Tag Archives: Minnesota Legislature

Minnesota State Representative Pat Garofalo Will Continue to Break the Law #mnleg

Pat Garofalo doesn’t believe in a checks and balances system, at least not when a DFLer is the governor.  He doesn’t care if the Governor vetoed the fireworks bill, he is going to throw himself on the floor, whine, kick his feet, pound his fists, hold his breath, and he isn’t going to follow the state’s stupid laws.

Pat Garofalo has a hand in making laws, but he so little respect for laws he doesn’t agree with that he openly breaks those laws.  On Twitter, he told the governor he planned to break the law and use illegal fireworks anyway.  What a leader, right?  Thinking it’s acceptable to break the law is nothing new for Garofalo.  You may recall in May of 2009, Garofalo was incensed that Minnesota law enforcement officials were going to begin enforcing the law that restricted people in Minnesota from gambling online.  My speculation was that Pat regularly and illegally gambled online, and didn’t want to lose that privilege or lose the money he had in his illegal accounts.

He never came out and said he was breaking the law then, but yesterday, Pat Garofalo told Governor Dayton, law abiding Minnesotans, Minnesota doctors, fire fighters and police officer, and the Minnesota Constitution to go to hell when Governor Dayton vetoed the bill to legalize large fireworks in Minnesota.

Isn’t it great that a LAWMAKER refuses to follow the LAW?  You can bet that his opponent this fall, Jim Arlt, a law enforcement officer for over 30 years, respects the laws of the state, the governor, and the people who follow the law.  To make a donation to Jim Arlt in his bid to defeat Pat Garofalo, please visit his website.

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Sen. Thompson’s “Right-to-Work” legislation provides no rights and no work

I submitted the following letter to the editor of the Farmington Independent, attention Editor Nathan Hansen, on Monday January 23, 2012.

Earlier that day, State Senator Dave Thompson posted on Twitter and Facebook that he intends to introduce “Right-to-Work” legislation as a constitutional amendment for voters decide on in November.

The letter that follows is the unedited version of the letter that was published January 26th in the Farmington Independent.  The MLK quote at the bottom was removed:

Letter: Legislation’s real goal is busting unions

State Senator Dave Thompson of Lakeville posted on Facebook and Twitter earlier this week that he intends to introduce what he is calling an “Employee Freedom Bill” as an amendment to Minnesota’s Constitution.  This type of legislation has been in the works across America for decades, and is more commonly referred to as “Right-to-Work” legislation.  But don’t let the phrases “Employee Freedom” and “Right-to-Work” fool you.  Those buzz phrases were carefully developed to mislead people.  “Employee Freedom” and “Right-to-Work” legislation is simply intended to bust unions.

With fewer and fewer of us as union members, unknowingly we accept the negative stereotype about unions and union members that has been constantly promoted by corporate interests and the politicians who tie themselves to those interests.  Together they have spent billions of dollars to promote an anti-union agenda.  State Senator Dave Thompson, is now tying himself to special interest groups like the MN Chamber of Commerce who spends more than twice as much to lobby our legislators as any union does.  (MSP Biz Journal, 2012)

If State Senator Dave Thompson gets his wish and puts this on the ballot for all of us to vote on in November, voters have an important decision to make.  We need to decide if we want to accelerate the downward plunge in the quality of life many middle-class Minnesotans are experiencing, the way other states that have these laws of de-unionization have reduced middle-class wages and working conditions.

Do we want more Minnesotans to be without the ability to bargain for decent medical benefits?  Do we want to risk a living wage and prevent employees from being able to bargain collectively for the pay they deserve?  Do we want corporations to decide what air is safe to breath and what equipment is safe to operate?  Do we want employees to be fired because they complain about unsafe work conditions?  Do we want the gap between rich and poor to increase even more and even faster?

Take a close look at the constitutional amendments that will or might be on the ballot in 2012.  State Senator Dave Thompson and the other politicians like him will use compelling words to use emotions to get you to support these amendments.  But, every potential constitutional amendment so far seems to be about taking rights away from people who don’t have the power to fight back. 

Vote no on any so called right-to-work amendments. The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said it best: “We must guard against being fooled by false slogans, as ‘right-to-work.’ It provides no ‘rights’ and no ‘works.’ Its purpose is to destroy labor unions and the freedom of collective bargaining… We demand this fraud be stopped.”

Steve Quist
Farmington, MN

Link to Letter on The Farmington Independent site: http://www.farmingtonindependent.com/event/article/id/19101/

SQ

Marriage – Love Home Family Equality

Love.  Home.  Family.  Equality.  Three of those four words represent what it means to be a family in Minnesota.  We fall in love.  We live in a home together.  We are a family.  But we are not all equal.

I married my high school sweetheart.  We got married when we were 22, bought a home when we were 25, started our family when were 26, and are now working, enjoying life, and planning for the future.  After 18 years of marriage, we have established our own family traditions, we have acquired a lot of stuff, we are paying our mortgage and have a fair amount of equity in our house, less and less each year recently, but equity none-the-less, we are building a retirement portfolio, and we rely on each other for practically everything we do, and my wife is my best friend.

How different is that story from any other family in Minnesota?  Some of the details may be different, but the basic story is the same.  It doesn’t matter if the couples are Doug and Nancy or Steve and Andrea, or Jeff and Jason or Michelle and Connie.   We are in love and we are building a home and growing as a family.  Why should there be legal limitations on a family based on the person they love?  Why should one couple face legal restrictions when it comes to healthcare decisions, estate planning, parenting rights, and even separation rights, when other couples don’t?

If I died tomorrow, my wife would still have our house, both of our cars that happen to be in my name, my retirement fund, our bank accounts, my tools, my baseball gloves, my Mickey Mantle and Harmon Killebrew baseball cards, my books, my warm socks she sometimes wears in the winter and my priceless comforter, that my wife made for me when I went away to college, that has kept me warm for more than 20 years.  She would still possess all those things and have rights to those things because we are married.  There is no need to spend the time and money to have a lawyer prepare documents that protect her property rights from my family.

Unlike heterosexual couples that choose not to marry and risk those outcomes, a gay couple that wants to marry has no option.  In many instances families recognize the couple and respect their relationship, but even good families can act strangely and unpredictably when confronted with death.  Anger, grief, even individual economic or personal circumstances may cause family members to be irrational, opportunistic, ambivalent and even hostile toward partners.

I really believe this a basic human rights issue.  I think every couple deserves the same rights.  I think the idea of love, family and home should have equality added on to it.  I also believe this Marriage Amendment is happening at a momentous point in history.  I believe we are less than a generation away from hitting a point in time when people value the relationship itself more than whether it is a conventional relationship.  I think we see it in some of our younger Republican leaders who see this as a matter of being happy and enjoying the freedoms our soldiers fought and died for rather than a biased belief based in religion or habit.  It is already happening, we are on the cusp.  Half of Americans believe the federal government should recognize marriages among same-sex couples.

It is simply and purely common sense.  All couples, including gay and lesbian couple should have the same right to make a lifelong commitment to love and protect each other.   All couples should be given the tools and protections to protect their families, and the homes they have built together.  And all couples who are committed enough to make a life-long personal commitment to one another, for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, deserve the cultural respect, social support, and legal protections that come with marriage.

That’s why I will be voting “NO” on the 2012 Minnesota Marriage Amendment that will ask Minnesotans to vote yes or no on the question: “Shall the Minnesota Constitution be amended to provide that only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Minnesota?”

There is no reason that a slick campaign, an influx of advertising money, buzz phrases and smart wording should be the deciding factor on this amendment.  It is up to you and me to make sure people know what the impact is.  Tell your family it is wrong to vote yes for this amendment.  It doesn’t matter whether somebody disapproves of marriage between same-sex couples.  What matters is that we don’t have a right to decide how others live or what they do privately in with their lives and in their homes, when it is legal and they are of no harm to us, to their families, or to the rest of society.

Everybody deserves equality.  Without equal rights, we are not free.  All couples who wish to be married, should be married.  Love.  Home.  Family.  Equality.

Republicans may not care about the shutdown, but people with a conscience do

I predicted this would happen.  I said the shutdown would last a week or so and Republicans would start saying something to the effect that government is obviously not that big of a deal because most people are not feeling the effect.  It is the exact same reason Republicans will be able to take away people’s right to vote with a Voter ID Bill.  Because it does not affect a majority of people. 

The problem is that it is affecting people, and it is affecting them significantly.  It is obviously affecting people who receive benefits from the state to live and work, and it is obviously affecting the people that work to keep our state running and as great as it can be.  But that is a minority of people, and the people living in wealthy suburbs don’t have to deal with them on a daily basis.  Republicans have such contempt for people who can’t take care of themselves, never mind the circumstances.  And Republicans in Lakeville, Prior Lake and Eagan don’t really care about the fishing resort in Northern Minnesota who are losing guests from out of state because people can’t buy fishing licenses. 

Yeah, the Republicans are saying people don’t really care that the government is shutdown, but I’m saying even though it isn’t affecting me right now, I care.  And if Republicans cannot agree to cuts in government and tax increases on 7,700 people that make over one million dollars (that is $1,000,000.00, a one with six zeros after it) a year, then I say to hell with them.  What’s the point of trying to compromise?  Let’s just go back to the pioneer days of dirt roads and side arms.

This is hurting the state, it is hurting the economy, and it is hurting Minnesotans, even if you sit in your air conditioned family room watching cable news and eating the caviar you so richly deserve because you have proven you can pull yourself up by your bootstraps.  Thanks for working towards making Minnesota suck as a place to live.  Thanks for working to ruin everything that makes Minnesota better than every state around us.

A low tax on the rich does not make a state great.  Low government spending does not make a state great.  Highly educated people that come from great public schools and top notch universities make a state great.  Beautiful parks and clean lakes that draw visitors from around the country, and allow those of us to live here to enjoy weekend recreation make a state great.  The best healthcare and the ability to stay active and healthy make a state great.  Diversity in people, jobs and activities, cities and farms, open spaces and community gathering spots make a state great.  And the absence of extremist politics makes a state great.  How are the Republicans going to get any of that by spending less and making a few people richer?  People invested in making this state what it is.  Are we going to throw it away because a minority of people who are politically active and currently in power think the rest of us are worthless?

Seriously, let me know if you want to throw it all away…

Garofalo is not stealing taxpayer money, BUT THOMPSON AND HOLBERG ARE!

I came across a list of Minnesota legislators who refused their July 1 salary payments.  I was not surprised to see 36B Representative Pat Garofalo on the list.  He came out right from the beginning and said it would not be right to accept a paycheck during a government shutdown.

But what surprised me was that pro-shrink the government representative from 36A Mary Liz Holberg and outspoken Tea Partyish District 36 state Senator Dave Thompson were not on the list.  I just assumed that they would be a couple of legislators who were really willing to prove just how fiscally responsible they are to Minnesota taxpayers.

Dave Thompson and Mary Liz Holberg supporting Tom Emmer

Rep. Mary Liz Holberg is in a unique situation.  She can win elections by doing very little campaigning and by spending a small amount of money.  She has name recognition in the area.  She was a past local beauty queen and has served so many terms in the state House now that it is habitual for people to vote for her.  She can take her pay without it being much of a negative if she continues to run.

Sen. Dave Thompson is another story.  Sure he has the name recognition from his years as an extremist Republican radio show host on KSTP1500, and gets a lot of recognition because he is a great speaker, so he is always out front.  But he probably needs to get that taxpayer’s check.  I’m sure his degree to become a lawyer was expensive and he’s got to think about retirement because in “Dave Thompson’s perfect world” social security and Medicare will not exist.  Plus, he’s got two kids who need college paid for soon and grants are going away and tuition is going up thank to him and his Republican buddies.  Oh, and he has that big shiny maroon Mercedes-Benz that needs gas and car washes.  Yep, he needs that money.  Anyway, he has to deal with liberals, so it is not only need, it is deserved money from the taxpayers even if other state workers who are not as important as him don’t deserve paychecks.

Link to the list of legislators not taking pay: http://blogs.citypages.com/blotter/2011/07/minnesota_house_legislators_not_accepting_salary.php