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Making Sure Our Elections are Safe and Secure

This year I will have the privilege of serving as the Republican Lead on the Senate Elections Committee. Our committee will oversee the Secretary of State’s office’s budget and all election laws here in Minnesota. Last week, we heard a bill allowing felons to vote while on probation. Currently, 21 states automatically restore voting rights to felons upon release from prison. 17 states, including Minnesota, automatically restore voting rights upon sentence completion, including prison, parole, and probation. 3 states never revoke the right to vote.

This legislation will be an engaging topic as it moves through the committee process, and I am interested to hear your thoughts on the issue!

Minnesota Blackout Bill puts Electric Grid at Risk

Senate Democrats will be holding the first hearing of the year on their disastrous Minnesota Blackout bill, also known as the 100% carbon-free mandate. This bill would require Minnesota’s electric utilities to generate 100% of their energy from renewable sources by 2040 – but not just any renewable source. Only solar, wind, hydroelectric, hydrogen, and biomass count. Not nuclear.

Even before you dig into the nitty gritty ways that electric utilities have to evade some of these limits, this legislation has a number of big problems:

First, it is extremely expensive. According to the nonpartisan think tank Center of the American Experiment, it will cost you an average of $1,640 on your electric bill every single year. It will hit folks outside the metro especially hard, where many are already paying much higher energy prices relative to their income.
Second, without nuclear, it is not a serious effort to be carbon-free. If you want a carbon-free society, nuclear must be part of the mix. This is not negotiable. It is the only renewable source that can make carbon-free work.
Third, it will put our electric grid at serious risk of collapse. There is a reason it is called the Minnesota Blackout bill. When the polar vortex hit a couple of years ago, our grid was minutes away from collapsing. Renewable sources alone will not be sufficient if something similar happens. We need dependable power when temperatures dip below zero (as they often do in Minnesota).

Everyone wants cleaner energy, and carbon-free is a commendable goal. But a government mandate that excludes the only source capable of getting us there is not the right path forward. It’s going to crush family budgets and put our energy grid in jeopardy.

Priority: Improving Road Safety

With increased traffic volume and additional development within the community there is a recognized need for an interchange at I-35 and 400th St. in North Branch. I have introduced legislation to provide funding for this project. The completed project will extend 400th St. across I-35 while providing access to the Interstate 35 system reducing congestion and improving safety.

Plan a Capitol Visit

If you ever find yourself in St. Paul, send me an email at sen.mark.koran@senate.mn, and I would love to host you at the People’s House and hear directly from you. As always, it is my honor to work for you!