Search
Archives

You are currently browsing the archives for the The Constitution category.

Categories

Archive for the ‘The Constitution’ Category

Late this afternoon, Elizabeth Baklaich announced that she’s running to replace Steve Laraway representing St. Cloud’s Second Ward. Baklaich introduced herself to Ward 2 voters with this statement:

My name is Elizabeth Baklaich. I am a concerned citizen who is stepping forward to run for office because our St Cloud City Council needs real change.

Our founding fathers knew what they were doing declaring our independence and establishing our Constitutional Republic. The St Cloud City Council seems to have forgotten that our human rights come from a power higher, not from government. We The People are the government. We have a right to be heard, to be safe and, when needed, to redress a government.

Our current government has ignored attempts to redress them from the outside. I have watched as laws have been ignored and Tax Payers rights have been violated. The change did not seem possible from the outside, so much to my chagrin, I am stepping up and taking the lead so that this power run amuck does not take the next step and turn into tyranny.

I am a wife, mother and survivor. I grew up in Pennsylvania as a Quaker and graduated from a small steel town in Chester County Pa. I have lived in many places in the US, and in 2001 chose to make Minnesota my home. I have a great respect for history and do not want us to repeat it. I am not politically correct. I own my mistakes, then do my best to learn from them and not to repeat them. My work history which began at 14 includes everything from legal research, to real estate, to insurance to scrubbing toilets. There is always work for those who are willing to roll up their sleeves and do it. Currently, I sit on 1 local board and teach Red Cross & American Heart Association CPR classes for 3 different employers. I like helping others and helping others become trained to help others.

We are going to create situations for the citizens to be heard, for their views to be respected. As a beginning, I am creating several listening sessions for the people of Ward 2 to clearly be able to share their concerns without interruptions, limitations or a 3-minute timer on them. I see several opportunities to increase community engagement while making the government more efficient. The government should work for us, not dictate to us.

I look forward to being the people’s choice for Ward 2 in St Cloud.

Mr. Laraway is part of the old boys network. He’s part of the problem. He isn’t part of the solution. Ms. Baklaich wants to listen to her constituents rather than tell them what she’ll do. Ms. Baklaich’s words prove that she knows we have a Constitution limiting what government can do.

Further, it’s clear Ms. Baklaich knows that government is only possible with the consent of the governed.

Perhaps the people who wrote this LTE didn’t realize it but it frames an important question satisfactorily. Todd Holthaus and Dave Smiglewski state “A proposal making its way through the Minnesota House and Senate would ask voters to change the State Constitution to permanently dedicate the revenue attributable to the sales tax on auto parts to roads and bridges. These funds, almost $300 million per year, currently go to the state’s general fund, the same pool of money that supports things like schools and Local Government Aid (LGA).”

Actually, the truth is that the money from those sales taxes are used to pay for K-12 education, LGA, nursing homes, veterans care and a lengthy list of other things. It pays for things like Community Action Minneapolis, which used the money to fund Caribbean vacations for corrupt Twin Cities politicians. It also pays for child care fraud to help the ‘folks back home’. Back home in the Middle East and the Horn of Africa, that is. Unfortunately, Messrs. Holthaus and Smiglewski didn’t think that information was important.

Make no mistake about it, Minnesota’s roads and bridges need help. However, diverting money away from the general fund will either cause pain to other important state programs or require the state to raise taxes to make up the shortfall. That is why we urge legislators and the public to reject this proposed constitutional amendment.

Messrs. Holthaus and Smiglewski didn’t admit that economies built on pro-growth policies matter. Holthaus and Smiglewski base their opinion on policies that aren’t pro-growth, that don’t unleash the private sector. The best way to consistently have enough money for government’s core functions is a strong economy. The DFL’s policies hurt too many people in rural Minnesota. The DFL’s buffer strip legislation hurts farmers. The DFL’s wild rice rule hurts miners. The DFL’s anti-fossil fuel policies hurt all Minnesotans.

Budgets are about setting priorities. For decades, the DFL has pushed the myth that funding equals great educational outcomes. The DFL hasn’t had a new idea on education since Wendy Anderson was governor. That’s because the DFL is owned by Education Minnesota.

Yesterday, I wrote that the Minnesota Supreme Court unanimously ruled against Rebecca Otto, Minnesota’s State Auditor. Otto filed a lawsuit that was doomed from the start. That was obvious from the start. That’s why the Supreme Court ruled unanimously against her. Now we’re finding out more about the lawsuit.

In writing the majority opinion for the Court, “Chief Justice Lorie Gildea said that the state Constitution does not lay out the state auditor’s duties. Rather, she wrote, the Constitution specifically leaves it up to the Legislature to define duties of constitutional offices such as the auditor. Thus, the 2015 bill did not violate the Constitution. The ruling also explains that another state office, which no longer exists, originally audited county finances.” Further, “50 counties notified Otto’s office they would not sign contracts with her office for it to conduct audits” after the 2015 law passed.

That had to sting Otto. That’s because in 2016, “the auditor’s office charged $84,000 for an annual audit, while Becker County paid just $31,000 in 2012 for an audit done by Hoffman Dale and Swenson Governmental Audit Services of Thief River Falls.” That’s more than $2,500,000 in lost revenues for Otto per year.

Back in January, 2018, she said “Fighting for this constitutional office is the right thing to do. But as you witnessed today, it’s complex.” Actually, Mrs. Otto, the justices thought it was pretty straightforward. (I’m not a legal scholar but I’m betting that justices rarely rule unanimously on complex lawsuits.)

Rep. Jim Nash, R-Waconia, might have the best understanding of what’s happened:

“It seems to me,” Nash said, “that [Otto] is using the taxpayer dollars to create an issue for her to campaign with for governor.”

If that’s what was happening, her strategy failed. Furthermore, if that was her strategy, she should be politically crucified. If that’s true, then a ton of the taxpayers’ money was wasted for that mission. If this was her Hail Mary attempt at winning the DFL endorsement, then Mrs. Otto made a major miscalculation.

What’s amazing is Otto’s misunderstanding of Minnesota’s Constitution. Mrs. Otto either doesn’t understand Minnesota’s Constitution or she, like other DFL politicians, was willing to throw Minnesota’s Constitution under the proverbial bus for political gain.

My question in the aftermath is this: are there any patriots left in the DFL whose respect for the Constitution is steadfast? I haven’t found any lately.

When I read this article, it confirmed that our schools have failed us. Here’s what happened:

New Prague High School senior Andy Dalsin held a poster during the protest which said “Gun Don’t Kill People. People Kill People.” Principal Lonnie Seifert was having none of it, however. Seifert even threatened Dalsin with being hauled away by the police if he didn’t comply.

That’s just the start of it. Things quickly devolved:

Seifert claims he was just going by district policy, according to KSTP-5. In a statement, the district said “such items [as Dalsin’s] must be submitted to and reviewed by school administration at least 24 hours in advance.”

That’s an unenforceable policy because the First Amendment protects such speech. In fact, when the Supreme Court gutted McCain-Feingold, part of the reason for SCOTUS striking it down was because the bill told people when they could and couldn’t run advertising against candidates. This isn’t exactly on point but it’s close.

First, who gave Principal Seifert the constitutional authority to accept or reject communications of any sort? Next, why is expressing a contrarian opinion on another of our civil rights unacceptable? Didn’t the Founding Fathers put the First Amendment into the Bill of Rights to protect contrarian communications? I’ve said this before but I’ll repeat it again — there’s no need to protect non-controversial speech because everyone agrees with it. Finally, the First Amendment implicitly states that nobody in government has the authority to accept or reject student communications.

Further, Dailywire.com added to the story saying:

The video was first posted to Facebook by Kenny MacDonald, a student at New Prague High School in New Prague, Minnesota. The short video does not show what took place before or after the principal singled-out the student. In the post, MacDonald provided the following account of what took place:

Kids at our school today walked out, in honor of the 17 students killed in Florida. Students held signs that said, “Arm our teachers” they had two signs. A student walked out without saying a word peacefully put up his sign which said “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” he was escorted off the property by our principal and threatened to be put into a police car. This violates the first amendment and makes me sick that they can do whatever they want. Please make this go viral

It went viral alright:

Within a few hours, the video had already been viewed nearly 300,000 times, shared over 17,000 times, and received thousands of comments from people who expressed anger and disgust over the suppression of free speech and political indoctrination at public schools.

Then there’s this:

It’s appalling to read that “New Prague Area Schools fully respects and recognizes that students have free speech rights. Those rights, however, are to be balanced against the District’s responsibility to maintain a school environment focused on education.”

New Prague Area Schools obviously doesn’t respect students’ free speech rights because it threatened a student if he didn’t remove his sign. Further, a student’s First Amendment rights aren’t “balanced against the District’s responsibility to maintain a school environment focused on education.” A student’s First Amendment rights are to be balanced against the constitutional tests established by the Supreme Court. In literally hundreds of cases, the Supreme Court (and other appellate courts) have ruled against restrictions placed on people by city governments and school districts.

Finally, it’s frightening that a high school principal has such a flimsy understanding of the First Amendment. The School Board should order him to take an online class on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights from Hillsdale College. Principal Seifert’s understanding of the Constitution is embarrassing.

Technorati: , , , ,

It’s difficult to defend Michelle Fischbach’s decision to attempt to serve as both Gov. Dayton’s Lieutenant Governor and the state senator representing SD-13. How can a supposedly educated woman think that the DFL operatives on the Minnesota Supreme Court will side with her, not with the man who appointed them?

Republicans point to a Minnesota Supreme Court ruling from 1898. At that time, the lieutenant governor was elected apart from the governor. Further, why would anyone think that it’s possible to serve simultaneously in the Executive Branch and the Legislative Branch? In March, 2016, I wrote a post titled Is the IRRRB unconstitutional? In that post, I cited an audit report from Jim Nobles, who wrote that “State statutes on IRRRB’s governance structure are vulnerable to a constitutional challenge.”

That’s because the IRRRB’s board is composed of Iron Range legislators who have the authority to appropriate money to specific projects. The IRRRB also is an executive branch agency whose commissioner is appointed by the governor. Simply put, you can’t serve in 2 different branches of government.

Sen. Fischbach should know this. She’s fighting a fight she can’t win. Apparently, she hasn’t figured that out yet. Here’s what she said:

I was elected by the constituents of Senate District 13, and I have a commitment to represent them in the senate.

She ran for and got elected to be the Senate President. Anyone with a bit of understanding of Minnesota’s constitution knows that the Senate President is part of the line of succession to the governorship. If Sen. Fischbach wanted to guarantee that she represent the citizens of SD-13 for the full 4-year term, then she shouldn’t have run for Senate President.

If Lt. Gov. Fischbach cares about the Constitution, she should resign from the Senate this afternoon. The minute Gov. Dayton announces the date for the special election for filling her empty Senate seat in SD-13, she should then resign as Lt. Gov., then immediately start campaigning to regain her Senate seat.

By attempting to wear both hats, she’s causing a constitutional crisis that might hurt Republicans this session and that will cost taxpayers tons of money to pay for the lawsuit that she’ll lose. Apparently, Sen. Fischbach thinks that the Constitution doesn’t apply to her. She’s wrong. She should resign before she hurts her constituents.

Technorati: , , , , , , , ,

According to this article, Sen. Michelle Fischbach, (R-Paynesville), “has been told by Senate Counsel that the state Constitution allows the Senate president to hold both jobs.” That’s her plan. The article then states “That plan would likely be challenged by Minnesota Democrats, since it puts a Republican a heartbeat away from the governorship and also allows the GOP to retain a Senate seat.”

The DFL might want to cool their jets before filing that lawsuit. There’s actually case law on this situation, which Scott Johnson wrote about in this post. Included in Johnson’s post is a link to this tweet. According to the tweet, “There is no language in the Constitution requiring or justifying the conclusion that the Senate office of the president pro tempore becomes vacant when he becomes Lieutenant Governor, by reason of, and during, a vacancy in the office of the Governor” and that “there is no escape from the conclusion that the president pro tempore does not cease to be a senator when he becomes Lieutenant Governor by reason of a vacancy in the Governor’s office.”

This article, however, reaches a different conclusion:

A memo from the Senate’s top lawyer backing up her position cites an 1898 Minnesota Supreme Court ruling that decided the same question. In 1898, the lieutenant governor presided over the Senate. A 1971 constitutional amendment separated the two jobs.

A 1968 amendment prohibited senators or representatives from holding “any other office” but the Senate lawyer contends the “core reasoning” of the earlier court decision still applies. He did, however, warn Fischbach that her plan to hold two offices at once could be challenged in court.

With Minnesota’s Supreme Court stacked with DFL operatives, I’d expect the Court to rule in the DFL’s favor.

Technorati: , , , ,

One of the reasons why Republicans should write more letters to the editor is because editorial boards aren’t that bright. This Our View editorial is a perfect example of their bias.

It starts by saying “The Minnesota Supreme Court last week upheld the line-item veto of the state Legislature’s budget and told its warring co-equal branches to work out their problems themselves. The court is right on that. It remains to be seen if Gov. Mark Dayton and the leadership of the Legislature are willing to do that.”

Let’s be clear about this. While there’s a political component to this, it’s still a constitutional issue. By siding with Gov. Dayton, the 5 clowns in black robes gave future governors the upper hand in budget negotiations. All that’s required is for the governor to reach an agreement on a budget, the legislature passes that budget, the governor signs the agreed-upon budget before he line-item vetoes the legislature’s operating budget. At that point, the governor would have a stacked deck in demanding the opposition party renegotiate parts of the deal that the governor didn’t want to compromise on.

We are where we are: Dayton has his hand on the Legislature’s financial windpipe and appears quite willing to strangle it to get what he wants. The Legislature’s argument that the governor is effectively abolishing the legislative branch fell on deaf ears with the justices. And the relationship between the governor and the Legislature grows ever more toxic.

It’s wrong to call the black robe bandits justices. They’re DFL operatives first. They aren’t principled jurists who understand the concept of co-equal branches of government. Further, they’re cowards. They didn’t want to be criticized by the media, which is overwhelmingly liberal, so they ruled in the DFL’s favor.

It is well past time for Dayton and Daudt to rise above their mutual contempt. It is not enough for one to do so. It is incumbent on both to act in good faith. The poison pill provisions must stop; the veto should be the last option if a deal has been struck.

Again, this editorial board plays the ‘they’re both guilty’ card. That’s BS. Forgotten is the fact that Gov. Dayton agreed to the tax bill. If he didn’t agree with it, he shouldn’t have agreed to it before calling the special session.

When the legislature opens its session in February, the House should pass a bill funding the legislature, then send it to the Senate. After it’s passed by the House and Senate, they should send it to Gov. Dayton. If he vetoes the funding bill, the House should immediately schedule an override vote. If the DFL legislators want to kill their political careers for a lame duck governor, let them vote to sustain Gov. Dayton’s veto.

If they vote to override Gov. Dayton’s veto, Republicans should highlight the fact that every DFL legislator voted against the GOP tax relief bill in 2017. I’d love hearing them explain why they voted to not cut taxes but voted to override Gov. Dayton’s veto of the Republicans’ tax relief bill in 2017.

Sen. Dave Senjem isn’t happy with the Minnesota Supreme Court’s ruling that Gov. Dayton was within his rights to veto the Legislature’s funding. That’s why he’s proposing putting a constitutional amendment on the 2018 ballot.

Because the legislature decides whether constitutional amendments are allowed on the ballot, Gov. Dayton doesn’t have a say in the matter. Further, this should frighten rural DFL legislators. Republicans should highlight the fact that this constitutional amendment is required because a) Gov. Dayton vetoed the funding and b)the Supreme Court got their ruling badly wrong. The first vote taken by the House will be to override Gov. Dayton’s line-item veto of the Legislature’s funding. If DFL legislators vote to sustain Gov. Dayton’s veto, they’ll be tarred and feathered and it’ll be deserved.

Sen. Senjem made a good point when he said “We’re not co-equal anymore because I believe the precedent has been set that yes, it’s OK for a governor to veto legislative appropriations, and there are no consequences, and I think that puts the Legislature in almost a subservient position.”

The Supreme Court got this wrong. Thanks to that ruling, the legislature has 2 terrible choices. Either they can cave to the governor’s demands or they can stop representing their constituents. Actually, there’s a third option. That third option is to spend down the money appropriated for the operation of the Legislative Auditor’s Office and the Revisor of Statutes’ office.

Spending down the money that’s supposed to run the OLA is terrible because they’re the state equivalent of the IG at the federal level. Should we shut down the office that caught April Todd-Malmlov mismanaging MNsure? Should we shut down the office that caught Ted Mondale and Michelle Kelm-Helgen using luxury suites at U.S. Bank Stadium to entertain friends, political allies and family?

It’s time to put this constitutional amendment on the ballot. It’s time to shame these Supreme Court justices for getting the decision wrong.

When the Minnesota State Supreme Court said that governors couldn’t use part of the state’s constitution to achieve an unconstitutional result, they must not have meant it. Moments ago, the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled in Gov. Dayton’s favor.

According to the article, “The Minnesota Supreme Court has upheld Gov. Mark Dayton’s line-item veto of the Legislature’s operating budget. The state’s high court says Dayton’s veto complied with the law, and that the state constitution does not allow the courts to order funding for the Legislature without an appropriation.”

The article further states that “Thursday’s decision hands Dayton a major legal victory as he seeks to rework costly tax breaks and other measures he signed into law this spring as part of a new state budget.” That’s pro-DFL spin. That sentence should read “Thursday’s decision hands Minnesotans a major legal defeat because they’ll soon be without representation in St. Paul.”

The DFL operatives on the Supreme Court decided that Minnesotans didn’t really have a constitutional right to 3 fully functioning branches of government. That’s one of the things they required in their in initial ruling. In this post, titled “D-Day for Dayton, Supreme Court”, I said that, whether the Supreme Court knew it or not, they were on trial. This morning, they handed down a ruling that essentially said that they’d failed.

I’d love hearing them explain how legislators can represent their constituents without getting paid. I can’t wait to hear them explain how this doesn’t give the governor a weapon in getting everything they want in budget negotiations.

The thing is that I’ll have to wait for those things because they can’t explain those things to me. There isn’t a logical explanation for their actions. Gov. Dayton packed the court. This morning, they repaid him for their appointments.

Now it’s time to throw out the DFL operatives that Gov. Dayton appointed to the Supreme Court. That can be done through the ballot box. Minnesotans, do you really want a governor who essentially has the power of an emperor? I don’t!

Brian Bakst posted a prediction on what will happen next. I agree with him:

Technorati: , , ,

According to quotes from this article, the St. Cloud City Council doesn’t like the First Amendment. This isn’t an opinion. That sentiment comes through loud and clear when Jenny Berg quoted Carol Lewis as saying “People were extremely angry with me for limiting time and number (of speakers). Now what if I limited topic? My point is we would have had a riot on our hands.”

The City Council already limits what citizens can talk about during open forum. According to the article, the “council’s rules of order state residents can speak at open forums for two minutes on topics not on the agenda. Refugee resettlement became a topic on the agendas when council members Jeff Goerger and Jeff Johnson asked to discuss resolutions during the discussion portion of the meeting.” Having watched the Oct. 23 and Nov. 6 meetings, I can state with certainty that Council President Lewis indeed limited the citizens’ speeches to subjects not on the agenda.

That’s a violation of the First Amendment, which states “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” It’s well-established fact that the Constitution is a limiting document written to restrict the federal government. There’s nothing in the Constitution that permits the government, whether it’s a city council or the US Senate or anything in between, to tell its citizens what subjects it will permit. The First Amendment says that people have “the right to peaceably assemble” and “to petition the government” about its grievances.

The government is prohibited by the First Amendment from telling its citizens what they can’t talk about. This is telling, too:

Council member Dave Masters said he is in favor of the open forum, but wants a civil discussion. “Some of the speakers we’ve had recently I felt went over that line,” Masters said, saying some speakers attacked the City Council or specific members. He said he has an issue with people “grandstanding” in front of the camera.

A politician who has a problem with citizens grandstanding. Seriously? That’s rich. It’d be nice if we lived in a society where all issues were solved through civil discussion. That isn’t the society we’re living in. Further, the government can’t limit speech, even if it’s grandstanding speech. Then there’s this:

City Administrator Matt Staehling suggested the council consider moving the open forum to the end of the meeting so residents can talk about whatever topic they want, even if it was on the agenda. “It might be easier to manage,” he said. Staehling said some other cities allow people to register to speak at the open forum ahead of time with the city clerk; those people then have priority at the meeting.

Again, the First Amendment already gives people the right to “talk about whatever topic they want.” That’s addressed by the clause stating that citizens have the right “to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” The definition of grievances is “a wrong considered as grounds for complaint, or something believed to cause distress.” The definition of redress is “the setting right of what is wrong.”

The government can’t tell citizens that they can’t address something that’s causing them distress or worry. Government might state its preferences but it can’t enforce their preferences if their preferences don’t agree with the Constitution.

This is troubling:

Johnson said he had concerns with the council not following its rules of order for the past month, and was frustrated with how Goerger’s resolution “in support of a just and welcoming community” was presented to the City Council at the beginning of the Oct. 23 meeting and then voted on that night.

The Council didn’t follow its rules that night. The City Clerk admitted that Councilman Goerger’s resolution wasn’t included in Councilman Johnson’s packet of information for the Oct. 23 meeting even though it was received on the Thursday before the Oct. 23 meeting. That means Councilman Goerger’s resolution was intentionally hidden from Councilman Johnson.

BTW, that’s a violation of City Council Rule # 6, which states “All items of business before the Council for the first time shall be listed as new business or on the Consent Agenda with a notation indicating the item is new business. Official action may not be taken if any Council Person objects to action being taken on the item.” Councilman Johnson certainly objected to voting on Councilman Goerger’s resolution because he said he hadn’t had time to read it.

The rules don’t mean anything with Council President Lewis or to most of the members of the Council. Most of the City Council members just care about winning. If they have to break the rules to win, they’re ok with that.

Technorati: , , , ,