Senate Republicans had a difficult week, frequently setting logic and science aside. The list below reflects some of the worst actions taken. This week’s Worst of the Week provides a benefit for thieves, price gougers, and special interests advocating to ignore climate change.
With so many to choose from, this week’s honorable mention is a no vote on price gouging. Minnesota is one of 14 states that does not prohibit price-gouging during an emergency. While Governor Walz has used emergency executive authority to prevent price gouging during the COVID-19 pandemic, Senate Republicans continue to refuse to pass this law in Minnesota to provide protections beyond the current crisis. Senate DFLers offered an amendment to the bill to prevent price gouging in the future but were blocked by Senate Republicans.
Here is this week’s worst of the week:
5. Sided with thieves instead of car owners. Despite the work of Senate DFLers with a broad range of stakeholders, Senate Republicans have refused to hear legislation that would address the large and growing issue of catalytic converter theft. On Wednesday, April 14th Senate Republicans once again refused to have a discussion on catalytic converter theft, blocking an amendment to the omnibus commerce and consumer protection bill. Current Minnesota law is insufficient to prevent catalytic converters theft, but Senate Republicans have chosen not to address the problem. (Amendment to SF 972)
4. Left Minnesotans out in the cold. Current Minnesota law prohibits utility companies from shutting off consumer’s heat in winter due to missed or late payments. Senate DFLers proposed an amendment to expand the prohibition an additional 15 days at the start and end of winter in order to protect Minnesotans from extreme weather events in spring and fall that are increasingly common due to climate change. Senate Republicans blocked this amendment, putting Minnesotans at risk in their own homes. (Amendment to SF 972)
3. Refused to admit that climate change is real. Climate scientists the world over agree: climate change is real, it is caused by humans, and it will have severe impacts on every area of human life. However, Senate Republicans continue to argue that cold weather in Minnesota indicates that the climate is warming. That logic was used to block an amendment that would recognize in state statute that climate change is real and caused by human activity. (Amendment to SF 972)
2. Chose white supremacists over black, brown, and Asian Minnesotans. In their service to our state, police officers are called to serve and protect all Minnesotans- white, black, brown, or Asian. That did not stop Senate Republicans from voting to allow Minnesota’s Police Officers to associate with white supremacist groups. Senate DFLers offered an amendment to the judiciary omnibus budget bill for that purpose, and also sought to strengthen Minnesota’s hate crime laws to better protect Asian Americans that have been targeted over the past year. Senate Republicans blocked both amendments. (Amendment to SF 970)
1. Denied Minnesotans time to heal and care for loved ones. Senate DFL members offered an amendment to create access to Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) for all Minnesotans. Minnesotans believe in caring for one another and should not have to sacrifice food on their table or a roof over their heads to do so. Senate Republicans have denied PFML legislation a hearing and blocked the amendment on the Senate floor. 80% of Minnesotans believe that all Minnesotans deserve time to care for themselves and family members, whether it’s for a new baby, an unexpected illness, or an aging parent. Unfortunately, Senate Republicans do not agree. (Amendment to SF 1098)