event Center, 2200 County Hwy. 10, Mounds View (near Ramsey Co. Rd. H, just northwest of junction of Hwy. 10 and I-35W) free parking and entrance are on the west side, in back of the building.

Honorees: Senators Bruce Anderson, Michelle Benson, Dan Hall, Mary Kiffmeyer, Branden Petersen, and Dave Thompson. Honorable Mention: Senator Ortman; Representative Drazkowski.
Social Hour and Registration Begins at 5:30 P.M. — Dinner 6:30 P.M. Continue reading →

2015 Report on Minnesota Legislature Released

Six members of the Minnesota State Senate have been honored in the Legislative Evaluation Assembly’s 2015 Report on the Minnesota Legislature. Two legislators received an honorable mention.

Honorees: Senators Bruce Anderson, Michelle Benson, Dan Hall, Mary Kiffmeyer, Branden Petersen, and Dave Thompson. Honorable Mention: Senator Ortman; Representative Drazkowski.

The Relationship between Quality and Quantity

Press Release by LEA President John Augustine

Do More Bills Getting Votes Lead to Better Legislation?
“Paradoxically, the answer appears to be yes,” notes LEA President John Augustine. “One of the most commonly-used sayings in our culture is ‘quality, not quantity’. However, this trend of pushing more new law into fewer bills is not producing better results.” The increased reliance on omnibus bills hurts accountability, as it provides legislators with more cover to vote for bad policies in bills that also contain some things that have value. It also gives more power to a small group of leaders, because these bills almost always end up in conference-committee negotiations and get to the floor late in session. Members lose opportunities to push for amendments to make the legislation better in the event it reaches the governor’s desk, or to override a governor’s vetoes made after the end of session. Crafting bills with so much packed into them also increases the chances of stalemate and special sessions to settle budgetary disputes. The accountability problems created by these huge omnibus bills are magnified even further in special session, when the legislature simply convenes to ratify the products of closed-door negotiations, without much media scrutiny or citizen input through committee hearings. Continue reading →

Former Senator Jack Davies Highlights the Destructive Practice of Multi-Subject Bills

In an excellent commentary in the Minneapolis StarTribune on August 14, former Senator Jack Davies analyzed the destructive and dysfunctional practice of crafting multisubject bills in the State Legislature, describing this year’s legislature as carrying on the practice which began in the 1980s to “shocking new heights.”

He noted that the 1969 Legislature passed 1150 single acts, compared to this year’s 80, most of which contained more than one subject. While not advocating the elimination of omnibus bills, Davies argued that every single new subject to be added to them needs a vote in the legislature or in an open committee. He also recommended that the practice be brought to the Supreme Court by multiple petitioners and that the Court hold multisubject Acts invalid.
Continue reading →

Minnesota Earns a “C” for Lobbying Transparency

The Sunlight Foundation has released an update to its state lobbying disclosure report card, evaluating each state on disclosure of lobbyist activity and compensation, expenditure transparency, expenditure reporting thresholds and document accessibility.

Based on Sunlight’s criteria and rating system, Minnesota earned a “C.” California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina and Wisconsin each received an A. At the bottom of the list was Florida, Nevada and West Virigina which received Fs.

See Scores of All States Here

February 23, 2015 Award Banquet Photos

2015 Annual Awards Banquet

The Annual LEA Legislative Awards Banquet will be held on Monday, February 23rd, 2015, at the Kelly Inn, St. Paul (161 St. Anthony Avenue, St. Paul. – near Rice Street next to Sears, free parking on site)
2014-honorees
We will be honoring Representatives: Mike Benson, Bob Dettmer, Steve Drazkowski, Sondra Erickson, Tom Hackbarth, Jerry Hertaus, Ernie Leidiger, Jim Newberger, Joyce Peppin, Cindy Pugh, and Duane Quam.

The banquet social hour and registration will begin at 5:30 P.M., with dinner at 6:30 P.M.

Our Featured Speaker is Rep. Dean Knudson of the Wisconsin State Assembly, who will talk to us about “Implementing Constitutional and Conservative Principles in State Government.”

If you would like to attend the banquet, please contact us at:
Legislative Evaluation Assembly, P. O. Box 25803, Woodbury, MN 55125, or click here.

Or pay directly through PayPal:


LEA-MN Dinner and Dues