On a party line vote Wednesday, Senate Republicans moved forward the State Government Omnibus Budget Bill, which includes $23 million of budget cuts. These budget reductions to state agencies would create significant cuts in staffing levels, impede agency responsiveness, increase waiting times for services, and reduce the quality of services provided.
Despite being a budget bill, S.F. 1831 also includes a number of controversial policy provisions targeting Minnesota’s elections including replacing same-day registration with provisional balloting, restricting early voting locations, and requiring challenged voter records and election judge political party information to be made public. This follows a nationwide trend of Republican state legislators enacting restrictive voting reforms meant to suppress the vote.
In response to this egregious and unprecedented attack on Minnesota’s elections and public employees, the DFL members of the State Government Finance and Policy and Elections Committee, ranking lead Senator Jim Carlson (DFL-Eagan), Senator Greg Clausen (DFL-Apple Valley), and Senator Omar Fateh (DFL-Minneapolis), released the following statement:
“Minnesota’s public employees are doing unprecedented work right now to help people get through the COVID-19 pandemic, and yet Senate Republicans have proposed indiscriminate budget cuts that would hamstring these essential workers. Slashing funding for state agencies across the board does nothing to improve the functions of government. It will only cause delays and frustration at a time when state employees are dealing with unprecedented needs as a result of the global pandemic. Despite making $23 million in cuts targeting these workers and agencies, Senate Republicans made it a priority to increase the budget of the Senate and the Legislative Coordinating Commission.
This bill is anti-worker and will be a hit to our state’s economy. This bill inserts the legislature into collective bargaining agreements that are negotiated by unions and employers, which will harm public employees and their families.
In 2020, Minnesota once again was a national leader in turning out to vote. Yet Senate Republicans are joining with their colleagues nationwide in attacking the fundamental freedom of Minnesotans to vote by eliminating same-day registration, adding burdens for county election officials and voters with the introduction of provisional ballots, and reducing the number of early voting options.
We must be clear – the only goal of these provisions is to suppress the vote. Minnesotans are not asking for these bills, and we join with Minnesotans in rejecting them.”