RLCMN Enjoys a Great RPM State Convention!

The Minnesota Republican Liberty Caucus was on display at the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center on May 20-21 as Republicans from around the state gathered to elect national delegates and alternates on what turned out to be a spectacular weather weekend.

We once again hosted our “Liberty Lounge,” a place to hide out from the hustle of the convention, sit on comfortable couches, and recharge your electronic devices. We spoke with dozens of convention attendees, including many first-time delegates, and we added over 30 new names to our mailing list. In addition, hundreds of members proudly wore gold “liberty caucus” badge ribbons on their convention credentials.

We also hosted a wildly successful Liberty Pub Crawl after the first night of the convention. While exact numbers aren’t available, we estimate about 150 people participated in the crawl at one point or other, with a core group of around 30 who visited every stop. Pub crawl T-shirts could be seen everywhere!

Thanks to everyone who visited the lounge, and thanks to everyone who joined us for the pub crawl. We look forward to working together in promoting liberty within the Republican Party in 2016 and beyond.

House Republican Budget: Where’s the Reduced Spending?

Statement from RLCMN chair Neil Lynch:

“Republicans and conservatives across the state are very disappointed in the initial budget proposal offered by Speaker Daudt and the House Republican Caucus. They had a golden opportunity to show they are serious about reducing government spending; however, they entered negotiations with a budget that increase spending.

“The same Republican legislators who campaigned last year to reduce spending are starting the negotiation process with a 1.7% increase over two years. What happened to fiscal conservatism? What happened to reducing spending? We acknowledge that passing a budget will require negotiation with the DFL, whose own budget represents a 10% growth in spending. We understand that the final budget will likely land somewhere in between both party’s proposals; but to not even try a negative increase, or a zero increase, is an affront to Republicans and conservatives across the state.

“Despite this disappointing budget proposal, Speaker Daudt and the House Republican Caucus still have an opportunity to prove that they care about small government principles. They can pass three important pieces of legislation — championed by the RLCMN — that are currently stalled in the House: freedom to buy beer on Sunday (HF 321), freedom from unreasonable search and seizure of private electronic data (HF 327), and freedom for those on parole and probation to vote (HF 342).

“Members of the House Republican Caucus have failed to live up to their campaign promises of reduced spending. Passing these three bills will give these members the chance to prove that they do indeed want to reduce the size and scope of government.”

Survey: Minnesotans Want Improved Data Privacy Protections

The vast majority of Minnesotans want their electronic data protected from unreasonable searches by the government, according to results of a new survey released today by the Republican Liberty Caucus of Minnesota and Liberty Minnesota.

The survey of 500 diverse Minnesotans shows that most think the government should not be able to view their phone data, pictures and emails, or store location and travel data, without probable cause. In addition, two-thirds of Minnesotans would support a constitutional amendment on the 2016 election ballet that reinforces the protection of electronic data against unreasonable search. The survey was conducted by Public Policy Polling on Feb. 24-25.

Survey highlights include:

  • 85% of respondents think the government should be not able to view their phone data, pictures and emails without probable cause
  • 66% of respondents support a constitutional amendment that spells out privacy protections for electronic data (including 86% support of those between the ages 18-29)
  • An overwhelming majority of both Democrats and Republicans surveyed support protecting electronic data from unreasonable search

The legislature is currently considering SF 32, the “Data Privacy Amendment” authored by Sen. Branden Petersen (R-Andover) and Sen. Scott Dibble (D-Minneapolis). The bill is authored in the House by Rep. Peggy Scott (R-Andover) and Rep. John Lesch (D-St. Paul). The bill has broad support from groups such as the Minnesota ACLU, Occupy Minnesota, the Minnesota Tea Party Alliance and the Republican Party of Minnesota.

“In an era of warrantless NSA spying, it’s great to see the people of Minnesota stand up against government invasion of their data privacy without probable cause,” said Neil Lynch, chair of the Republican Liberty Caucus of Minnesota. “We believe this survey reinforces the efforts of Sen. Petersen and other legislators as they fight for our Fourth Amendment rights at the state level.”

Liberty Minnesota Executive Director Karl Eggers added, “Men, women, Republicans, Democrats, millennials, senior citizens — everyone wants the government out of their electronic data. Our political leaders would be foolish to go against virtually every demographic by opposing this bill. Liberty Minnesota is proud to join Sen. Petersen and — as this survey shows  — almost all of Minnesota in strengthening our state’s legal protections of private electronic data.”

Sen. Petersen stated,” This poll sends a clear message to policymakers in St. Paul that Minnesotans wish to live free of government intrusion into their privacy, including their digital devices and data.”

The complete survey results are available at:
http://www.rlcminnesota.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/PPP-MN-DataPrivacySurvey.pdf

Senator Petersen is One of the “Fed’s Worst Nightmares”

It’s great to see one of our own recognized nationally for his work in advancing liberty and restraining government!

In a February 16 article in the Pontiac (Michigan) Tribune, RLCMN-endorsed senator Branden Petersen was recognized as one of five state legislators who are considered the “Fed’s Worst Nightmares” for their work in enacting and promoting legislation to fight back against our out-of-control federal government, especially in the area of civil liberties.

The Republican Liberty Caucus, along with an unprecedented coalition of groups such as the ACLU, the Tea Party Alliance and Occupy Minnesota, proudly stood with Senator Petersen at a recent press conference promoting one of these bills, the Data Privacy Amendment (SF 32).

Keep up the great work, Senator Petersen!

Let Minnesotans Buy Beer on Sundays

This morning, the Republican Liberty Caucus joined a coalition of political groups at a press conference to begin the campaign to legalize Sunday liquor sales during the 2015 legislative session.

The press conference was held at Boozemart (1673 S. Robert St. in West St Paul), a liquor store that supports Sunday sales. The RLCMN was joined by the Tea Party Alliance of Minnesota, Liberty Minnesota, the Libertarian Party of Minnesota, and the Independence Party of Minnesota.

The RLCMN is dedicated to educating its endorsed legislators on this important free market issue, and working with all legislators in St. Paul to overturn this antiquated blue law that’s been hijacked by special interests who want to secure monopolies for both on-sale establishments (bars & restaurants) and government-run municipal liquor stores.

Here’s video of the press conference. Several news outlets covered the story, but of course we chose the video that featured RLCMN chair Neil Lynch.

RLCMN Calls on Party Chair to Rebuke Congressmen for Anti-liberty Vote

Today, the RLCMN issues the following press release. Our civil liberties are under attack, and those commit these acts should be held accountable, regardless of whether or not they have an “R” after their name!

Republican Liberty Caucus Calls Upon MNGOP Chair Keith Downey to Rebuke Congressional Vote for Warrantless Spying

ST. PAUL, Minnesota (December 12, 2014) – Republican Liberty Caucus state chair Neil Lynch called upon Republican Party of Minnesota chair Keith Downey to issue a public rebuke of the state party’s congressional delegation for supporting an unprecedented violation of Americans’ civil liberties.

On Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Intelligence Authorization Act (H.R. 4681), which includes a provision that allows warrantless spying on American citizens for use in law enforcement.

Lynch referenced a letter issued by Congressman Justin Amash (R-MI) to his House colleagues warning them of the late amendment to the Intelligence Authorization Act, which attached the offending provision. Amash wrote, “Sec. 309 authorizes ‘the acquisition, retention, and dissemination’ of nonpublic communications, including those to and from U.S. persons. The section contemplates that those private communications of Americans, obtained without a court order, may be transferred to domestic law enforcement for criminal investigations.”

“This means the government can spy on American citizens without a warrant and use whatever they find in criminal prosecutions. That’s precisely what the Fourth Amendment prohibits,” said Lynch. “It’s a sad testament to the condition of the Republican Party when not a single member of our congressional delegation voted to defend personal liberty. No American — especially no Republican — should stand for this.”

Endorsed Legislators Factor in New House Majority

The GOP’s return to the majority in the Minnesota House means new House leadership and new committee chairs, positions of power that dictate the movement of legislation through the House. Several RLCMN-endorsed legislators have earned prominent leadership positions.

The biggest splash was made by Rep. Joyce Peppin (34B), a longtime RLC-endorsed representative who was named House Majority Leader, a role considered to be “second in command” to the newly-elected Speaker of the House, Rep. Kurt Daudt (31A).

Along with Rep. Peppin’s role as House Majority Leader, other RLCMN-endorsed representatives were appointed to chair committees for the coming biennium:

  • Rep. Peggy Scott (35B) – Civil Law & Data Practices
  • Rep. Sondra Erickson (15A) – Education Innovation Policy, Ethics
  • Rep. Steve Drazkowski (21B) – Property Tax & Local Government Finance Division (Taxes)
  • Rep. Joyce Peppin (34B) – Rules & Legislative Administration

The RLCMN congratulates Reps. Peppin, Scott, Erickson and Drazkowski for their new leadership roles. The members of the RLCMN, as well liberty lovers throughout the state, hope you will use your new roles to fight for the defense of our liberties and to make every effort to shrink government.

RLCMN at the 2014 MNGOP State Convention

The Minnesota chapter of the Republican Liberty Caucus is the only RLC chapter that’s registered as an affiliate of its state Republican Party, meaning that we have representation at all congressional district and state conventions, as well access and influence with state party leadership.

One small example of this access is the speaking slot we received at the MNGOP State Convention on May 30-31 in Rochester, Minnesota. State Chair Neil Lynch was joined on the stage by three of the RLCMN’s founding members: Tom Willenbring, Andy Lindberg, and Ebenezer Howe.

In addition, state chair Neil Lynch was interviewed at the state convention by the Fightin’ Words podcast (run by RLC board member Walter Hudson).

Given the treatment that Ron Paul and his delegates received at the MNGOP State Convention at this very location just six years ago, the fact that the RLCMN received podium time at this convention shows just how far the RLCMN — and the Minnesota liberty movement — has come. Now is our time to capitalize on this momentum and get more liberty Republican candidates elected who will begin the process of truly “rolling back the state.”