Update from Representative Denny McNamara

Representative Denny McNamara (R) District 57B

Representative Denny McNamara (R) District 57B

By Rep. Denny McNamara, 2/10/2012

Hello from St. Paul,

You may recall from previous updates my concerns with Governor Dayton’s previous decision to sign an Executive Order calling for an election to determine whether private child care providers should unionize. As part of the Order, only 4,287 of Minnesota’s 11,000 in-home providers would actually be able to vote on unionization because they receive state subsidies.

This decision upset parents who feared that unionization would lead to higher daycare costs, and really bothered those daycare providers who weren’t able to vote as they feared the decision would allow government to tell them how to run their business, and basically force them into a union they may or may not want to join.

In January, a judge put a restraining order on Governor Dayton’s order, but it is only temporary. This means we have no idea what the final result will be when it comes to daycare unionization. So, in an attempt to protect in-home day care providers from potentially being forced into paying future union dues against their will, the Minnesota House approved legislation preventing state deductions from child care assistance payments.

The legislation passed Thursday in the House basically says state money will not be used to pay for union dues, or automatically deducted from their paychecks, if daycare unionization is someday successful. To me, this is good common sense. The bill won’t prevent the daycare providers from unionizing if that’s their choice, but it gives those who are opposed to the notion, and may not have even had a vote in the process, the freedom to make their choice without state government making it for them.

In other news, the Dayton administration recently announced it was taking a convicted pedophile out of Minnesota’s Sex Offender Treatment Program and allowing him to live in a St. Paul halfway house. I, along with most lawmakers, find this outrageous, but it appears it will happen in March.

Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson said she agreed with a report that 64-year-old Clarence Opheim deserved a greater degree of freedom after accomplishing the requirements of his treatment program. This despite the fact that less than one year ago, the state special review board noted that Opheim remained “at a high risk to commit a future serious sexual offense.”

Opheim is sick individual. When you classify sex offenders, he’s as bad as it gets. The man has been convicted of roughly 100 sex offenses with nearly 30 different victims under the age of 17, including an eight year old. I have strong concerns that he’s going to be relocated to a halfway house in a dense urban city, but apparently it’s going to happen.

Commissioner Jesson is scheduled to testify before the Minnesota House Health and Human Services Reform Committee on February 15 to explain why she thinks Opheim should be released from the sex offender program. It should be noted that Governor Dayton could reverse this decision and prevent this serial pedophile from rejoining society. It’s my hope that he does.

Speaking of Governor Dayton, he is scheduled to give his State of the State Address on Wednesday. I’ll be sure to share my thoughts on his outlook for the state in a future update.

Keep in touch,

Representative Denny McNamara
Dist. 57B
Chair of the Committee on Environment, Energy
and Natural Resources Policy and Finance
375 State Office Building
100 Rev.Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St. Paul, Mn. 55155-1298
Phone (651) 296-3135

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