Mary Franson characterizes anti-bullying bill as "fascism," GLBT community as "special interest" [VIDEO]

mary franson 13 rect.JPG
It's one thing to oppose a bill with well-reasoned arguments, another to portray it as potentially destroying Minnesota as we know it.
Two years ago, Rep. Mary Franson, R-Alexandria, was a regular fixture here on Blotter. To cite just a handful of reasons why, recall that she compared food stamp recipients to wild animals, called Earth Day a "pagan holiday," characterized a House floor prayer commemorating the anniversary of the Gulf oil spill as "offensive," and took out a steamy restraining order against her then-boyfriend (chair of the McLeod County GOP).

Franson seemed to be vying to become the next Michele Bachmann, but all the controversy and publicity didn't do her political career any good. Though she represents a solidly red district, she won reelection in 2012 by the thinnest of margins while her party went from being the majority to the minority in both the House and Senate. Perhaps in response, she's really toned it down since. (Although she still managed to take a pot shot at yours truly along the way.)

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Franson stands behind food stamp recipient-wild animal comparison

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MNGOP Rep. Jim Newberger compares anti-bullying bill to Orwell's 1984 [VIDEO]

Rep. Newberger
Hyperbole was taken to hard-to-top heights this afternoon on the House floor as Rep. Jim Newberger, R-Becker, compared the Safe and Supportive Minnesota Schools Act to the dystopian society described by George Orwell in his classic novel, 1984.

Newberger's main concern is a provision in the Safe Schools Act that defines bullying, in part, as "use of electronic technology and communications off the school premises to the extent such use substantially and materially disrupts student learning or the school environment."

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MNGOP Rep. Mary Franson, through tears, says: "Democrats are just destroying this state"

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Republican Rep. Pat Garofalo pushing for medical marijuana vote Wednesday [UPDATE]

Coleen Danger
A vote on the legalization of marijuana for medical use may not happen after all Wednesday.

Two bills on tomorrow's calendar contained amendments laying out a medical marijuana distribution system, but a source inside the legislature tells us that at least one of those bills has been postponed until after Easter break. We're awaiting confirmation on whether the second bill has also been removed from Wednesday's docket.

The news comes on the heels of a press conference Dayton gave this afternoon in which he lamented that legislators "have hidden behind their desks" while he's dealt with the backlash.

"Let them vote," the governor said.

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Aaron Miller, GOP-endorsed Congress candidate, repeats bizarre anti-evolution story

If it were up to Miller (pictured), creationism would be taught in public schools.
Obamacare, Benghazi, NSA surveillance... these are the issues you expect to hear Republicans railing about in the run up to November's congressional elections.

But evolution? We thought that one was more or less settled right around the time the Lucy fossil was found, at least for those of us inclined toward rational thought.

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Allen Quist rides into the sunset on dinosaur he believes lived concurrently with humans [CARTOON]

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DFL finally comes together on minimum wage hike

-- Updates at bottom --

Last year, bills raising the minimum wage from $6.15 passed the House and Senate. But the House wanted to raise the floor significantly higher than the Senate ($9.50 to $7.75, respectively), and DFL leaders never came to an agreement.

DFL leaders announced today, however, that not only have they come together behind the $9.50 figure, but they also support indexing the minimum wage to inflation beginning in 2018.

See also:
Rep. Frank Hornstein talks about living on minimum wage for a week

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House votes to ban abortions after fetus can "feel pain"

Reps. Holberg (left) and Fritz
Yesterday, the House approved two abortion-restricting amendments.

The "Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act," introduced by Rep. Liz Holberg, R-Lakeville, bans abortions 20 weeks after conception. The second, offered by Rep. Patti Fritz, D-Faribault, basically prohibits state-sponsored health care programs from covering abortion.

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Matt Birk refused White House trip because President Obama is pro-choice

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Mike McFadden's beautiful "Believe in a Better Minnesota" photo is actually of Canada

GOP U.S. Senate hopeful Mike McFadden has been taking a lot of fire from local Democrats recently. Yesterday, he got some national attention, though it's not really the sort he wants.

The reason? BuzzFeed's Andrew Kaczynski did some digging and discovered the scenic banner photo McFadden is using on his website and social media accounts actually wasn't taken in Minnesota.

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McFadden taking heat for not talking about the issues

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Gov. Mark Dayton slammed in medical marijuana commercial [UPDATE]

YouTube screen grab of a St. Paul mother advocating for medical marijuana
The advocates of medical marijuana wiped their eyes and came out swinging hard Tuesday in this anti-Gov. Mark Dayton ad campaign.

It features Angela Garin of St. Paul and her five-year son Paxton, who suffers daily from seizures. Garin is one of several mothers in recent months who've rallied for legislation that would allow their children to medicate with liquids containing CBD, a non-psychoactive compound found in marijuana that's been effective in preventing child seizures.

See also:
When will medical marijuana be legal in Minnesota?

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Man who made "get out of jail" cards for legislators says they're a big deal

These cards give legislators immunity from most non-felony offenses.
Legislators opposed to a bill that would strip them of DWI immunity during the legislative session argue there's no evidence that the cards are ever actually used. The argument is that since there's no problem, there's no need for a legislative fix.

But that line of thinking doesn't square with the work experience of Evan Hiltunen, who worked for the secretary of state's office from 2000 to 2003 and was tasked with making the cards at the beginning of the 2002 legislative session.

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Bill banning minors from tanning beds sailing through legislature

Upstate Options Magazine
Research shows melanoma rates for young women in Minnesota have increased about 5 percent every year for 15 years.
A bill that would prohibit minors from using tanning beds awaits floor votes in the House and Senate after sailing through committees in both chambers.

Current law requires parental consent for minors under 16 to use tanning beds, but the bill authored in the house by Rep. JoAnn Ward, D-Woodbury, would flat-out prohibit their use by anyone under 18.

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Skin cancer rates for young women eight-times higher than in 1970, Mayo study finds

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