- Minnesota concluded its legislative session this week, enacting many left-wing policy priorities into law.
- The measures enacted include a constitutional right to abortion, universal background checks, tax hikes, felony voting, legalization of cannabis and granting state-subsidized health insurance to illegal immigrants.
- Republican Senate Minority Leader Mark Johnson said it was the “most partisan session…in the history of the state,” where Democrats control the legislature.
The Minnesota State Legislature concluded its 2023 legislative session on Monday after passing a comprehensive set of left-wing legislative priorities, such as expanding access to abortion, legalizing cannabis and granting new rights to illegal immigrants.
The legislature, which has a slim Democratic majority in both houses, began its 100-day-long 2023 session on Jan. 3 and concluded on May 22, passing 72 bills that were signed by Democratic Gov. Tim Walz. Many of the bills enacted reflect top left-wing priorities — such as tax hikes and gun control — over the opposition of the GOP, with Senate Minority Leader Mark Johnson calling it “the most partisan session, not only in my memory but in the history of the state.”
Among the bills was the Protective Reproductive Options Act, which enshrined “reproductive freedom” as a principle of the Minnesota Constitution. The bill sets no limits on when an abortion can be performed in the state, while banning municipalities from enacting any restrictions, though the state’s Supreme Court ruling limiting abortions to pregnancies before “viability,” usually at 24 or 26 weeks of pregnancy, remains in place, according to Abortion Finder.
Gov. Tim Walz just signed the bill codifying abortion rights into law. It’s effective immediately.
“The message that we’re sending to Minnesota today is very clear: your rights are protected in this state.” pic.twitter.com/WxwReYQsmw
— Briana Bierschbach (@bbierschbach) January 31, 2023
“[W]e are delivering on our promise to put up a firewall against efforts to reverse reproductive freedom, said Walz. Minnesota has attracted women from other states, which are primarily Republican-led, and even some foreign countries, who are seeking an abortion, according to the state’s Department of Health.
Another bill, S.F. 2995, has been criticized by pro-life advocates who claim it revokes laws requiring care for infants “born alive” after a failed abortion and repeals the “Positive Alternatives Act,” which provides alternatives to abortion for women in the state. Walz is expected to sign the bill.
On criminal justice, the legislature passed an omnibus public safety bill that establishes universal background checks for the purchase of all firearms in the state, including between private parties, and requires a permit from local police before obtaining a firearm. The bill also enables police to seize firearms after the issuance of “extreme risk protection orders,” known conventionally as “red-flag laws,” which may also be filed by family members or romantic partners of an individual.
The omnibus bill also deletes language from the Minnesota Human Rights Act that excludes pedophiles from seeking protection from anti-discrimination statutes for their sexual orientation. The specific language – that “[s]exual orientation” does not include a “physical or sexual attachment to children by an adult” — was deleted from the Human Rights Act, which provoked uproar from GOP legislators.
In a debate on the floor, Republican state Sen. Nathan Wesenberg was brought to tears over the provision. He implored Democrats to vote against the bill “lest the people of our state come to believe that the majority of this body supports protecting pedophilia,” though the bill passed, with GOP amendments to the language rejected.
The bill, furthermore, included provisions that restricted the issuance of “no-knock” warrants to police, while a separate bill, would restore the voting rights of convicted felons. Yet another criminal justice bill, H.F. 100, was passed along party lines to legalize the recreational use of cannabis in the state, with Walz expected to sign it.
Other left-wing policies enacted by the legislature include laws permitting undocumented immigrants living in the state to receive state driver’s licenses, which Republican-led states such as Florida have barred, as well as access to state-subsidized health insurance, known as MinnesotaCare. The state legislature, moreover, enacted $1 billion worth of tax hikes on companies with international income and wealthy individuals, even as Minnesota has a $17.5 billion budget surplus, according to MPR News.
Commenting on the legislative session, Democratic state Sen. Mary Kunesh, said “We’re just all a little overwhelmed — absolutely giddy — with the work that has been done here,” per The Associated Press. Walz, meanwhile, tweeted that “The work we’ve done over the last five months will make a generational impact on our state.”
“From the Range to the Red River to Rochester and Rockville, average Minnesotans will remember the Democrats’ broken promises and extreme anti-police, anti-freedom, anti-common sense policies that are anything but ‘One Minnesota,’” they said. GOP state Sen. Ann Brindley, meanwhile, had one word to describe it: “Bonkers.”
Walz and Johnson did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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