Thursday, May 31, 2007

Chili & Chat redux

It seems like SD 45 just had their first Chili & Chat, and now here comes another one in just a few weeks! The last one drew grassroots activists from three or four surrounding BPOUs. In addition to meeting and greeting, I'll be looking to catch the residual buzz on the Republican State Central Committee meeting. I anticipate another fun evening to hobnob with my fellow Republicans and have some great home cookin' without the constraints of Robert's Rules of Order. I hope they do another presidential straw poll (Newt won the first one, but Fred Thompson wasn't even on the radar back in March).

Bravo to SD 45 for this wonderful series of BPOU-building events. It should be replicated and adapted by other BPOUs across the state. Hat tip to Rob Hewitt and SD 63 for this great idea.

Here's your invite:
Here's a great opportunity to hear some inside war stories from this year's stormy session. Just how bad did it get? Please join us to find out at our second Senate District 45 Chili & Chat. This night's topic: The 2007 Legislative Session —DFL Lowlights & GOP Highlights.

The DFL legislators gambled on busting our state budget with over $4 billion dollars worth of spending with some outrageous bills. But GOP leadership sent them home by holding firm and united. Hear first-hand accounts of this year’s session and meet activists who helped us all win.

Mark your calendars on June 19, 2007 to listen to and ask questions of these stars of movement conservatism in Minnesota:

Rep. Tom Emmer, Deputy Minority Leader, 19B

And Special Guest Speakers, Radio Show Hosts and Bloggers:

Northern Alliance Radio’s “Final Hour” Hosts
King Banaian “SCSU Scholars”
Michael Brodkorb “MN Democrats Exposed”

Tuesday, June 19, 6:30-8:30 pm
Cooper High School, New Hope
8240 47th Avenue (one block west of Winnetka Avenue)

Fee: $10 per person (FREE with $50 BPOU donation)
Includes Chili dogs, BBQ pork sandwiches & trimmings, cookie & beverage.
Chili Chat—Good Food. Good Friends. Good Politics.

See the SD 45 web site for details.

Friday, May 25, 2007

All gave some, some gave all

Thank you, veterans for our freedom!

"Never in the history of the world has any soldier sacrificed more for the freedom and liberty of total strangers than the American soldier. And our soldiers don't just give freedom abroad, they preserve it for us here at home.

"It has been said truthfully that it is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us the freedom of the press.

"It is the soldier, not the poet who has given us the freedom of speech.

"It is the soldier, not the agitator, who has given us the freedom to protest.

"It is the soldier who salutes the flag, serves beneath the flag, whose coffin is draped by the flag, who gives that protester the freedom he abuses to burn that flag." —Senator Zell Miller (D-Georgia)

God Bless America, our active duty military, and our veterans!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Teenage Republicans to host Al Quie

With so many oppportunities in the public schools for kids to get indoctrinated in a wide variety of social issues, such as global warming, smoking bans (except marijuana), light rail, universal health care, gun control (except for criminals), Bush-bashing, global government, Robin Hood-style confiscatory progressive taxation, the radical secularization of American society, government employee unions, guaranteed equal outcomes for all, the list goes on, it's nice to find a forum where kids can hear the other side.

On Saturday June 9th at 7:00PM, the Minnesota Teenage Republicans (TARs) will be hosting an event featuring former Governor Albert H. Quie. The event will be held at Minnetonka High School, room to be announced.

This is the second state-wide meeting in Alex Friedman's term as chair. The Minnesota Teenage Republicans hope to use this meeting and its high profile guest to attract more teenagers to the organization. There are five official chapters of TARs functioning in the state. (Minnetonka, Coon Rapids, Mounds View, Perham and Lakeville North), with a much larger number of "young Republican" clubs in the state that are not yet affiliated with the central organization. Minnesota TAR hopes to increase the number of youth that are in contact with conservative principles and ultimately increase the number of teenage Republican clubs.

<hint> This will also be a prime opportunity for BPOUs to do some outreach in advance of 2008 — unless they already have enough people to pound lawn signs, lit drop, conduct voter registration drives, staff phone banks, walk parades, write letters to the editor, all things that teenagers have the time and energy to do between watching An Inconvenient Truth and searching for a place to fill up their parents' flex fuel vehicles with E-85.</hint>

Minnesota Teenage Republicans is an organization dedicated to educating kids between the ages of 13 and 18 on Republican Party politics, and getting Republicans candidates elected. This event is open to any high school student for free, as well as any adult chaperone or community leaders.


Thursday, May 10, 2007

What's your Geek Quotient?

A new poll, with accompanying online quiz by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, reveals that we're not all bloggers, obsessively checking our RSS feeds, catching up on podcasts during our workouts, text messaging each other, weeding spam out of our inboxes, or carrying our Blackberrys everywhere. The PIALP study, "A Typology of Information and Communication Technology Users," has found, for example,
Fully half of adults have a more distant or non-existent relationship to modern information technology. Some of this diffidence is driven by people’s concerns about information overload; some is related to people’s sense that their gadgets have more capacity than users can master; some is connected to people’s sense that things like blogging and creating home-brew videos for YouTube is not for them; and some is rooted in people’s inability to afford or their unwillingness to buy the gear that would bring them into the digital age.
Take the quiz for yourself at the site.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

I love the smell of amendments in the morning

Minnesota House Minority Leader Rep. Marty Seifert sent me a wonderful summary of the various omnibus bills currently before the Legislature. Actually, Rep. Seifert sent the same summary to everyone else on his e-mail mailing list, too (add yourself to the list by visiting his web page).

Reading through this makes me wistful for a job at the Capitol, watching the dance of legislation from ground level, taking a brisk walk through the tunnel between the Capitol and the State Office Building, watching a raucous demonstration in the rotunda, waving in the background while Mary Lahammer or Tom Hauser tries to tape a report, nodding off during citizen testimony during a stuffy Senate committee hearing, schmoozing with the LAs in the Senate Republican caucus, filing the business card of the new governmental affairs director from that non-profit in Minneapolis, catching a press conference in SOB Room 181 — well, enough about me, here is Rep. Seifert's most excellent update from the front lines, or, "Sleepless in Saint Paul:"

Two Weeks to Finish Session

The legislature has two weeks from tomorrow to meet the Constitutional deadline and finish. There are many Omnibus Finance Bills yet to finish, but some progress is being made. Let me share the specifics:

1) The Omnibus Agriculture and Veterans Finance Bill passed easily and was signed into law last week. I voted "yes" on passage of this bill. It spends less money than Governor Pawlenty originally recommended. It funds programs relating to agriculture like ethanol, grain inspections, alternative energy studies & items relating to state veterans programs and military affairs. The Governor line-item vetoed two agriculture provisions worth $1.35 million. In Minnesota, the Governor does have the authority to strike out specific appropriations, but cannot strike out individual language items, only spending money. As Minority Leader, I consult with the Governor on line-item vetoes and vetoes on entire bills.

2) The Omnibus Public Safety Finance Bill passed easily on Friday. This was after a provision relating to trial lawyers originally added to the bill got dropped on Thursday. This provision may come back as a stand-alone bill later in session. I voted "yes" on passage of this bill, which funds prisons, courts, victim's programs, etc. The Governor will not line-item any provisions from this bill and it spends about $1 million less than his original request.

3) The Omnibus Environment, Energy and Commerce Bill passed on Friday. It funds agencies like the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the Pollution Control Agency (PCA), among others. This bill spends about $19 million more than the Governor requested and raises various fees. In addition, there are also some troublesome regulatory provisions in this bill, which triggered my "no" vote on the bill. The Governor is very likely going to sign this bill, but strike out some appropriations via a line-item veto on this bill.

4) The Omnibus Education Finance Bill is in conference committee. A Conference Committee is a group of 10 members of the legislature (5 from the House and 5 from the Senate) who work out differences in the original bills. The conference report is the final bill, which cannot be changed or amended once it reaches the floor. Both the House and Senate spend more than the Governor's recommendation in their original bills, but I am hopeful that savings from other bills and line-item vetoes can be moved to this budget area to be able to successfully finish session, fund education and not have to have a tax increase. This bill has not returned for a vote.

5) The Omnibus Health and Human Services Bill is still in conference committee. It spends hundreds of millions of dollars more than the Governor's recommendation and will likely be vetoed if it stays on the spending track that the original bills took. In the next biennium (two year budget period), the House bill grew in spending by 19% and in the biennium after that, it grew this area by over 40%. That is simply unsustainable. This bill has not returned for a vote as of yet.

6) The Omnibus Jobs and Economic Development bill was passed on a mostly party-line vote last Friday. It spends over $50 million more than the Governor's recommendation, including many pork-barrel provisions. There are some key anti-job provider provisions in the bill too. The bill is being vetoed this weekend and the legislature will have to address those concerns in a new bill this week. I voted "no" on the bill.

7) The Omnibus State Government Finance Bill barely passed on Friday with all Republicans voting "no" and some DFLers voting against it too. This bill has some troublesome language issues. It also grows the budget of the legislature by 19% over the biennium. This is just unacceptable and too large. Why should legislative budgets grow that much, while important areas in other parts of the budget get measly increases? This bill is being vetoed over the weekend and a new bill will come out later this week. I voted "no" on this bill.

8) The Omnibus Transportation Finance Bill is in a conference committee. The big sticking point is the difference between Governor Pawlenty's opposition to the 10 cent per gallon gas tax increase and the one in the bill proposed by House and Senate Democrats. If a gas tax is included in the final bill, it will be vetoed. This bill has not returned for a vote as of yet.

9) The Omnibus Higher Education Finance Bill is still in a conference committee. The big sticking point is a provision pushed by Democrats to give in-state tuition to illegal aliens. If this is in the final bill, it will be vetoed by the Governor. This is the bill that has a tuition freeze included. I offered the amendment to do the tuition freeze on the House floor and it passed easily. The Senate does not have a tuition freeze in their bill. This bill has not returned for a vote as of yet. I will not support it if it includes the provision to give in-state tuition for illegal aliens.

10) The Omnibus Capital Investment or "Bonding" bill passed the House on a straight party line vote about two weeks ago. It was vetoed in its entirety by the Governor. It spent over $300 million, much on pork projects or items that can be funded in next year's bonding bill. This is supposed to be an emergency only bill and it went far beyond that. I will vote to sustain the Governor's veto if and when it comes up. I voted "no" on passage of the bill.

11) The Omnibus Tax bill is still in conference committee. Both the House and Senate bills raise income taxes. The House bill also raises taxes on tobacco, institutes a "gift tax" on people, a new hockey ticket tax, taxes on job-providers, amongst others. The state budget will grow almost 10% over the biennium without a tax increase, so I question the need for a tax increase to throw a wet blanket on our economy. The Senate bill would make Minnesota have the higher income tax rate of all states in the United States. The Governor will veto this bill if it returns with tax increases. Generally, most families do not have their incomes grow by this rate and state government should too.

Other Remaining Issues

Some issues that the House of Representatives will consider in the next two weeks, in addition to the above omnibus bills will include: disaster relief for Brown's Valley, Rogers and Warroad (I was appointed to the House-Senate Conference Committee on Friday by the Speaker of the House); a bill to allow smoking of marijuana for medicinal reasons; a bill to disallow cigarette smoking on private property such as bars; a bill to create a mandatory state-wide insurance pool for school employees; a bill to regulate energy providers, among many others. Go to to check the schedule.

Governor's Legislative Log

A bill that passes both houses of the legislature is called an act. In order to view the acts presented to the Governor and see if he signs or vetoes them, go to this log:


Due to the amount of activity in the legislature, it will be very difficult to contact me via phone in the next two weeks. I do personally check my e-mail almost every day, so please send your thoughts on legislation to me at

Have a great week!

Rep. Marty Seifert

Monday, May 07, 2007

Minority party animals

In the face of unrestrained tax increase proposals and unsustainable growth in government from the DFL House and Senate, Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Republican leadership, notably Minority Leader Rep. Marty Seifert (R-Marshall) are using the tools of minority party status to put the brakes on giddy Democrat overreaching in the afterglow of the 2006 elections.

One of the benefits of losing the majority in the House last year is that it has sharpened the ideological focus of the new minority party, among elected officials and the grassroots alike. Jason Lewis, conservative icon on 100.3 KTLK-FM, and the Taxpayers League of Minnesota, under new president and former Minnesota House Rep. Phil Krinkie, both have their groove on. While many if not most conservatives are restless, there is a renewed sense of hope, from a possible change of the state Republican party chair, to much discussion of the wide 2008 Presidential candidate field.

The Governor, Annette Meeks, and Dave Thompson, on last week's At Issue with Tom Hauser (Sundays on KSTP-TV 5 and KSTC-TV 45) did a great job stating their cases. And AM 1280 The Patriot provides a vital public service every Saturday when it broadcasts the Northern Alliance Radio Network. Of course, the message also needs to reach out to the voters who don't watch the Sunday morning political shows or listen to NARN. I guess that's up to the rest of us.

A big election loss doesn't have to be all bad — but thank goodness we have Gov. Tim Pawlenty standing between us and a DFL socialist utopia, with its ever-increasing redistribution of poverty and nanny-state repeal of our freedoms.

Friday, May 04, 2007

What would J.R. do?

After hearing from the ten Republican declared candidates for President at last night's debate, I wish that a straight-talking, charismatic conservative Southerner would take the national podium and put both political parties and their special interests in their place and put America first, like Fred Thompson, Newt Gingrich, Ross Perot, or good old John Ross Ewing II...


Thursday, May 03, 2007

Seifert: this hog is dead

Graphic: Freedom
"I know that he who promises to rob Peter to pay Paul will always have the support of Paul. The robbers are here today. But you are robbing people from throughout the state to make government bigger. You are robbing Saint Peter to pay Saint Paul."

—Minnesota House Minority Leader Rep. Marty Seifert (R-Marshall), commenting on the pork- and tax increase-laden, House omnibus tax bill, April 27, 2007, which before the elections DFLers assured us would not happen

Read the whole text of Seifert's comments on the floor of the House. Priceless. Bravo.