Sneaky stuff in omnibus bills

mct state capitol

Thanks to two whistle-blowing state senators, we know about two sneaky provisions hiding in plain sight in the final three weeks of the Minnesota legislative session: repeal of campaign finance reforms and a sell-out of Minnesota privacy rules.

Campaign finance

Senator John Mary wrote about the repeal of campaign finance reforms:

“What if Republicans repealed Minnesota’s campaign finance reforms and nobody knew about it? Unfortunately, that is happening right now….

“[T]he repeal is buried in the large budget bill that funds state agencies. It takes just 4 lines hidden in a lengthy 56-page bill to destroy four decades of campaign financing reform.

“The law being repealed established campaign spending limits for candidates. Those spending limits are tied to public financing to help give new candidates and those without a lot of money a chance to compete without relying on wealthy interests to fund their campaigns….

“Senate File 605, the State Government Appropriations Bill that contains the repeal of the campaign finance reforms, is in conference committee to work out differences between the House and Senate language. The one conferee fighting to block it is Sen. Carolyn Laine, the only DFL member of the committee. Unless the Republican conference committee members have a change of heart, or unless the Governor vetoes the bill, Minnesota’s campaign finance reforms will be gone.”

See the rest of Senator Marty’s post on his To The Point blog.

Un-protecting privacy

Senator Scott Dibble wrote about the threat to Minnesotan’s privacy on his Facebook page:

“Remember that thing where everybody was super happy because Sen. Ron Latz amended a bill (with an overwhelming bipartisan vote) to head off Congress & 45’s decision to let ISP’s sell our private internet browsing history? Well, guess what? Not so bipartisan after all. Corporate lobbyists have cut a back-room deal with the Republicans, so Minnesotan’s privacy will, in fact, be up for sale…unless everyone raises hell and gets it put back in. Call your legislator. Let them know you want them to protect your internet privacy!”

After Senator Dibble posted on Facebook, the St. Paul Pioneer Press also reported on the threat:

“Both the Minnesota House and Senate voted this year to limit what internet service providers can do with their customers’ data. But those provisions have been dropped from a compromise bill unveiled Monday….

The background:

“In the final months of President Barack Obama’s administration, the Federal Communications Commission passed rules that would have limited what ISPs could do with their customers’ data. But Congress voted to prevent this rule from taking effect early this year. That spurred Minnesota lawmakers to vote near-unanimously to pass state versions of the protections.”

You know the drill – call your legislators. Call the conference committee members.

For the campaign finance provision, that’s the budget bill conference committee: Conference committee members:

House: Anderson, S.; O’Driscoll; Dettmer; Fenton; Nash
Senate: Kiffmeyer; Anderson, B.; Koran; Hall; Laine

For the privacy provisions, that’s the conference committee for the jobs, commerce and energy program budget. Conference committee members:

House: Garofalo; Newberger; Hoppe; O’Neill; Mahoney
Senate: Miller; Dahms; Osmek; Anderson, P.; Champion

 

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