In Minnesota, non-profits like faith-based groups, hospitals, charities, schools and other organizations do a lot of great work. They're often rooted in the communities they serve, closer to understanding needs than bureaucrats located in St. Paul (not that the bureaucrats are cads--it's simply a matter of proximity).
Sometimes, they received state grants to help them do this work.
This wouldn't be allowed if a bill proposed by Scott Newman were to be passed by the legislature and signed by Governor Dayton.
S.F. No. 1096, as introduced - 87th Legislative Session (2011-2012) Posted on Apr 04, 2011
1.1A bill for an act
1.2relating to state government; prohibiting grants to nonprofit groups in certain
1.3areas;proposing coding for new law in Minnesota Statutes, chapter 16C.
1.4BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA:
1.5 Section 1. [16C.36] GRANTS TO NONPROFITS PROHIBITED IN CERTAIN
1.7No person, corporation, or entity doing business as a nonprofit entity shall receive
1.8public funding to provide goods or services if the same or similar goods or services can be
1.9provided by a state agency or a private for-profit business entity.
Newman is the only author in the Senate and there is no House companion bill as of now.
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?
Let's hope the Minnesota Council for Non-profits is on this one.