What's most important for the Minnesota House Republican Majority in 2016?
To judge from the times members are asked to consider language allowing deer hunters to wear blaze pink during the whitetail firearm season, fashion.
In Blaze pink and lead ammo get backing in Minnesota Legislature, the Pioneer Press's Christopher Magan reports:
Minnesota hunters will have more fashion choices and still be able to use lead ammunition on many public lands if two bills approved Wednesday by the House become law.
Lawmakers backed blaze pink as an alternative to the blaze orange safety color hunters now wear. They also voted to stop the state Department of Natural Resources from banning the use of lead ammo in select wildlife management areas.
The GOP-controlled House already voted on both measures Monday night as part of broader legislation related to fish and game. But with the companion bill in the Democratic-led Senate possibly stalled, the House voted to pass the two measures as independent bills.
Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party members used the legislative redundancy to slam Republicans, with Minority Leader Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis, calling it embarrassing.
“You can’t get anything done that actually means something to the people of Minnesota,” Thissen said before being cut off.
State Rep. Tom Hackbarth, R-Cedar, who is chief sponsor of both the hunting-related bills, said he may update his fish and game legislation that passed Monday, meaning lawmakers might see the two issues yet again before the session ends.
Allowing pink hunting garb could make it harder for deer to see hunters stalking them, Hackbarth explained before Monday’s vote. Blaze pink is now allowed as a safety color in Wisconsin, where it was also suggested it might attract more women to hunting, an argument that upset female hunters.
Some DFL lawmakers suggested blaze pink could be unsafe because some of the roughly 8 percent of the male population that is color-blind can’t see it. . . .
Magan mentions members' concerns about color blindness, but fails to report that Hackbarth's change is based on a set of un-peer reviewed and unpublished notes about blaze pink by a Wisconsin prof who didn't study any human subjects, as Representative Barb Yarusso, DFL-Yarusso, pointed out. Her observations were underscored by Rick Hansen, DFL-S. St. Paul, who concurred that the only available notes on the research are "bogus."
He asked why the push for the change, given the flimsiness of the research supporting it, and the serious nature of hunter safety. Bluestem embedded the notes for the "study" last month in Blaze pink for firearm deer hunters? More deep thinking from the Games Over Priorities party.
Here's the floor debate for the bill, which starts out with some light-hearted goading by Mike Sundin, DFL-Esko, and Danny Schoen, DFL-Cottage Grove, escalating until Clark Johnson, DFL-North Mankato, points out that the House hasn't addressed staffing and safety concerns at the St. Peter Regional Treatment Center, but has time for this.
Good questions. Here's the entire debate, such as it is:
The high point of the debate? The sudden appearance of Rep. Peggy Flanagan's daughter Siobhan on the footage. Flanagan, DFL-St. Louis Park, had tweeted about her daughter's visit to the chamber:
Perhaps the House could take up some other bills that offer real help to families like paid leave, child care, economic equity measures and the like. In the meantime, it's fashion over safety--and getting things done.
Screengrab: The Flanagan women video bomb Rep. Mike Freiberg, DFL-Golden Valley, a color-blind man who tried once again to explain how he can't distinguish blaze pink in the woods or anywhere else.
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