Today I went to the Senate District 45 town hall meeting at the Crystal Community Center with State Senator Ann Rest (DFL-45), State Representative Lyndon Carlson (DFL-45B), and State Representative Sandra Peterson (DFL-45A). It was a good meeting to learn about what has been going on at the capitol.
There was a lot of discussion about the new photo id constitutional amendment. The legislators spoke about they were in support of making it a state statute, and not add it to the constitution. If it is added to the Minnesota constitution, it will be a lot harder to change in the future. A statute would be a lot easier to change. Technology could change quickly over the next 10-20 years, and maybe we’d be able to confirm someone’s identity with a fingerprint or an eyescan by then. There can be problems with using a photo. Someone could look like someone else. Photo id’s don’t indicate if someone is a felon. The current language is that it has to be a government issued id. People in attendance were advocating for people with disabilities in the community. They claimed that this put an undue amount of difficulty on them to have to go out to get these id’s, get these ballots, and then turn the ballots in. Many of these people do absentee ballot casting at this point. These are definitely groups of people that need to be protected and assured of their right to vote, without making it too difficult for them to do so. There are other groups of people that this could make voting more difficult for. We should be careful not to take away many people’s right to vote by making it so inaccessible to do so because of our fear of fradulent voters.
There was also a lot of discussion by the attendees about the cuts to Health and Human Services programs. A lot of this again focused on care facilities for disabled individuals. The legislators have been against such deep cuts that have become the norm at the capitol in the past few years, but these views have been in the minority. There was also discussion about the Vikings stadium. The legislators all personally opposed public funding for the stadium. Especially in light of all the cuts the Health and Human Services and the money that was borrowed from and has not been paid back to Minnesota schools.
There were other things talked about, but these were the main issues that took up the majority of the meeting. I agree with their positions on these issues. I definitely think we shouldn’t be funding stadiums for private sports teams (who are millionaires) while taking money away from our state’s children and care for disabled and vulnerable people.