DFL Lawmakers Promote ‘Democracy for the People Act’
Nearly 40 members of the Minnesota House and Senate, all DFLers, announced the formation of the new “Inclusive Democracy Caucus” with the goal of passing legislation to make it simpler to vote.
The announcement came on the two-year anniversary of the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Several members of the new caucus are from the northwest suburbs. They include DFL representatives Cedrick Frazier of New Hope, Samatha Vang of Brooklyn Center, Kristin Bahner of Maple Grove, Mike Freiberg of Golden Valley, House Speaker Melissa Hortman of Brooklyn Park and Sen. Bonnie Westlin of Plymouth.
“We all believe that our democracy works best when all voices are heard,” said Rep. Hortman.
Frazier will co-chair the caucus with Rep. Rep. Emma Greenman, DFL – Minneapolis, in the Minnesota House and Sen. Liz Boldon, DFL-Rochester, in the Senate.
Legislation proposed, HF3 and companion SF3, also called the Democracy for the People Act, would set up automatic voter registration, restore voting rights to those formerly incarcerated and update state campaign finance laws. Part of the legislation also includes establishing a pre-registration process for 16 and 17-year-olds. Age 18 is the legal voting in the United States.
Rep. Freiberg, who chairs the House Elections Committee, addressed whether the proposals would be able to get Republican support.
“We need to do what’s best for Minnesotans. We’ll certainly make every effort we can to reach out to our colleagues across the aisle,” said Freiberg. “I know there have been a couple governors that have had this policy in place that they’d only sign a law if it has bipartisan support. I’m not aware that Governor Walz has made that sort of statement.”
Hearings on pieces of the legislation are expected to start next week.
In response to the DFL elections bill rolled out today, Sen. Mark Koran, R-North Branch, the lead Republican on the Elections Committee, sent out this statement to reporters:
“Minnesota has long-standing practice of only changing election laws on a bipartisan basis, and the fact that my colleagues across the aisle are more interested in passing their hyper-partisan wish lists than they are in finding common ground on our elections is a disservice to all voters.”