A lot of times people vote based on party line without looking at policy or actual legislative action. To remedy that, I want people to at least be aware of what their GOP reps are doing so they can contact them or otherwise hold them accountable and make an informed choice in November.
Gun violence is a bi-partisan issue, but last week, once again GOP legislators halted two popular common-sense gun control bills which have broad bi-partisan support. Here are the specifics:
HF 1605 was introduced by Dave Pinto 2/23/17. This bill would allow law enforcement and family members to petition a court to prohibit people from possessing firearms if they pose a significant danger to themselves or others. This is something that many police officers support.
HF 1669 was introduced by Dave Pinto on 2/23/17. It requires a criminal background check when transferring a firearm to someone (such as selling to a friend). This also has bi-partisan support.
Because the GOP has control of what bills are heard, the bills did not get any sort of audience until March 1, 2018, when a little-known procedural rule was used to get them heard in committee. But instead of putting the bills to a vote, committee chair and GOP rep Mark Uglem (representing district 36A) made a motion to table the bills instead of discuss or vote. This was voted on along party lines with the motion carrying, but it should be noted that GOP Representative Keith Franke (54A) broke with party lines and voted against tabling one of the bills (the background checks). Thank you Mr. Franke. Reps who voted to table were Brian Johnson, Kathy Lohmer, Matt Grossell, Jeff Howe, Eric Lucero, Jim Newberger, Marion O’Neill, and Nick Zerwas.
Then, on 3/20/18, Mr. Pinto attempted to make a motion to bring the bills back to committee for discussion, basically to “un-table” the bills, but the GOP reps again (with the exception again of Mr. Franke for one bill) voted to keep them tabled.
We need better report cards on exactly what these representatives are doing, we need to return to a focus on policy, and we need more awareness of what is going on at the capital. I urge all Minnesotans to consider this information carefully and to get in touch with their Republican representatives if they are unhappy with this action. It is my hope that we can become an example of a state that works together on issues, for the goals and concerns that we share. This would be a wonderful opportunity to do so.
Representative Mark Uglem