Model Assembly 2016 Recap

Bill signings, court cases, proposals, elections, Robin Hood cases and first bill signings, articles, and shows. Model Assembly 2016 was one for the (bill) books. Each and every delegate contributed a part of the success of the weekend, and we are all counting down to next year’s Model Assembly already.

Governor Yablonsky shared his excitement at the success of the weekend: “watching delegates speaking out when they normally wouldn’t, seeing positivity being present in every single program area, and watching so many people grow in such a short period of time.” Lieutenant Governor Blake served her term to the best of her ability, backed by a strong staff, a staff who bonded Saturday morning with a game of obo shinnotintotin. It is moments like this, as silly as they sound, that solidify Youth in Government memories forever.

Blake’s Press Secretary shared that the Lt. Governor is looking forward to the veto override of Bill #1109, an act to restrict book banning’s in Minnesota, as she did not mean to veto it in the first place. After the allotted time passed to act on the bill, it was automatically vetoed.

The legislative branches exhibited their professionalism and knowledge through a weekend of debating, passing, and failing bills. Ramsey Senate shared Bill #2406, an act to allow all people, regardless of their immigration status to be allowed to obtain a drivers license, as their most interesting bill. Sibley House found heated debated for Bill #2502 with the most action, many concerns, and in the end, a failing vote. Bill #1500, requiring vaccines, was protested largely for religious reasons, and failed in the house. Through these bills and many others in all legislature, the delegates delivered detailed, well thought out arguments. Knutson Senate stated Nick McGrath’s, Speaker of Sanford House, bill presentation as a highlight of the weekend. As well as the Town Hall Debates, and bills by Nick Swanson and Spencer Fredericks on making Minnesota business friendly and progressive. Sanford House Bill 5401, an act to provide affordable housing in Minnesota for Syrian refugees and an amendment, was amended to provide for all refugees. Delegates were concerned on where funding was to come from, but the bill was passed.

Lobbyists spent their weekend pushing for bills pertaining to their agendas, and the Governor and Lieutenant Governor’s platforms. Through discussion with professional lobbyists to work with the media, the pushed for their desired bills, and had much success. Lobbyists also spent time with Leadership Corps, explaining the work they do, and peaking the interest of several 8th grade delegates.

District Courts argued their cases in the Hennepin County Courthouse, and was given a new case Saturday night to be argued today. Attorneys prepared their prosecution, defense, and pre-trial motions for both sides. Trial Courts have worked with Resource Adviser’s as witnesses, the RA’s using accents to get in character. Despite space issues, and several locations through out the weekend, all the court delegates conveyed their cases with great focus and passion, resulting in some losses, but many successes for the weekend.

The Leadership Corps members got their taste of all program areas this weekend, and the delegates walk away from the conference today with hope of their future in the program. From those who love it all, to the delegates who know exactly where they need to be in this program, these delegates will soon be the leaders of Model Assembly. We were all in their shoes at one point, from our Governor to the media reporters, and lawyers. Looking at how far those delegates have come, it is clear that the program’s future is in good hands.

National Issues Forum spent their weekend debating many proposals, on many hot topics. Despite some sensitivity occurring towards comments made on YikYak, it was an incredibly positive and outstanding four days of hard work. Proposal 313, banning voter disenfranchisement of felons, was strongly debated. Unlike the Lt. Governor’s first bill signing on the same subject, the proposal did not pass with a vote of 61 to 58. Debate on Proposals 402 and 511, on legalizing medical marijuana, passed through General Assembly and was signed. The proposal to decriminalize prostitution was passed and signed in General Assembly. A similar proposal from last year did not pass. National Issues Forum delegates displayed the utmost confidence and professionalism in sessions, and were rewarded with progress and memories to take with them.

The media branches worked their hardest from the moment they stepped into the Hilton until they left for the Convention Center. Through investigative reporting, light-hearted stories for a good time, conviction and dedication, each branch produced some of their best content, showing the program’s strength, under the faithful lead of Mikaela Blount, Media Director. An officer in the media program since her sophomore year, Mikaela has led delegates of the media, from Digital to all of us, for three strong years. Through these years, the program has changed and improved, finding the best way to work in a program that doesn’t come with a rule book as legislature does, and will only continue to do so.

The State Steering Committee Execute Office, in it’s first year as a program area, did great work on the whY I Give campaign, youth tours, and slight reformatting of the Town Hall Debates. SCEO pushed hard into the weekend for whY I Give donations, as earlier in Model Assembly donations were down. There was great attendance at the Town Hall Debates, and were found with high attendance, and organization. Overall, the office considers the weekend a success, and will continue work to improve its operations.

Through the entirety of Model Assembly, delegates worked their hardest in their program areas, arguing passionately on their cases, bills and proposals, turning out quality and hard hitting news, running successful and satisfying campaigns, and setting the future for the program. Model Assembly 2016 fell nothing short of a total triumph, and assures that the program will only improve in the future.

Written by Tori Miller, Digital Media