Posts Tagged ‘Gail Kulik-Jackson’

Why Procedural Motions Sometimes Matter

Sunday, February 28th, 2010

When making a judgment on legislators, most individuals and interest groups focus on the “big votes”. In other words, the vote on an entire bill rather than an obscure amendment, or a vote to override a veto rather than a procedural motion. Most often, votes on procedural motions are split down party lines, and usually ignored by parties and interest groups. However, when Minnesota’s version of the debt laden porkulus bill was considered this past week, there were very important procedural motions in the House and Senate that should speak very loudly and clearly about how the Democrat majority in both Houses of the Legislature are playing games with the taxpayers’ credit card.

On Monday, February 22, 2010, the debt bill came back to the House from the House-Senate conference committee for repassage. Republican Leader Kurt Zellers moved to reject the conference repoert and return the bill to conference committe. The motion failed, mostly along party lines, and the conference committee report was adopted and the bill was repassed and sent to the Senate. In the Senate, Sen. Warren Limmer (R – Maple Grove) made the motion to reject the conference report and return the bill to the conference committee. Again, the motion was defeated mostly along party lines. The conference committee report was adopted and the bill was repassed and sent to the Governor. 

Or so we thought. That’s what usually happens to a bill that passes both bodies of the Legislature. However, the Democrat leadership, re-thinking the prospect of a borrowing bill at the Sham-wow price of $999,999,000 getting vetoed in its entirety by the Governor, then hung onto the bill and put the conference committee, now known as a “working group” back to work.

Capitol insiders don’t remember this kind of maneuvering happening since early statehood days when a bill to move the capitol to St. Peter mysterously disappeared.

Democrat leadership could have just listened to the minority concerns that the bill was too large and would be vetoed by the Governor. But they instead opted to defeat the motions by Republicans to reject the conference report. Rather than admit that Republicans are right, Democrat leadership chose to be the ones in control and use a procedure rarely, if ever, used to keep their debt bill from getting vetoed.

This cannot be good for House Speaker Margaret Anderson-Kelliher’s (DFL – Minneapolis) reputation as a leader as she seeks her party’s endorsement for Governor.

Representatives from the East Central Minnesota area voting with Democrat leadership were Tim Faust, Jeremy Kalin, and Gail Kulick Jackson.

Rep. Bill Hilty joined Republicans in voting to send the bill back to conference committee and voting against final passage of the bill. Let’s not kid ourselves. Rep. Hilty didn’t suddenly become a fiscal conservative. He voted ageinst final passage because the bill did not contain the tens of millions of dollars for the Moose Lake Sexual Offender Program expansion in his district.

Rob Eastlund (R – Isanti) was excused from this late evening session and did not vote.

In the Senate, Sen. Lisa Fobbe and Sen. Rick Olseen, both Democrats, sided with their leadership on these votes. Sen. Tony Lourey (D – Kerrick) sided with Republicans, presumably for the same reasons as Rep. Hilty.

Democrat leadership can talk bipartisanship all they want, but if they continue to stonewall the minority, even when they know they’re right, their talk of bipartisanship will fall on deaf ears.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am an employee of the Minnesota House of Representatives with the Republican Caucus. This website is not paid for nor operated by any legislator, legislative caucus, candidate or political party. Opinions expressed herein are strictly those of the website administrator, and not necessarily those of any legislator, legislative caucus, candidate or political party.

MN House Republicans Ahead of the Curve on ACORN

Monday, September 21st, 2009

The corruption in ACORN that conservatives have long known about is just now becoming general public knowledge, thanks to these undercover videos. Both Houses of Congress overwhelmingly voted on a bipartisan basis to cut off Federal funding of ACORN

However, Minnesota House Republicans were way ahead of the curve during the 2009 Legislative session. Go here (and click on “BLOG”) to learn about three amendments offered by House Republicans and rejected by the DFL majority. One amendment specifically prohibited federal stimulus money for state transportation projects from going to ACORN. One amendment would have prohibited funding of organizations under indictment or convicted of voter fraud from receiving state funding. The other amendment would have prohibited organizations under indictment or its members convicted of voter fraud from conducting voter outreach or registration activities in Minnesota.

On all three of these common sense amendments Democrats “representing” the East Central Minnesota region voted “no”. These DFL House members include Reps. Hilty, Kalin, Faust, and Jackson. The one House member who saw the wisdom in these amendments was Rep. Rob Eastlund (R – Cambridge).

Republicans have known for a long time that ACORN is rife with corruption. Democrats on the federal level who voted to cut off funding have come on board in the last few days because they know the light of truth has been shined on ACORN and exposed it for what it is.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am a full time employee of the Minnesota House Republican Caucus. Opinions expressed on this blog are my own and not necessarily those of any political party, legislative caucus, legislator or government entity. This blog is not endorsed, funded or sponsored in any way by any political party, legislative caucus, legislator or government entity.

Faust Rails on Governor’s Health Plan, then Votes to Move it Forward

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009
Rep. Tim Faust (DFL - No Man's Land)

Rep. Tim Faust (DFL - No Man's Land)

In his commentary in the Pine City Pioneer, State Representative Tim Faust (DFL – No Man’s Land) railed on Governor Pawlenty’s health plan and budget. Rep. Faust wrote about how nursing homes and hospitals would be cut if the Governor’s plan were to be enacted.  

Amazingly enough, on the very day the paper came out with his commentary in it, Rep. Faust actually voted to move the Governor’s plan one step closer to passage.

Here’s how it went down. Committee passage of a two-page bill related to county human services was reported to the House Floor. In a purely cynical political move, Rep. Tom Huntley (DFL – Duluth) offered the Governor’s Health and Human Services plan (several hundred pages long) as a “minority report”, in other words as an alternative to the committee action on the two-page bill. A Democrat supports the Governor’s plan, you ask? Pay attention here – remember, I said “political” and “cynical”. Rep. Huntley’s plan was to get an overwhelming bipartisan vote against the Governor’s bill. However, sometimes, when something sounds like a good idea at the time, it may backfire. And that’s exactly what happened.

Rep. Seifert raised a point of order that the minority report offered by Huntley was not germane to the underlying bill.  Obviously, a bill hundreds of pages long offered as an alternative to a two-page bill  “greatly expands the scope of the bill” as is often argued on germaneness points of order. Apparently, Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher agreed, since she deferred ruling on the point of order and let the full House rule on the Seifert point of order.

In a victory for the Republicans Rep. Seifert’s point of order prevailed overwhelmingly on a bipartisan 75-56 vote. (This in itself is noteworthy because the minority rarely prevails on procedural motions.) Nearly two dozen Democrats joined Republicans in repudiating cynical politics and upholding the House rules. But not the local Democrats from East Central Minnesota. Joining Rep. Faust in participating in cynical partisan politics were Rep. Bill Hilty, (Finlayson), Rep. Gail Kulik Jackson (Milaca) and Rep. Jeremy Kalin (North Branch).  

In short, a vote against the Seifert point of order was actually a vote to move the Governor’s Health and Human Services bill one step closer to passage. Rep. Faust apparently didn’t remember what he had just written about the Governor’s plan before he voted. Or maybe he just thinks his constituents aren’t paying attention.

 In the interest of full disclosure, I am an employee of the Minnesota House of Representatives in the Republican Caucus. This blog is not paid for or sponsored in any way by any legislative caucus, political party, candidate or candidate’s committee. Opinions expressed herein are those of the administrator of this website and not necessarily that of any legislative caucus, political party, candidate or candidate’s committee.

MN House Meltdown II – The Faust Nuclear Option

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

In Minnesota, new nuclear power plants are prohibited. In fact, for quite some time, there has been a little sentence in Minnesota Statutes that prevent the Public Utilities Commission (PUC), the entity responsible for permitting new power plants, from issuing a “certificate of need” for a new nuclear power plant.

But things are changing. During the 2007-2008 Legislative session, Republican legislators tried to no avail to take the prohibition out of the statute so that the PUC could at least consider new nuclear plants. This year, however, the Minnesota Senate voted on a bipartisan basis to lift the nuclear moratorium. (Local DFL Senators Olseen and Fobbe voted to allow new nuclear plants; Sen Lourey voted no.)

Why this change of heart from some on the left? Well, it turns out that Nuclear power plants do not emit carbon dioxide, the hated colorless, odorless gas that occurs naturally, but is supposedly heating our planet. This fact puts environmental extremists in an awkward position. And, admittedly, it also puts conservatives in favor of new nuclear plants in a bit of a strange position, since one of the selling points for more nuclear comes from a page out of the environmentalists playbook.

It was the Minnesota House’s turn to take up the energy policy bill on April 30th. Since the amendment to lift the moratorium now had a chance to pass, the majority leadership decided to let a Democrat carry the amendment. So they chose Rep. Tim Faust (DFL – No Man’s Land). Prior to the debate on the energy bill, the rumor around the capitol was that there were between 65 and 70 votes in the House in favor of lifting the nuclear ban.

The Faust amendment took up much of the  debate on the energy bill, as many House members spoke to the issue, although Rep. Faust himself didn’t speak very long at all. In the end, the expected 65-70 votes for the Faust amendment turned into 60. The amendment failed 60-72. Local Reps. Faust and Eastlund voted yes. Rep. Bill Hilty (author of the underlying energy policy bill) voted no, as did Rep. Jeremy Kalin (DFL – North Branch) and Rep. Gail Kulik Jackson (DFL – Milaca). My understanding is that Rep. Jackson stated her support of nuclear power during her campaign. However, during her floor speech, she noted that she needed to “educate” her constituents about why we shouldn’t build more nuclear plants. 

It also shows poor planning on the part of the DFL House leadership by not having the votes lined up to pass one of its own members’ amendments (unless they intende to throw him under the bus). It also a lack of leadership on the part of Rep. Faust by under-performing the expected number of votes on his amendment.

Hopefully, the Senate position will prevail in the conference committee, and the PUC can at least consider another option to meet our future energy needs with a clean efficient and cost-effective option.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am an employee of the Minnesota House of Representatives in the Republican Caucus. This blog is not paid for or sponsored by any legislative caucus, political party, candidate or candidate’s committee. Opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of any legislative caucus, political party, candidate or candidate’s committee.

The Closing of Reddog Billy’s and Why it Matters Politically

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

A few weeks ago, a sizable family-owned restaurant in Pine City closed its doors. This article in the Pine City Pioneer tells the story, but in short, Reddog Billy’s owner Jeff Flaherty said the economy did him in. According to the Pioneer story, Flaherty cited four specific reasons that contributed to the closing of his restaurant:

  • the lower .08 percent blood alcohol content threshold for DUI offenses
  • the higher minimum wage
  • higher food and liquor taxes in Minnesota compared to Wisconsin
  • the implementation of Minnesota’s indoor smoking ban.

Now, I’ve only met Mr. Flaherty a couple times, and I can’t say that I know him personally, so I don’t know whether he has strong political leanings. I do know, however, that he is an experienced business person. He did not go into the restaurant business in Pine City green. He knows how to run a business, and as I read the article, it appears that he is speaking from the standpoint of his own experience and his own business expertise.

Mr. Flaherty did not appear to have a personal axe to grind or to play the victim as portrayed in the Pioneer article. He even went so far as to say that the opening of the new sports bar in town, Chubby’s, did not negatively impact his own business. He stated that the more choices a town has, more people will come to town.

While the lower blood alcohol content was not necessarily a partisan issue when it passed the Minnesota Legislature, it’s safe to say that Democrats in the legislature are mostly responsible for the other policies that forced the closing of Reddog Billy’s. These policies that liberal Democrats push with their heads in the sand, not thinking, or not caring, about the consequences are in fact forcing employers to close their doors and/or move to other states.

Reddog Billy’s at its peak employed 43 people. That is 43 people who are now either in the unemployment lines, driving farther to go to work, or having to work for less money.

To make matters worse, some local House members voted Monday to deny bar owners the option of having a “smoking room” where patrons could go to have a smoke. This amendment would have allowed employees the option of not entering the “smoking room”. Democrats voting to deny business owners this option were Rep. Tim Faust (Hinckley), Rep. Bill Hilty (Finlayson) and Rep. Gail Kulik-Jackson (Milaca). You would think Rep. Faust would especially know better, since the closing of Reddog’s should be fresh in his mind. Additionally, the temporary closing of the Sportsman’s Cafe in Mora was also blamed on the smoking ban by its manager.

Do you think Rep. Faust’s vote was influenced by the fact that one of his key campaign donors is a medical doctor and one of the most vociferous advocates of the smoking ban in the area? Just food for thought.

When liberals told us that businesses can absorb a higher minimum wage, that people will flock to restaurants when the smoking ban is implemented, and that employers don’t actually leave the state when we raise their taxes, real world experitnce tells us something different.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am an employee of the Minnesota House of Representatives in the Republican Caucus. This blog is not paid for or endorsed in any way by any legislative caucus, political party, candidate or candidate’s committee. Opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of any entity but the administrator of the East Central Truth Detector Blog.