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< Omnibus means "stop" | Main | MFL trade made >

It's a (protected ) old flag

Posted at 11:18 AM on March 15, 2007 by Bob Collins (4 Comments)

I knew this bill -- HF122 -- would lead to some entertaining debate, I just didn't think it would get this far. This bill is the one that bans the sale of American flags that are not made in the United States. It's from Rep. Tom Rukavina. MPR reporter Elizabeth Stawicki did a story on this a few weeks ago -- one of several this year that came out of the MFL -- and it contained the assertion that flags made in China are better than those made in the U.S. Ouch.

It was headed for passage (I think) on the House floor this morning when Minority Leader Marty Seifert gave the DFL the "what for," by wondering what happened to all those issues the DFL campaigned on -- health care, property tax relief etc.

That set up a nice little exchange with Seifert getting some solid footing in baiting the DFL. An attempt was made to shelve the bill. It failed. (Listen in RealAudio)

I'll have an audio clip and an update later. But this theme of reminding the DFLers what the voters allegedly were voting for and comparing it to what's happened so far is coming up more and more. I'm not sure it's not effective.

On the other hand, it's interesting to listen to Republicans -- who have been the party of a flag burning amendment -- decry the trivial nature of this bill when at the heart of it is the American flag.

You can't make this stuff up.

Update 11:57a -- Republicans are conducting a clinic to show how many holes are in this bill by offering amendments including preventing flag burning of flags made in Minnesota (failed). Rep. Torrey Westrom noted that a lot of legislators are driving cars that aren't made in the U.S., while a Ford plant goes out of business in St. Paul. "What kind of car do you drive?" Rukavina asked. "I've never driven a Ford," Westrom responded. Westrom is blind.

12:12p Republicans have -- finally made the obvious point-- the bill restricts the sale of an expression of freedom.

12:32p- We've entered the second hour of debate. I'm pretty sure that aside from the rules debate a couple of weeks ago (per diem expenses), that this is now the longest floor debate of the session, which says something; I'm just not sure what. I should've made this a Floor Session Palooza Day for the bonus points.

12:38p 83-46 the bill passes. Enjoy this grenade, Senate. If you're looking for some points , I would think gubernatorial veto is possible. Reps. Rukavina; Lieder; Anzelc; Moe; Hosch are sponsors.

Comments (4)

"Enjoy this grenade, Senate"

Well at least they, the senators, have 3 more sessions for the folks back home to forget this bill.

Posted by Brian Hanf | March 15, 2007 12:50 PM

Read the story on the House website. It's a hoot.


Posted by Nancy G | March 16, 2007 6:31 AM

Mr. Collins. It seems a little incongruous, that MPR is blogging on issues surrounding Rukavina's bill, such as a restriction "...of an expression of freedom," while at the same time "restricting" the public's ability to express themselves as they see fit. You require our comments to be screened in order that they acquiesce to norms of your determination before a comment is allowed to appear. I imagine your desire is prevent foul language or flaming, and other unpalatable comments. Nonetheless the result is the same kind of restriction on freedom that Rukavina wishes to impose. I recall a time when Rukavina and his party used to be liberal in their view of life.
I do wish MPR had the courage to fully engage in public discourse.
Life, it seems to me, is far more interesting when taken at its' broadest point, rather than viewed from its narrowest.



Posted by Daniel | March 16, 2007 6:42 AM

Nancy. My favorite is the amendment to broaden what patriotic artifacts are restricted.

No person may sell or offer for sale in this state any novelty or other item containing
1.5a representation of any architecturally, culturally, or historically significant landmark
1.6or symbol of the United States including:
1.7 (1) the Statue of Liberty;
1.8 (2) the Liberty Bell;
1.9 (3) Independence Hall;
1.10 (4) the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights
1.11 (5) the Emancipation Proclamation;
1.12 (6) depictions of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. or his "I Have a Dream" speech;
1.13 (7) the women's suffrage movement;
1.14 (8) the World Trade Center;
1.15 (9) any national park or landmark within any national park of the United States; and
1.16 (10) historical symbols used by the Industrial Workers of the World, Knights
1.17of Labor, American Federation of Labor, Congress of Industrial Organization, or
1.18International Brotherhood of Teamsters;
1.19unless the novelty or other item was manufactured in the United States of America.

1.21 No person may sell or offer for sale in this state any novelty or other item containing
1.22a representation of any architecturally, culturally, or historically significant landmark or
1.23symbol of Minnesota including:
1.24 (1) the State Capitol;
1.25 (2) Minnesota state flag;
1.26 (3) Minnesota Constitution;
2.1 (4) the Duluth aerial lift bridge;
2.2 (5) the Vermilion, Mesabi, or Cuyana Iron Range regions;
2.3 (6) the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness;
2.4 (7) any Minnesota state park or landmark within any state park;
2.5 (8) the Minneapolis stone arch bridge; and
2.6 (9) any other landmark or symbol designated by the director of the Explore
2.7Minnesota tourism office;

there was also this one:

No Minnesota representative or senator who voted in favor of House file 122 in the
eighty-fifth session of the Minnesota Legislature shall drive or own a vehicle that is not
manufactured in the United States of America."

and this one...

English is the official language of the state of
Minnesota. English is designated as the language for use by the state and local
governments, for government officers and employees acting in the scope of their
employment, and for government documents and records.

Daniel, the reason the comments are screened isn't so that they "acquiesce to norms of your determination," but so that all the junk mail gets screened out.

No post on MFL relating to politics has ever been denied posting.

God Bless America

Posted by Bob Collins | March 16, 2007 8:07 AM