The State Capitol is becoming a very busy place at this stage of the legislative session. Right now, the committee process is where much of the work is taking place; as the first deadline by which bills must be through the committee process and set for floor action is just two weeks from today.
Several times each day, however, I have the privilege of meeting with constituents from the community visiting the Capitol. In the photo above, I got to spend some time with members of the Hopkins Legislative Action Coalition and Hopkins School Board. The photo below was taken just outside the House chamber, along with members of the Wayzata Legislative Action Coalition and Wayzata School Board. If you ever are able to make it to St. Paul this session, please make sure you stop by my office and say hello!
House Chamber Mute Button
One of the most important aspects to a fair and open democracy is the principle that everyone has the right to be heard. Unfortunately, during renovations of the State Capitol, the Speaker of the House secretly installed a “chamber mute” button enabling him to silence opposing viewpoints. This was only discovered last year when one DFL Representative’s microphone went dead during the middle of a speech. At the time, it was believed to have been a technical difficulty, but we soon learned that was not the case. Not only does the use of such a blunt instrument remove voices in debate, but it leaves the public out in the cold as far as what is being done and said by their elected Representatives. Last week, during our biannual discussion over the House Rules, I attempted to remove this feature from the Speaker’s rostrum. KARE 11 recently covered this issue.
For the legislature to operate in an environment of trust and be productive for the people of Minnesota, the majority must certainly be able to take action, but the minority must also be able to share its perspective. As the political tables may one day turn, I would hope that we could all recognize that each of these are of equal importance.
Town Hall Meeting
Mark your calendars for Wednesday night, March 22 at 7:00 p.m., as I will host a town hall meeting, giving you an opportunity to share your priorities as well as get an update on the status of the legislative session. We will meet in the Council Chambers at the Minnetonka Community Center, and I hope you can attend. Unlike other elected officials at town hall events, I will be showing up!
WHAT: Town Hall Meeting
WHO: State Rep. Jon Applebaum, interested members of the community.
WHEN: Wednesday, March 22, 7:00 – 8:00 p.m.
WHERE: Minnetonka Community Center, Council Chamber, 14600 Minnetonka Blvd, Minnetonka, MN 55345
Discrimination Against Israel
Last night on the House Floor, we passed HF 400, a bipartisan bill of which I was the lead Democratic author, that prohibits the state of Minnesota from doing business with vendors who discriminate against Israel. As we are learning all too well, instances of anti-Semitic activities are on the rise, including here in our community with the threat against Sabes Jewish Community Center last month, and the threat against the JCC in St. Paul this week. It’s extremely important for us to come together to fight against discrimination of all stripes, and passage of this bill is just one way we can accomplish that. Similar legislation has been approved in 16 states and I am grateful that upon Governor Dayton’s signature, the taxpayers in the State of Minnesota will not be subsidizing discrimination against Israel.
Please keep in touch with any questions or comments you may have. Maximum feedback from the community is crucial for me to advocate for you in St. Paul. It’s an honor to represent you at the Capitol.
Deputy Minority Leader