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 →
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 →
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 →
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 →
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.
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)
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.
Eleven members of the Minnesota House of Representatives have been honored in the Legislative Evaluation Assembly’s 2014 Report on the Minnesota Legislature. Six legislators received an honorable mention. Honorees: Representatives Mike Benson, Bob Dettmer, Steve Drazkowski, Sondra Erickson, Tom Hackbarth, Jerry Hertaus, Ernie Leidiger, Jim Newberger, Joyce Peppin, Cindy Pugh, and Duane Quam.
Honorable Mention: Senator Bruce Anderson; Representatives Daudt, Dean, Howe, Loon, and Myhra. Continue reading →