Sunday, November 2, 2008

Immigration Mailing & Per Diem mailing

Saturday, November 1 brought a new mailer from the Freedom Club PAC talking about voting record about illegal immigration. Here's some context.

DREAM Act: In state tuition for students whose parents came here illegally

I support this provision because demographers tell us that the number of high school graduates is declining at a time when baby boomers are retiring. Businesses are concerned that there will not be enough college graduates to fill needed positions over the next two decades. The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce also supported this position. The group ISAIAH has some other rationale for this legislation at

Sanctuary Cities

I voted for an amendment to allow local law enforcement to ask about immigration status at traffic stops in so-called sanctuary cities but I voted against an amendment to withhold local government aid unless law enforcement was required to ask about immigration status. The federal government rarely picks up people who are detained over their immigration status by local officers, so we end up picking up the tab as we clog up our courts enforcing federal law. Law enforcement agencies in Minneapolis and St. Paul have been against this legislation because it keeps otherwise law-abiding residents from assisting police in solving crimes.

Gas Tax Refund

An amendment was introduced to make undocumented immigrants ineligible for the $25 tax rebate that Minnesotans in the lowest income tax bracket can qualify for to offset the recent gas tax increase. Why would someone here illegally A) file a tax return to draw attention to themselves and B) push their luck with the authorities by applying for a $25 tax refund?

Photo ID to vote

In 2006, less than 20 people voted as non-citizens in Minnesota out of 3 million voters. A photo ID requirement would suppress many more votes than 20. I’ve got 34 constituents who are nuns who get around on Metro Mobility and don’t drive. They would have to get bussed to the courthouse and show a birth certificate to PAY for a photo ID just to vote. Election judges are already empowered to challenge a voter’s eligibility at the polls. The League of Women Voters has a very good explanation why requiring a photo ID at the polls is not a good idea at

Also see this Politico article about the myth of voter fraud:


Minnesota has prohibited the use of welfare benefits for immigrants who are here illegally. You have to provide a social security number anyway to get benefits, thus allowing increased protection against fraud. It should be noted that a staff member of Gov. Pawlenty's Human Services Department was recently indicted for welfare fraud when he funneled $1 million to a private account, which is just as heinous. Here is a summary of the national discussion:

Republican Party Mailing: There was another mailing late last week "How Much More Can You Afford?" with someone lighting a $100 bill. It mentions my vote in favor of the comprehensive transportation bill but also cites House Journal 4052 on a vote in favor of higher per diem and year-round housing for legislators. This is a little misleading. With this one exception, I have voted with the Republicans at every turn to allow the House as a whole to vote on the per diem increase. The House Rules Committee voted to increase it from $66 per day to $77 day without a floor vote. (My per diem is $35 per day on weekdays only while we are in session, one of the lowest in the legislature--and lower than that of any Republican.)

For housing for legislators--this only applies to legislators who live 50 miles or more from the Capitol and I didn't feel I had the knowledge to know whether or not the current housing allowance is the right number. The reason I voted in April 2007 in HJ4052 was because Rep. Steve Sviggum was trying to set a specific per diem rate in statute, and I have a problem with putting specific dollar figures into law--for example, we could LOWER per diem but we'd have to repeal the figure in Rep. Sviggum's proposed legislation. This is another case where the minority was trying to come up with all sorts of votes to use at election time.