Capitol Review: Drug Tests for Welfare Applicants, 'Public Benefit' Corporations, and Ski Safety

Republican legislators from Burnsville came out swinging during the first week of session.

The Minnesota Legislature has been back in session for little more than a week, and already lawmakers have put many new bills on the table. Burnsville legislators—Sen. Dan Hall (R-District 40), Burnsville, and Tara Mack (R-District 37A), Apple Valley and Sen. Chris Gerlach (R-District 37), Apple Valley—have authored several controversial bills.

Sen. Dan Hall

  • Author of a bill that would require social workers to administer a drug test to any welfare applicant who has an arrest record or arouses "reasonable suspicion" — which can be sustained by something as small and specific as dilated pupils or as broad as "bizarre behavior." The applicant — who is presumably to poor to pay for their own food — would have to front the cost of the test. If they pass, the state would reimburse them for the cost. If not, they would be be ineligible for assistance for three years. (Senate File 1535)
  • Author of a bill that would adopt amend the state constitution to require each voter to produce a photographic ID before entering the polls. If passed, the amendment would go to the voters during the general election this year. (Senate File 1578)
  • Author of a bill that would require physicians to be in the same room with a patient undergoing an abortion — whether it is administered medicinally or through a surgical procedure. A physician who fails to do so would be charged with a felony. (Senate File 1540)

Rep. Tara Mack

  • Chief author of a bill that would adopt the Minnesota Ski Safety Act. The act would define standards for skier liability. (House bill HF1865)
  • Author of a bill that would make several tax reforms, including: exempting the first $100,000 in value of a commercial property from the state's general tax levy; phasing out the state's general tax levy for commercial-industrial properties; increasing maximum homeowner tax refunds; and more. (House bill HF1914)
  • Author of a bill that would give a temporary permit to practice to dentists and dental hygienists already licensed in another state. (House bill HF1972)

Sen. Chris Gerlach

  • Chief author of a bill  (Senate bill SF1572)
  • Author of a bill that would adopt the Minnesota Ski Safety Act. The act would define standards for skier liability.(Senate bill SF1509)
  • Author of a bill that would create judicial election districts and modify the mandatory retirement date requirement for judges. (Senate bill SF1508)


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