Creeping across Minnesota's conservative Facebook landscape, Bluestem discovered an infographic for the GOP Rural Caucus that attempts to sell the first session under Republican control of the Minnesota House as an unqualified success.
We'll let others unpack the claims as a whole--after all that's what the crack DFL and ABM messaging teams are paid to do--while we reflect on one corner of the item. The text reads:
The legislature took bipartisan action to help Minnesota poultry farmers.
So far, so good. Representative David Bly (DFL-Northfield) was a regular rooster defending the farmstead. But the text continues:
Rural members worked hard on legislation to mobilize rapid response to the avian flu crisis and to protect the safety of our food supply. A new, state-of-the-art poultry testing lab in Willmar will also help speed up testing time in case of future outbreaks.
*Extended unemployment benefits for poultry farm workers displaced by avian flu outbreak.
That first bullet point made us pause, for while the legislative history of the provision may be bipartisan, it's not something cooked up by Republican or rural legislators.
The legislative history of the provision is rather short. According to page 4340 of the Journal of the House for May 4, 2015, Representative Rick Hansen, a Democrat from South St. Paul--that bastion of rural Minnesota culture and values--moved "to amend the Baker amendment, as amended, to H. F. No. 1437, the second engrossment" by adding "poultry worker extra unemployment benefits" for those left idle by avian flu.
HF1437 was the agriculture omnibus bill--later merged in conference committee with the environment and natural research bill.
The measure passed on a 111-15 roll call vote. Those voting no were all Republicans, Tony Albright, Mark Anderson, Steve Drazkowski, Sondra Erickson, Pat Garofalo, Glenn Gruenhagen, Tom Hackbarth, Jerry Hertaus, Eric Lucero, Denny McNamara, Jim Nash, Jim Newberger, Cindy Pugh, Duane Quam and Linda Runbeck.
Are any of those Republicans members of the GOP Rural Caucus? Certainly Mark Anderson (Lake Shore), Steve Drazkowski (Mazeppa), Sondra Erickson (Princeton), Glenn Gruenhagen (Glencoe); Jim Newberger (Becker) and Duane Quam (Byron) are rural. Perhaps they're not part of the party's rural caucus. Maybe all those metro-centric Democrats were working harder than members of the Republican Rural Caucus when this bragging point came up.
Or maybe place-baiting isn't all it's cracked up to be.
Image: While the GOP Rural Caucus implies rural members working hard came up with solutions for the avian flu, the author of the first item on their list is a suburban Democrat. How does that happen?
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