Monthly Archive for November, 2011

Why don’t all licensed day care providers get to vote on unionization?

Today I received this letter from our friend Rep. Andrea Kieffer of Woodbury. We need to get more people active on this issue. Please read her letter below and take action today by calling the Governor and asking him to rescind or revise his executive order.

The Office of the Governor can be reached at 651-201-3400, or you can use the online contact form at this address: http://mn.gov/governor/contact-us/form/.

Regards,
Kellie
Kellie Eigenheer, Chair, Senate District 57 Republicans

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Many Providers Will Not Get a Vote

There is no reason home-based, independent business owners need to be unionized since the services are already offered.

State Representative Andrea Kieffer (R) District 56B

On November 15, 2011, Governor Dayton signed an Executive Order allowing an election to unionize home daycare providers. This election will take place from December 6th to the 20th by mail-in ballot to selected homes. It will be coordinated, paid for, and results tallied by the unions AFSCME (Child Care Providers Together) and SEIU (Kids First). Not every provider will be allowed to vote; instead 4,600 will vote for roughly 11,000 Minnesota licensed childcare providers.

Only providers who serve families that receive CCAP (Child Care Assistance Program) funding will be allowed to vote. Some providers have said they would accept CCAP families but will still be denied a ballot. As a result, many independent daycare owners have expressed concerns over the fairness of this process and the potential lack of transparency and/or accountability in carrying out the election. The Minnesota Licensed Family Child Care Association, Incorporated (MLFCCA) wrote to the Governor asking for a fair vote that will include all licensed daycare providers in Minnesota.

In Rochester on October 24, 2011, I heard testimony from those in favor of the AFSCME and SEIU proposal and those who were adamantly against the formation of a daycare union. The union representatives would not answer the questions regarding “fair share” dues and said they would have to wait until after the union is formed and the board decides on that issue. Although the Executive Order states that membership will be optional (#10), Minnesota is not a “right to work” state, so the union could mandate a percentage of dues from non-members be paid (usually around 75%).

Who will pay for the additional dues owed to the union? Some providers may pass the cost to the families they serve; others may take it out of their own profit margin. Either way, the union gets more money and working families get less. MLFCCA currently offers all of the services that the union says it will offer: training, pooling for benefits, and a legislative voice at the capitol for a $35 annual membership fee. I called MLFCCA to confirm this fee. I was also told the only difference between their association and what the union will offer is that they do not endorse political candidates.

At the capitol on November 21st, The Minnesota Bureau of Mediation Services (BMS) Commission Tilsen testified on how the election will be overseen. Many questions were raised regarding the process of the election: who gets a ballot, will there be clear wording about the impact of the vote, what is the timing to return ballots, who will collect them? Overall, the two main concerns are whether this is a legal process and why doesn’t every licensed provider get a vote? Representative Joe Atkins (DFL lead on the Commerce Committee) stated, “if you are going to be impacted, you ought to have a vote.”

Proponents say that the union will not have an impact on providers who do not join. However, in a letter dated November 23, 2011, from the Department of Human Services (which issues daycare licensing), Commissioner Jesson wrote, “…examples of these issues [that will impact all providers] include quality standards, and quality rating systems, the availability of training opportunities, changes to the state system of providing early childhood education services, and the monitoring and evaluation of family child care providers through licensure.” Hence, legislative changes will affect all home daycare providers regardless of membership.

Testifier Cyndi Cunningham talked of questionable tactics used by union representatives at the homes of the providers. Complaints included falsifying identification of agencies, why a representative was at the door, and coercion to sign a card to join “Kids First” or “CCPT.” MLFCCA said they received several complaints of “intimidation” and told their members if they feel threatened to call 911. By request of the Governor’s office, problems are to be reported to Katy Chase @MLFCCA.com, childcareunioninfo.com or Cyndi Cunningham (651) 470-4857.

Both AFSCME and SEIU declined to testify during the committee hearing (some say because of a threat of a lawsuit by the legislature). Since then, a lawsuit has been filed in Ramsey County, not by the legislature, but by the childcare providers themselves.

What exactly is the message our Governor trying to send to Minnesotans with this executive order? By comparison, two states rescinded childcare provider unions in 2011: Wisconsin and Michigan. Governor Jerry Brown (DFL: California) recently vetoed a bill that would have unionized childcare providers in his state.

In a letter to the legislature dated November 29, 2011, Dayton defended his decision stating that only those who work for CCAP families will be unionized. He also noted that many other non-union businesses are impacted by union-led mandates within those industries. Finally, he states that this effort has been blocked for several years, and this vote is a right to make decisions “among themselves for themselves.”

Too many providers will not get a vote on a decision that will impact them. There is no reason home-based, independent business owners need to be unionized since the services are already offered. Moreover, people who have voiced concerns directly to me are at a ratio of about 80 opposed to 1 in favor. Please contact Governor Dayton’s office and ask him to rescind or revise his executive order.

Repsectfully,
Andrea

Andrea Kieffer
State Representative 56B
(651) 296-1147

Grassroots Meeting about Judicial Reform Legislation, Tues, Nov 29

Representative Diane Anderson (R) District 38A

Representative Diane Anderson (R) District 38A

The following message is from Rep. Diane Anderson of House district 38A:

Some Republican legislators are working on several bills that deal with Judicial Reform: Anderson HF1474, Shimanski HF1536, and Gruenhagen HF1568. We would like to inform you about these bills and get your input. We would like to get your help and support. We need people to contact their legislators and encourage them to support these bills.

Please attend this grassroots Meeting:

Date: Tuesday, November 29
Time: 6:30pm to 8:00pm
Location: Eagan

If you have any questions you can contact Rep. Diane Anderson at 651-688-9461.

Is Now the Time to Change the Way Judges are Chosen?

Blue Ribbon Panel debates the issue at the Afton House, December 6th

(Afton, MN) Should judges be elected by the people as they are today, or should judges be appointed by the governor?

Sponsored by Local Voices, a social group of SD 57 Republicans, a blue-ribbon panel will debate the issue on Tuesday, December 6th, 2011, at 7 pm at the Historic Afton House Inn. Panelists include Greg Wersal, who carried and won a U.S. Supreme Court challenge that removed campaign restrictions on candidates seeking judgeships; former Chief Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court, Eric Magnuson; 51A State Representative Tim Sanders; 10th District Court Judge Tad Jude; and Chris Penwell, GOP-endorsed candidate for the 10th District Court in 2010.

Pat Anderson, Republican National Committee Woman for Minnesota and former State Auditor will moderate the discussion.

“Everyone wants a judiciary that is fair, objective and enforces the law,” says SD 57 Republican Party Chair Kellie Eigenheer. “The disagreement is how best to get that result – having the people elect judges, as we do now, or having the governor appoint judges based specific merit-based criteria.”

Under Rep. Mike Beard’s proposed legislation (HF 1666) the current contested election system is replaced with a “retention election” system in which judges are initially appointed by the governor for a specific term and Minnesotans decide at the end of their terms whether to retain them by casting a “yes” or “no” vote. If a judge is voted out of office, the governor then appoints a replacement. Beard’s bill establishes a judicial commission to help the public evaluate judges’ actions.

Attorney Greg Wersal has testified against this proposed constitutional amendment at numerous legislative hearings calling it “constitutional malpractice.” Wersal contends that Beard’s proposal provides no checks on the governor’s power to appoint based on politics rather than excellence in the law and creates a judicial unaccountable to the public.

“The panel we’ve assembled represents a wide range of views on judicial selection,” said Eigenheer. “The event is open to the public – Republicans, Democrats, and Independents. How we elect our judges affects all of us.”

WHAT: Blue Ribbon Panel discussion about changing the way Minnesota chooses judges

WHEN: Tuesday, Dec. 6th, 2011. Panel discussion begins at 7 PM at Historic Afton House Inn. Join us at 6:00 for dinner/cocktail and mingle and converse with your fellow Minnesotans. Special menu available.

WHERE: Afton House Inn, 3291 St. Croix tr. S., Afton MN (651) 436-8883

MORE INFO: Publicrelation@sd57gop.org

Debate: Should Judges be Elected or Appointed?

Join us on Tuesday, December 6, 2011, 7:00 p.m. at the Historic Afton House Inn for an enjoyable evening of social fun and debate.

Former Minnesota Chief Justice Eric Magnuson, State Representative Tim Sanders, 10th District Court Judge Tad Jude, Minnesota attorneys Greg Wersal and Chris Penwell will discuss the merits of H.F. 1666, a bill proposing to scrap Minnesota’s judicial elections and replace them with a “retention election” system.

Under the system, judges would be initially appointed by the governor and then retained by a “yes” or “no” vote by the residents.

Mediating the debate will be Pat Anderson, Republican National Committee Woman for Minnesota, former Mayor of Eagan, and former Minnesota State Auditor.

This is a “Local Voices” meeting organized by Karin Housley. The mission of Local Voices is to discuss issues affecting residents in the area, from Cottage Grove to Hastings, to Afton and the surrounding cities. Always on the first Tuesday of the month, this is our monthly Senate District 57 Republican BPOU social event. Plan to attend, enjoy a tasty dinner, and hear a lively debate.

Social hour starts at 6:00 p.m. with the opportunity to order from Afton House Inn menu.

The Historic Afton House Inn is at 3921 St. Croix Trail South, in Afton, MN 55001.

For more information, please email Karin Housley at karin@karinhousley.com

So Washington Co Bulletin publishes story about our supported candidates

The following article appeared on the South Washington County Bulletin’s website.

Local GOP backs candidates for District 833 School Board, St. Paul Park mayor
By: Scott Wente, South Washington County Bulletin
Published November 03, 2011, 01:38 PM

Three candidates running for the South Washington County School Board and a St. Paul Park mayoral hopeful are getting the backing of the local Republican Party as the Nov. 8 election approaches.

The Senate District 57 GOP mailed an election newsletter to south Washington County homes encouraging voters to support School Board candidates Leslee Boyd, Ron Kath and Joe Ryan. The local party also backed challenger Keith Franke over incumbent John Hunziker in the St. Paul Park mayor’s race.

Read the rest of the story at swcbulletin.com.

P.S. Please make sure to vote on Nov 8!