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MN GOP Lawmaker: Do You Want a House or Do You Want Capitalism?

Plus weed party woes, Clark loved the Lynx, and a safe driving tip in today's Flyover news roundup.|

Rep. Harry Niska, Rep. Esther Agbaje

Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily digest of important, overlooked, and/or interesting Minnesota news stories.

GOP Lawmaker Defends the Honor of Capitalism LOL

Rep. Esther Agbaje (DFL-Minneapolis) has sponsored a bill that would cap how many single-family rental units one company can own. (Click here to read our conversation with Agbaje about banning corporate landlords from snapping up houses.) In support of her bill, Peter Callaghan reports at MinnPost, Agbaje was arguing in session that profit-driven large investors make the housing market unaffordable for many. To which Rep. Harry Niska (R-Ramsey) somewhat huffily responded, “Thank you for clarifying the real philosophical difference at the heart of this, which is whether capitalism is a useful tool to encourage investment in things that are helpful to people.” What a silly person!

Callaghan’s story also provides a nice roundup of other DFL-sponsored bills that would regulate corporate entities. Proposed legislation would require companies with gross profits of $250 million or more to disclose their state tax returns after three years, cap executive pay for nonprofit hospitals, ban both the sale of medical debt to collection agencies and the reporting of medical debt to credit agencies, prevent private equity and real estate investment trusts from acquiring health care providers, and take steps to prevent the misclassification of contractors as employees. 

This seems almost too obvious to point out, but far from eliminating capitalism, these pieces of legislation might make capitalism function in a way that led fewer people to want to tear it out by the roots. But if Rep. Niska wants me to choose between affordable rent and capitalism, I know which side I’m on. 

Weed Party: Stop Making Us Follow Rules

The two-party system? Not ideal! Third parties? Kind of annoying! Democracy? As messy as ever! The Legal Marijuana Now Party is currently fending off a challenge to their major party status from the DFL, which claims the LMN has run afoul of Minnesota election law. Specifically, DFL leaders say, the LMN did not hold the required amount of local conventions or have a sufficient number of executive committees, reports Michelle Griffith at the Minnesota Reformer. The LMN reps responded by saying that it, “held its state convention, eight legislative district conventions, and 67 legislative district or county conventions—all on the same day in June 2022 at an address in Bloomington and online via Zoom.” Which does seem unlikely!

The LMN is also arguing that Minnesota election laws are invasive and overregulate political parties, interfering with their First Amendment rights. You’d think we’d root for the little guy here, except the LMN has always been a bit shady. You may recall accusations that the GOP recruited LMN candidates to run in swing districts to chip away at DFL votes and even nominated a candidate who hadn’t chosen to run. And the fact the LMN is represented in this case by Erick Kaardal, a lawyer with strong Republican ties, doesn’t exactly discourage accusations that the weedniks are running dogs for the GOP. Also, marijuana? Famously legal now. Anyway, we’ll just have to see how the Minnesota Supreme Court feels about all this. 

Iowa Woman Was Childhood Lynx Fan

"I grew up loving the Minnesota Lynx,” hoops phenom Caitlin Clark told reporters earlier today, adding, with a not-so-veiled nod to the fact that she’d just been drafted No. 1 overall by the Indiana Fever, "I probably shouldn't say that anymore." The Iowa-born ex-Hawkeye elaborated on her fandom: "That was obviously the closest WNBA team from where I grew up. Minneapolis was four hours from my house and obviously they had a dynasty there that was obviously really easy to cheer for." Is this quote news? Difficult to say! Clark has already said her childhood hero was the Lynx’s Maya Moore, and it wouldn’t be a huge leap to assume that she liked the rest of the team as well. But I keep seeing news stories centered on this quote—including this one now—and when you think about it [long, meaningful pause] that is what makes something news. Another Clark-related tidbits from today: Don't be like this creepy-ass reporter

Turn the Lights Back On!

Speaking of things that are not exactly news: Did you know that you must legally turn your headlights on when it’s raining or snowing while driving in Minnesota? I did not—I see so many un-headlit cars during lousy weather I just assumed our state had somehow skipped that common sense law. So I was glad to see this little post (again, hard to call it news) from KARE 11 reminding drivers to turn your damn lights on when water is falling from the sky. This seems like the sort of thing that shouldn’t require a reminder from a news outlet, let alone an actual law. Personally, I turn my lights on even when it’s just a bit overcast because I prefer for my car to be visible to other drivers. I’m funny that way! Anyway, I’m just happy that KARE gave me an excuse to remind people to turn their damn lights on. I’ll save my other headlight-related rant fact—that LED headlights need to be removed from our roads, like yesterday—for another time. 

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