Letter to the Editor: The Minnesota legislature is fractured

Published 5:15 pm Friday, May 31, 2024

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The last legislative session was a disaster.

One of the causes is the attitude of some legislators which is to find excuses to not vote for a bill instead of reasons to vote for it. This is due to some of the extremist ideology rampant at the Capitol.

An example is the bonding bill which was not passed. A bonding bill provides funds for projects that primarily benefit local communities like Austin. The last bonding bill included a $20 million project in Austin for the Hormel Institute, a division of the University of Minnesota. The funding would have provided opportunities for new research that could accelerate medical breakthroughs. Many other communities also had projects in the failed bonding bill that if funded would have reduced costs for their residents. Projects funded by bonding bills are necessary, if they are delayed, they invariably end up costing taxpayers more.

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The Hormel Institute project is the type of investment that also opens huge new economic development potential for our area, not just directly for the Hormel Institute but also for potential spin off businesses. This project at the Hormel Institute would have directly supported new high-tech jobs, greatly expanding opportunities for people living in the area.

What happened? The Bonding Bill became hostage to unrelated policy disagreements. Republicans tried to use the Bonding Bill as a bargaining chip to stop the Equal Rights Amendment. The Equal Rights Amendment is a Minnesota Constitutional amendment that all Minnesota voters would have had the opportunity to vote on and decide whether to add to the Constitution. Our legislators need to have the ability to build coalitions to prevent these types of destructive actions from happening.

Republicans objected to the Equal Rights Amendment’s protection of women’s reproductive rights. Rights that would specifically be enshrined in the Minnesota Constitution and not at risk of being taken away by some future rogue legislature or governor. These new rights could only be removed from the Minnesota Constitution by a vote by the people.

I do not understand what the problem is of allowing Minnesota voters to directly vote on what is in our Constitution.Minnesota legislators need to start doing what is best for their constituents. They need to start working together to move Minnesota forward.

Joe Pacovsky

Hayward, MN