Hello from St. Paul,


Some good news and some disturbing news to report from the Capitol this week.



First the good: the Minnesota House of Representatives approved a bill to improve school safety after a change in law last year resulted in the removal of school resource officers (SROs) from many schools throughout the state.


Last year, Democrats imposed prohibitions on the use of force in schools, banning certain physical holds by “an employee or agent of a district, including a school resource officer, security personnel, or police officer contracted with a district.”


In the measure passed this week, SROs are excluded as employees or agents of a school district and are excluded from the prohibitions on prone restraints and physical holds. The “reasonable force standard” has also been revised, and school districts and charter schools may only use only trained SROs.


It’s unfortunate it took more than a year to find common ground on this issue, but bringing SROs back to the schools is great news and will go a long way towards improving school safety for students and teachers.



A change to the definition of “sexual orientation” in the Minnesota Human Rights Act (MHRA) last year has led to a restriction of religious freedom.


When a new, separate definition of gender identity was created, bill authors failed to include the corresponding religious exemption that has been in state statute for decades. By removing this protection from claims of gender identity discrimination, the freedom that a faith-based organization is supposed to have in hiring employees that meet their mission is restricted.


In a House committee this week, Democrats refused to support legislation that would have restored the religious exemption in the MHRA. This despite testimony from numerous religious groups, including the Minnesota Catholic Conference, the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, the Joint Religious Legislative Coalition, Agudath Israel of Minnesota, and the Islamic Center of Minnesota.


Worth noting: at least one faith-based school is already facing an employment complaint at the Department of Human Rights because of the removal of the exemption.  


It’s important for a religious based organization to protect the clarity and vibrancy of its doctrine, and not be distracted by other’s views. We have a separation of church and state for a reason – it is literally a Constitutional right – and now it is being attacked. People of faith should start paying attention to what is happening at the State Capitol, because as the legislative majority’s views on religious freedoms become more clear, the legislation that moves or doesn’t move forward could become more concerning.


Have a good weekend,



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