Friday, December 8th, 2023 Church Directory

Rep. Jim Newberger Legislative Update

Last session, the DFL rammed one of the biggest changes to MN’s health care system through the legislature.  We were promised that it would provide easy and affordable health care access to all MN.  It has been a failure from the very beginning.  The DFL poured millions and millions of taxpayer dollars into a computer system that still does not function properly.  The only thing coming from the Governor’s office is excuses as to why it’s still not working and why raises were given to those who run the system.   Enough is enough.  This session we are working to finally bring some solutions to this ever expanding bureaucratic nightmare. 
Affordable, Reliable Energy
In 2013, the DFL created a new law banning the import of coal-generated power from other states.  We need this power.  Many of our power providers import affordable coal-based energy from North Dakota for use in Minnesota.
The ink was barely dry before the new law was challenged in federal court by the State of North Dakota.
Simply put ND argued that MN could not ban this import because it violates the Interstate Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution.  The Federal Court ruled in favor of North Dakota, on this point, and Minnesota lost.  
I agree with this ruling. 
The ruling should have ended the argument. 
It should have been a good first step to get Minnesota back on toward path of clean, abundant and affordable energy.  
However, our Attorney General, Lori Swanson, sided with the extreme-environmentalists chose to appeal this case.   So, onward it goes, up the chain, in the federal court system.  We have heard that this case could go as far as the U.S. Supreme Court. 
In order to carry on the appeal, Lori Swanson, MN’s Attorney General has budgeted one million taxpayer dollars to keep fighting in court.  I spotted this budget item in committee and decided to do something about it.
I offered a bill this week to repeal this law.  No law = No court case and no more taxpayers dollars to defend it.
Therefore, the state of MN would not have grounds to keep up the fight in court and we would save at least one million dollars in taxpayer-funded attorney fees.  Some sources I saw showed that up to 47 lawyers could be involved in this case!
Is one million dollars enough to cover up to 47 lawyers? 
So, I fought onward in committee and the bill passed.  The bill is on now its way to the floor of the Minnesota House of Representatives.   We have bipartisan support for this bill and I expect it to pass in the Minnesota House.  If so, we will end the law suit and will be taking the first step back onto the path of affordable, reliable energy.  
Also, we could be saving Minnesota taxpayers MILLIONS of dollars in potential legal fees.   I will keep you updated as my bill works its way through the legislature.
Rail Safety  
Simply put, I don’t like having dozens of oil trains sitting idle on the tracks in our communities.   They are even more dangerous when they are moving.  I have been speaking on this issue in committee and will continue to do so throughout the session.   But talk is not enough.  We need increased safety measures and emergency response resources in the event the unthinkable occurs.  
Like the power plants, I will not let this issue go until we do more to ensure the safety of our communities.  There seems to be an oil train derailment every month.  
These cause immense damage to the areas near the crash sites.   I am working to get more resources for communities, to improve crossing safety and to increase emergency response teams for this issue. 
Quick question? When it comes to energy safety, what would you rather have running on the tracks through your community, oil trains or coal trains?