Over 60 people attended the LEA Annual Members’ Meeting and Legislative Awards Banquet, which was held March 1st at The Mermaid Event Center in Mounds View. LEA Board Chairman/President Don Lee thanked key members of the LEA board for their long and faithful service, and expressed a desire to grow the organization. LEA is a unique and valuable group.
Our three 2017 honorees, representatives Cal Bahr, Eric Lucero, and Matt Dean accepted their award plaques and each offered some brief comments. The keynote speech, “Reading Our Constitution in Plain English: A Populist Approach” was presented by Erick Kaardal, who has a long career challenging the illegal acts of government officials. His talk was full of fascinating anecdotes and inspiration to keep doing what we do. (We will post the full video when it is available)
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The annual LEA 2018 Awards Banquet will be held on Thursday, March 1st, 2018 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.
Come to the banquet. Reservations not required. Dinner price is now $35.
Pre-registration discount pricing ended on Feb 22nd.
HONORING: Representatives Cal Bahr, Matt Dean, and Eric Lucero.
Social Hour and Registration Begins at 5:30 P.M. — Dinner 6:30 P.M.
Featured Speakers: Attorney Erick Kaardal and Prof. Teresa Collett Topic: Reading Our Constitution, in Plain English
In other words: why is it so hard for the people to have a common understanding of our state or federal constitutions?
How has legal interpretation strayed so far from the plain language of our constitution? What can we do about it?
Mr. Erick Kaardal earned a J.D. degree from the University of Chicago law school. He is a partner in the Mohrman, Kaardal and Erickson firm, and specializes in strategic litigation against the government. Erick Kaardal has been the legal strategist behind two First Amendment lawsuits that reached the U.S. Supreme Court. Republican Party of Minnesota v. White , in a 5 to 4 decision, for the first time applied the First Amendment to judicial candidate speech. Minnesota Voters Alliance v. Mansky will be argued before the U.S. Supreme Court on February 28, 2018.
Prof. Teresa Collett earned a J.D. degree from the Univ. of Oklahoma law school. She is a professor at the University of St. Thomas law school, where she teaches Constitutional Litigation and serves as director of the school’s Prolife Center. Continue reading →
John Augustine will be on AM1280 The Patriot with Mitch Berg at 2PM Dec 30th, for some year-end legislative talk and some frivolity. Then, at 4PM, Don Lee and John will be in the Twin Cities News Talk AM1130 studio with Sue Jeffers to talk about the LEA Report and the constitutional issues that will carry into next year.
John Augustine was on Closing Argument with Walter Hudson Dec 20th at 9PM (Twin Cities News Talk, AM1130/FM103.5) to review the 2017 LEA Report on the Minnesota Legislature, and preview the legislature for 2018. Check out the podcast here (HR 1 John Augustine… Dec 20th): https://itunes.apple.com/…/closing-argument-wi…/id1290900638
This year’s evaluation focuses on sixteen floor votes that highlight important principles and policies. The 2017 report emphasizes the increasing use of unconstitutional multi-subject bills in place of the single-subject bills required by the Minnesota constitution. Multi-subject bills, often hundreds of pages long, have dominated the content of recent legislative sessions.
“Multi-subject bills are not only unconstitutional, but they derail accountability and allow special interests to manipulate the system at the expense of the citizens,” says LEA president, Don Lee. “Politicians love them for closed-door, team-based, deal-making. Citizens should hate them for the same reason.” The report condemns processes that create constitutional conflicts between the executive and legislative branches, such as making appropriations contingent upon passing certain policies. The governor signed bills and then tried to renegotiate by withholding the legislature’s funding. In another case, portions of a bill that the governor vetoed and did not become law were implemented by him anyway.
John Augustine presents award to 2016 Senate honoree Bruce Anderson
Over 60 people attended the LEA Annual Members’ Meeting and Legislative Awards Banquet, which was held February 21 at The Mermaid Event Center in Mounds View. LEA Board Chairman/President John Augustine spoke of the problems caused when our Minnesota Constitution’s single-subject rule is ignored, and of the threat that earlier election dates pose to all citizen groups evaluating public officials’ performance and educating fellow citizens about that performance.
Those in attendance also got to hear from two of the 2016 Senate honorees, Bruce Anderson and David Brown, as they rose from their seats to receive their award plaques. The keynote speech, “Economic Growth: Let’s Do Better,” was given by Univ. of St. Thomas Finance Professor John Spry. He noted the parallels between LEA’s published credo and the American Declaration of Independence. Among the barriers to achieving more robust economic growth that Spry discussed were miseducation and crony capitalism. The Minnesota tax code should not be so complex, as it is now with 57 property-tax classifications and four income-tax brackets, he argued. The biggest barrier Spry sees to robust, sustained economic growth is lower participation in the workforce, particularly among those just becoming eligible to enter it. The participation decline is both recent and dramatic. Whereas 60% of American teenagers had a summer job in 1989, only 33% did in 2016. Continue reading →
The annual LEA Legislative Awards Banquet will be held Tuesday, February 21, 2017 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.
HONORING: Senators Bruce Anderson, David Brown, and Dave Thompson Social Hour and Registration Begins at 5:30 P.M. — Dinner 6:30 P.M.
Featured Speaker: Prof. John Spry Topic: “Economic Growth: Let’s Do Better”
What We Can Do to Promote Economic Growth Toward a Better, Lower, Broader, Simpler Tax Code, Improving Government Budgeting Continue reading →
Honorees: Senators Bruce Anderson, David Brown, and Dave Thompson. Honorable Mention: Senators Michelle Benson and David Osmek; Representative Steve Drazkowski.
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 →
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 →