by John Augustine
Over 60 people gathered on Feb. 21 for the occasion of the 40th annual Legislative Evaluation Assembly of Minnesota Legislative Awards Banquet. Keynote speaker Anthony Sanders from the MN chapter of the Institute for Justice (IJ) talked about the merits of judges taking action to preserve our constitutional framework, and IJ’s role in the legal battles for economic freedom. The event was held at the Kelly Inn next to the MN State Capitol.
Award Presentations Video (click for video)
Nine people (Reps. Steve Drazkowski, Sondra Erickson, Kathy Lohmer, Duane Quam, Linda Runbeck, and Peggy Scott; also, former Reps. Mark Buesgens, Keith Downey, and Doug Wardlow) were honored for their voting records in the 2012 Minnesota House. Eight of the nine were able to give remarks to the crowd while picking up their awards.
Rep. Mark Buesgens holds up the LEA 2012 report on the legislature. LEA President John Augustine standing to his left.
One of the most memorable acceptance speeches came from Mark Buesgens, who retired from the MN House after the 2012 session. He was even more blunt than usual about the leadership opportunities that were squandered: “A plethora of political consultants are going to take a lot of money from a lot of very wealthy people to figure out what went wrong in 2012—I can answer that. [Last biennium], the state of Minnesota for the first time had a GOP-led Senate. How many Senators are in this group of LEA honorees? It’s not too hard to figure it out.” Continue reading →
By John Augustine, President of the LEA of MN
Invitation letter, p. 1
Members and guests will honor and hear from people committed to waging the battle for economic freedom at the 40th annual Legislative Evaluation Assembly legislative awards banquet on Thursday night, Feb 21, at the Kelly Inn next to the MN state capitol. Nine legislative defenders of freedom will be awarded plaques honoring their outstanding 2012 voting records as members of the Minnesota House. The keynote speaker will be Anthony Sanders, who is an attorney with the MN Chapter of the Institute for Justice (IJ), a legal organization that has been successfully fighting to protect ordinary citizens from governmental attacks on their economic freedom. Since the start of the year, tree trimmers and motel owners have won legal victories with the help of IJ.
The LEA members’ meeting and awards banquet will also include a tribute to Walter Klaus and K. J. McDonald, two conservative statesmen and important figures in LEA’s history that passed away during the past year. Click here for the full announcement and registration information (print and mail the registration form). Advance registration must be received or postmarked by February 14.
Nine Representatives Receive Honors
Mark Buesgens, Keith Downey, Steve Drazkowski, Sondra Erickson, Kathy Lohmer, Diane Quam, Linda Runbeck, Peggy Scott, Doug Wardlow
Honorable Mention Senate:
Al DeKruif, Gretchen Hoffman, Benjamin Kruse, Warren Limmer, Julianne Ortman, Dave Thompson, Ray Vandeveer
Honorable Mention House:
Bruce Anderson, Kurt Bills, Kurt Daudt, Tom Hackbarth, David Hancock, Mary Kiffmeyer, Ernie Leidiger, Tara Mack, Joyce Peppin, Chris Swedzinski
Click this link for a copy of the 2012 report in PDF format.
LEA GROUP EXPOSES INCREASED DISREGARD FOR PROPER PROCEDURES
Most Surprising and Least Surprising Legislative Outcomes of 2012:
LEA President John Augustine contends that one of the most surprising outcomes was “the people’s representatives abdicating much of their appropriation authority on bonding decisions to one of the governor’s unelected bureaucratic agencies.” However, most who have studied the matter would probably conclude that the biggest surprise was what happened to the bill authorizing a Voter ID constitutional amendment. Continue reading →
by John P. Augustine
Senator David Hann was presented his award by LEA Secretary Tammy Houle
An enthusiastic crowd of LEA members, legislators, and special guests filled a room at the Kelly Inn next to the Capitol on February 16 for the 39th annual LEA members meeting and awards banquet. Four Representatives (Joyce Peppin, Bruce Anderson, Steve Drazkowski, and Glenn Gruenhagen) and three Senators (David Hann, Gretchen Hoffman, and Ray Vandeveer) listed as honorees in LEA’s 2011 report gave speeches to the crowd and were presented with awards. Rep. Kathy Lohmer, who earned honorable-mention distinction in the 2011 report, was also at the banquet. The other two Senate honorees (Ted Daley and Dave Thompson) left encouraging remarks that were read at the banquet.
One of the lighter moments at the banquet was Rep. Drazkowski’s tale of why he just missed getting a perfect LEA score in 2011. On non-controversial votes it is not uncommon to have the person next to you push your light on the board if you momentarily leave. On a day when a lot of bills were being pushed through, Drazkowski had accepted an invitation from another legislator to have an extra hamburger in the back room when roll call began on the concussion response bill. The board was lighting up green, and Drazkowski was caught off guard. The bill, filled with blanket prohibitions, training mandates for schools, was “really an ugly bill . . . I don’t know what all was in it,” he said. He raced back to his desk but was too late to switch his vote to red. “I looked at Peppin, thinking, ‘this is an LEA vote, isn’t it?’ We knew right there that I failed that one.” The moral of the story? No one is safe while the legislature is in session, and the danger level rises when a staunchly conservative member is sidetracked by food. Continue reading →
On Thursday, February 16, 2012, the Annual Meeting of LEA was held at the Kelly Inn in St. Paul. On this occasion, awards for the 2011 legislative session were presented. The meeting was chaired by LEA President John Augustine, and Chris Penwell, partner in Siegel Brill law firm and the keynote speaker, addressed on the topic “The Essential Role of Elections in Protecting the Rights of the People.” A photo report appears below:
LEA Banquet for 2011 Award Recipients held at the Kelly Inn. The Keynote Speaker was Chris Penwell.
Continue reading →
The LEA Annual Awards Dinner and membership meeting will be held at 6 pm on Thursday, February 16. Invitations have been mailed to the mailing list and honorees. The featured speaker will be Chris Penwell. If you did not receive an invitation and would like to attend, please contact LEA President John Augustine at: (651) 398-9316 or LEA Secretary Tammy Houle via the Contact Form.
Congratulations award recipients!
Click this link for a copy of the 2011 report in PDF format.
On the MLK holiday, LEA of Minnesota is releasing its essay, “Why Is Redistricting Promoting Segregated Group Representation?,” which exposes how segregated representation is being incorporated into the ‘principles’ of redistricting.
The new congressional redistricting map proposed by the Republican-controlled Minnesota House Committee.
The Redistricting bills HF1426/HF1425 were the legislature’s attempt to address the Constitutional requirement for congressional and legislative districts to be redrawn following a census every ten years; thereby maintaining an equal weight and representation of each vote throughout the state. With the passage of these bills on party-line votes and their subsequently being vetoed by the Governor, the historical saga of resolving redistricting matters in the courts continues.
The Governor’s veto message objected to 19 currently-seated DFL representatives (in contrast to 7 Republican representatives) being paired up and redistricted into another member’s legislative district. This also reflects another ten-year pendulum swing. Once legislative gerrymandering is established under one party’s control, or by the courts, any effort to make corrections by another political party cannot be done without the appearance of more gerrymandering.
These bills require compliance to the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965, which was adopted as a means for enforcement of the 15th Amendment to the US Constitution. The 15th Amendment prohibits denying a citizen the right to vote based on that citizen’s race, color, or previous condition of servitude.
Continue reading →
House and Senate Honorees Announced
Five Senators and four Representatives have been honored in the LEA’s 2011 Report on the Minnesota State Legislature, the most honorees since 2008. Fifteen legislators received an honorable mention. Continue reading →
LEA and the Political Sea Change in Minnesota
Senator Ray Vandeveer receiving an LEA Award for 2010 from LEA President Gordon L. Anderson
The 39th Annual Awards Dinner and member’s meeting of the Legislative Evaluation Assembly of Minnesota reflected the political sea change going on in the United States in the wake of the 2010 election that saw numerous incumbents thrown out for Tea Party-supported candidates. The Minnesota Senate shifted from a 46-21 Democrat majority to a 37-31 Republican majority. The House changed from an 87-47 Democratic majority to a 72-62 Republican majority. However, we now have a Democratic governor poised to veto new Republican legislation.
The meeting was chaired by Sue Jeffers, talk show host on K-Talk 100.3 fm. The first award was presented to Senator Ray Vandeveer. In his remarks, he talked about just passing House File 130, which kept spending at the present level and brought the budget into conformity with Federal law. He stated, “We couldn’t cut anything because whatever it was it was ‘so valuable.'” He stated that we have to make up at least $1,500 for each man, woman, and child in the state “because we can’t cut anything.” Another Senator present said that as soon as the bill reached Governor Dayton’s desk it was vetoed. Dayton will release his own proposal shortly.
Continue reading →