Five bills worth visiting before they die

The most interesting bills at the Capitol are the ones that have little chance of passage this year. Here’s the Fab Five from today’s filings:

Lower drinking age

Rep. Phyllis Kahn, who in the past has proposed lowering the voting age to 16, has filed legislation lowering the drinking age to 18 at bars and restaurants. She would allow 16 years olds to drink in the company of their parents. (See bill)

Property tax discount

Would you pay your entire year’s property tax if you got a 2 percent discount? Rep. Paul Kohls’ bill would provides such a discount. (See bill)

Majority vote

This could also be called the “Keep the Independence Party from ever Winning an Election Act of 2009.” Rep. Kent Eken’s bill would require candidates in elections for governor, executive branch, judge, senator or representative get the majority of votes in the election. The stronger a third party becomes in Minnesota, the more a provision like this would be employed. (Read bill)

Is the legislative employee carbon footprint that big?

Rep. Denny McNamara’s bill allows legislative employees to work from home for up to 20 percent of the days when the Legislature is not in session or allow them to work four 10-hour days instead. (See bill)

What part of the 2nd Amendment don’t you get?

Rep. Larry Howes is proposing an amendment to the Minnesota Constitution:


The right of a citizen to keep and bear arms for the defense and security of the person, family, or home or for lawful hunting, recreation, or marksmanship training is fundamental and shall not be abridged.

Didn’t the U.S. Supreme Court just clarify that the 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution pretty well covers this? (See bill)

  • Bob

    I think Kahn has too much time on her hands.

    I’d be a lot more interested in paying my entire year’s property tax tab early if the discount for doing so was upped. 2% is a joke; 8-10% would make it real tempting.

    I think Howes needs to expand his 2nd Amendment draft to include “… or to hold and caress a gun, because happiness is a warm gun,” ; )

  • Mark Jenkins

    As a member of the Independence Party of Minnesota, I could support Rep. Eken’s ammendment. The IP has supported the idea of a 50% plus election requirement for years. It is called Instant Runoff Voting (IRV). Think of it as the Georgia senate solution without all of the expense of an additional election.

    Since this bill has no solution for a 3 or 4 way race that results in a plurality without a majority, it makes no sense to support the bill as it stands. If the Representative will add IRV to the bill, I am sure he will receive the enthusiastic support of all people who support a Fair Vote for Minnesota.

  • Jim

    I would take the 2% discount. I have paid my property tax in full in May in the past just so I didn’t have to worry about remembering the second payment. With interest rates being what they have been in recent years, the dollars saved by delaying payment have been minimal.

  • Paul

    I’m all for lowering the drinking age, maybe 19 instead of 18.

  • MR

    I think that the standard should be very simple.

    The same age at which you are required to register for selective service should be the age that you are legally able to drink. If you are enough of an adult that you could potentially be called up to serve and potentially die for your country, you are enough of an adult to drink.

  • Bob Collins

    We did try that before, MR, and the drunk driving rate skyrocketed.

    It’s an old analogy from the Vietnam War days, but does it fit? In the military, you don’t think for yourself. You do what you’re told.

    When you drink, you don’t have anyone watching you to make sure you don’t kill someone.

    And of course, nobody in their right mind would give you a weapon when you’re drunk, but that’s what you get with a set of car keys and a Budweiser.