As the second day of Model Assembly drew to a close, delegates walked away with major successes, some disappointments, and building excitement at the weekend overall. Legislation continued work in committees, and began more time on the floor.
This floor time led to Lieutenant Governor Annalee Blake’s first bill signing. In her office on director’s row, cabinet members, media crews, and spectators alike crowded into the room to witness the monumental occasion. The new Youth in Government law came from Humphrey House Bill #3406, written by Earl Michael, which will “restore voting rights to felons that have completed their sentence.” Earl wrote his bill after inspiration coming from family friends, who lost their voting rights.
Blake shared her joy at her first bill signing, saying “I’m super excited, genuinely and extremely ecstatic.” Her staff tracked the bill throughout its journey in the legislative process. The Lieutenant Governor was excited to meet Earl and tell him how much she appreciates his work. This issue, Blake says, “really emphasizes the issue in our state.”
While Governor AJ Yablonsky has yet to sign his first bill into law, his staff continued their tracking, and has a goal in sight. If all goes well, Yablonsky will hold his first signing at 10:15 Saturday morning. The bill has yet to pass through the house, and the bill number is not being released, but Yablonsky’s staff is tracking its progress as best as they can, in hopes of reaching the exciting occasion.
As the legislators continued their work, in hopes of more delegates’ bills reaching the hands of Yablonsky and Blake, Ramsey Senate met abundance of heated discussion, with many attempts at compromise through amendments failing. Humphrey House cited Bill #3509, an act to legalize the driving of trucks or other vehicles whose wheels or tires deposit mud, dirt, sticky substances, litter or other material on any street or highway in Minnetonka, MN, as one of the most debated bills of the day.
Lobbyists enjoyed an old tradition in their day at the Lobbyist Luncheon with professional lobbyists. They discussed the workings of the real lobbyist system, and the everyday activities of their professions. Outside of this time, they continued their work pushing their desired bills and topics.
District and trial courts found themselves in another new location, using St. Thomas’ facilities. They continued work on their cases, many groups finding success and verdicts in their favor. They will move again tomorrow, finding their final home for the weekend at Hennepin County Court House.
National Issues Forum experienced a promising and successful day. Moving into second committee, 28 proposals continued along. Notably, Proposal #110, to reform the US Education System into a Dynamic Learning Environment, was based on Germany’s education system, and would create various high school paths leading to post secondary education or other alternatives. Moving alongside the Governor and Lt. Governor’s platform, Proposal #313 would eliminate practices of felon disenfranchisement, and the debate largely focused on whether or not felons deserved the right to vote.
Leadership Corps began their legislative work, along with tours of the media programs. Casey Hennessy, a first year Youth in Government member, had her first taste of success as she watched her bill pass in her Leadership Corps group. This is only the beginning of her achievements if her passion has anything to do with it. Hennessy wrote her first bill on requiring high schools to staff both male and female counselors. She was inspired to fight for her cause because she understands how hard it can be to discuss certain topics with a counselor of the opposite gender. Hennessy found the process exciting to watch, and “felt special” watching her bill get passed. Legislature is most certainly on her to do list in the following years, and she also hopes to try her hand at lobbying.
The media branches, from a lack of staplers for the newspapers, to producing volumes of hard hitting content, to a visit from MPR host Tom Weber, started and finished an incredibly successful second day, alongside the rest of Model Assembly. With the Town Hall Debates tonight, the day promises to end on an exciting, politically charged note.
Written by Tori Miller, Digital Media