Back on April 5, Bluestem posted about S.F. 1096 in What's Scott Newman got against non-profits? I wrote:
One has to wonder what problem this bill is aimed at solving. Are private non-profit colleges somehow less worthy of funding than a local MNSCU institution or the nearby jingle-singing mall outlet of a for-profit diploma mill charging jacked-up prices? Or are mental health services provided by the local hospital here in Hutchinson--a recently privatized non-profit--somehow less deserving than therapy at the regional treatment center in St. Peter or a private psychologist?
If I recall correctly, Newman brought this up during the campaign and I was puzzled then about precisely what the problem is. It seems like a solution looking for a problem--and one that would cut out qualified service providers from bidding on projects or applying for grants. Does this create jobs? Does it save money? Just what purpose does this restriction serve?
Given that Bluestem and my state senator have--how shall I put this--a "history" since the story about mysterious emails denying meetings triggered an ethics investigation--I didn't expect an answer.
But it's not just Bluestem or people who live in his district. At Minnpost--which wins awards and has more money than you can shake a foundation stick at-- Cynthia Boyd reports in Proposed legislation stuns Minnesota's non-profits:
Every gathering of the Legislature has its share of goofy bills, but this one is a real head-scratcher.
State Sen. Scott Newman, a Republican from Hutchinson, has proposed legislation that would likely ban almost all state grants from going to nonprofit organizations. Officials from Minnesota's nonprofits are trying to figure out what he could be thinking. And so am I.
What gives? Newman isn't talking.
About that not talking to Boyd:
Newman initially stonewalled a media clamoring for explanations, later denied the existence of such a policy and then blamed the mistake on a staffer. The incident resulted in an ethics complaint against him, which was dismissed by a bipartisan Senate panel.
You have to wonder: Is this more stonewalling?
I started trying to contact him Thursday with phone calls and email messages.
I asked for five minutes of his time. His staff said Thursday his day was heavily scheduled. They told me Friday he had headed home to meet with his constituents.
Does he have a cell phone, I asked.
He's been given the message you called, I was told, and was referred to the Republican media contact.
By Friday, Chris Van Guilder, the media's conduit to GOP senators, called back to say he had "not been able to contact or hear back from Senator Newman.''
"I'll let you know as soon as I know more,'' Van Guilder told me in a voice messge.
Haven't heard back.
Welcome to my district, Ms. Boyd.
Newman's office failed to schedule a request by the Minnesota Farmers Union for a meeting county presidents during our Day on the Hill earlier in the session. Instead, MFU members and I had a great meeting with Ron Shimanski.
At least we know it's not just writers in his district Newman doesn't talk to. It is to his credit that he did, however, meet with nurses from his district during their day on the hill, after the dust settled from the ethics investigation.
UPDATE: A very clever friend recommended that Bluestem form a PAC, contribute to Scott Newman's campaign, and then he'd talk to us. Are you with me?