Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Plethora of conservative convictions, part two

A two part look at the conservative record of our state's CEO. And now, part two.

2nd Amendment Rights

Remember a couple years ago when liberal activist judges in Minnesota overturned the conceal-carry law? Well, through what was likely the only bipartisan move this session, Gov. Pawlenty signed the bill into law for a second time in his career.

Gov. Tim Pawlenty on Tuesday signed a bill that allows easier statewide access to handgun permits. The law, which restores an identical 2003 measure that was struck down by the courts, takes effect immediately.

The so-called conceal-carry law allows law-abiding people over the age of 21, to get a gun permit as long as they have a clean record, no mental illness and proper safety training.

Several state courts struck down the 2003 law, citing the unusual procedure by which it was passed in the Legislature. Lawmakers moved quickly this year to re-pass it in a way that would pass muster in the courts.

"We signed it before, we signed it again," said Pawlenty's spokesman, Brian McClung. It was done with little fanfare; McClung said Pawlenty had too many other bills to sign to make a big deal out of it.

Before the 2003 law, sheriffs and police chiefs around the state had discretion to grant or deny handgun permits to individual applicants. Now, anyone who meets the criteria can get one.

Critics say that makes it too easy to get a gun in the state, especially in urban areas where law enforcement is trying to hold the line against violence.

Groups that fought the law in 2003 and filed the lawsuit that brought it down have promised to keep fighting in court. They say the bill still contains a number of provisions that are vulnerable to legal challenge, including not doing enough to ensure rights for churches that want to bar guns from their property.

But backers say the law actually makes the state a safer place by raising the minimum age of gun owners from 18 to 21, and by making all applicants go through the safety training.

Despite vocal opposition from urban and suburban Democrats, the revived gun bill won easy favor in both the Senate, where it passed 44-21, and in the House, which passed it 86-47. It was supported in both chambers by most Republicans and Democrats from rural parts of the state.

(Source: “Pawlenty signs gun permit bill with little fanfare,” Associated Press, May 24, 2005)

Death Penalty Advocate

Pawlenty has openly advocated the death penalty for sex offenders, taking flak in the opinion pages of the Star Tribune.

"Sex offenders are the worst of the worst," said Governor Pawlenty. "My preference is to allow the voters of Minnesota a chance to re-establish the death penalty to deal with sex offenders who kill their victims. The legislature has prevented that, but we are taking steps to deal with sex offenders with strong measures that include longer prison terms and intensive supervision. My plan will lock-up sex offenders for significantly longer than current law and will provide for indefinite incarceration for the most violent. It will also greatly strengthen tracking, monitoring and supervision of sex offenders who complete their sentences."

(Source: Press Release, Gov. Pawlenty’s Office, January 31, 2005)


Gov. Pawlenty has been the strongest advocate for the DOMA amendment ever to serve in the state’s executive branch.

Several thousand supporters of a constitutional ban on gay marriage rallied Wednesday at the Capitol, saying all they want is a chance to vote on the issue.

"Marriage between a man and a woman is the foundation of our society," Gov. Tim Pawlenty told the cheering crowd.

Supporters of the constitutional ban directed much of their ire at the DFL-controlled Senate, which for the last two years has denied floor votes on the issue even as it's passed twice in the Republican-controlled House. Senate Majority Leader Dean Johnson, DFL-Willmar, said Wednesday that there won't be a Senate vote this year.

The ban, which would prohibit any legal recognition of gay relationships, including civil unions, would put the question to voters in 2006.

State law already defines marriage as between a man and a woman; the measure would enshrine that definition in the state constitution, with supporters saying too many bans in other states have been struck down by judges.

"We need to make sure that doesn't happen in Minnesota," Pawlenty said.

(Source: “At Capitol, opponents of gay marriage take their rally turn,” Associated Press, April 20, 2005)

Now for the coup de grace

No New Taxes

For the third straight session, Gov. Pawlenty has not raised taxes, as he promised on the campaign trail way back in 2002.

Pawlenty also proclaimed the budget package that was completed Wednesday a balanced, bipartisan compromise, saying that "the process was ugly, but the product is good."

He claimed victory in a dozen areas, handing out a checklist of achievements led by "Don't raise taxes" and a status box that listed it as "Done."

(Source: “Budget passes; special session done,” Star Tribune, July 14, 2005)

There you have it: Governor Timothy Pawlenty, proven conservative. Let the angry comments begin.


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