Saturday, March 10, 2007

A different take on DFL bills

I am sure most of you recall the abundance of right wing bloggers who are taking DFLer's to task over "stupid legislation". I have written about the topic and the right wing's insatiable desire to spin facts, such as the fact that most of these bills are co-sponsored by Republicans.

A LTE in the Monticello Times sheds some light on the issue and the importance of some of these not so stupid bills.

Sex ed in kindergarten (HF615): If you think your 5-year-old is not learning about sex from television and popular media, think again. Of course we want parents to be the first teachers, but in case they are not up to the task, this bill, which has bipartisan sponsorship, says schools may provide age-appropriate family life and sexuality education in kindergarten through grade six, and must provide such education in grades 7-12. The bill includes parental notification and opt-out features. An age-appropriate lesson for kindergartners might include the correct names for parts of the body.

Low-income housing (HF777): The Times staffer equates “low income” with “lower class” and asks “what suburb or rural area wants them?” I suggest re-reading the Sermon on the Mount.

Hwy 61 corridor (HF386): This bill, which has bipartisan support, would help build park-and-ride lots along the Hwy 61 corridor between Hinckley and St. Paul. The park-and-rides along Hwy. 10 are extremely popular with commuters. It has absolutely nothing to do with the casino.

Newborn home visits (HF595): Can’t we agree that preventing child abuse and neglect is far superior to treating innocent victims? This bill, supported by members of both parties, calls for home visits by health care professionals for new parents who are especially at risk, including adolescents, those who were abused themselves as children and low-functioning adults.

Raise minimum wage (HF456): The Times staffer said, “Every time you increase the minimum wage 10 percent you lose 2 percent of your workers.” Liberals and conservatives continue to argue about minimum wage. And meanwhile, low-income workers continue to struggle to afford a roof over their heads.

The difference between my assessment of these bills and the Times staffer’s assessment is due to a difference in philosophy over the role of government. My opinion is not better than hers-these viewpoints reflect two ways of looking at the world. But most of the bills dismissed by the Times staffer are thoughtful attempts to address issues that concern a great number of people of all political stripes. To label them “ridiculous” and describe them with half-truths is a disservice to the community served by the Monticello Times.

Excellent work Susan!

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