Election mail check: Exaggerated abortion, gas tax claims common in Minnesota legislative races


A typical negative campaign mailer lists “bad” votes cast for an incumbent. One party searches voting records to find out which issues can be used against an incumbent.

A pair of mails, among hundreds that were dropped into mailboxes this year, use a different strategy: Projecting what a candidate would do if elected. One case is based upon bills that an incumbent sponsored in the past. Another method is to use bills that an incumbent from the same party has sponsored in the past.

One allegation is that the mailing gives a legislator power that he doesn’t have. Here are two examples of hit lit directed at Ethan Cha, DFL state House candidate from Woodbury, and Rep. Greg Boe of Chanhassen, incumbent GOP member.

Republican State Party and House Republican Campaign Committee vs. Cha

The mailing headlines “Ethan Cha will Support Higher Gas Taxes to Pay for More Wasteful Spending” and includes a photo of Cha smiling over someone who is pointing at a gas station with prices of $4-gallon or more.

“Ethan Cha will support higher gas taxes,” Cha seems to be saying. The image is similar to the stickers placed on pumps with a pointed Joe Biden. The same image points to the headline “Ethan Cha will support high gas taxes .”

The back of the mailing from the Republican Party of Minnesota.

What is the attribution? Is Cha a supporter of gas taxes? Has he voted in favor of higher gas tax rates or sponsored a bill? The mail doesn’t reach there. Instead, it relies on guilt by political association.

The copy says that span style=”font weight: 400 Ethan Cha has been endorsed by the liberal DFL as he will be a solid voter to take more money away from hardworking Minnesotans.” “He is a member the same party that voted for raising the gas tax, and refused to stop DFL’s automatic gasoline tax increases, even though the price per gallon rose above $5.00 span>

That claim is not without truth, and there are major leagues stretching the truth. 2019 Governor Tim Walz proposed raising gasoline taxes to increase road and bridge spending and to fund transit projects in the metropolitan area. The DFL-controlled state House approved the four-cent-per gallon increase in gas taxes, but it was stopped by the GOP-controlled Senate.

The U.S. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the cost of a gallon gasoline in Minnesota at the time of this vote was $2.74

The Legislature could not automatically increase the price of gasoline to $5 per gallon because the tax was never approved. Some DFLers (including those who voted to increase the gas tax in 2019) made the only move last session to end collecting the state gas tax as a tax holiday. Walz supported the move, but other DFLers opposed it. It was never put to the vote.

Minnesota DFL Party vs. Greg Boe

The mailer’s front shows a woman in green medical scrubs and handcuffs. The photo’s front shows a woman in green medical scrubs and handcuffs.

These images were sent by the Minnesota DFL Party to voters in the district where state House Rep. Greg Boe (R-Chanhassen) was located.

Many of the mailings that were sponsored by the DFL or associated groups during the election focus on abortion. It may point to sponsored bills, as it did with Boe. It cites responses to questionnaires of anti-abortion organizations in other cases, which are often with non-incumbents.

Boe was among 11 sponsors of House File 262span styling=”font-weight 400 ;”>. One sponsor sponsored Senate File 223, the companion bill to the Senate. Both were entitled “Abortions prohibited if a fetal beat is detected with certain exceptions and penalties.” They were introduced and referred to the House Health Policy and Finance Committee. It did not receive a hearing.

The bill measures one page and refers to Texas law definitions that prohibit abortions at the point where fetal heartbeat detection is possible. The bill stated that doctors must perform an abdominal ultrasound to determine whether a fetal beat can be detected via an abdominal ultrasound. If so, the doctor may not perform abortions. A gross misdemeanor would result in a maximum of one year imprisonment or a minimum $3,000.

According to the bill, fetal beat is defined as “the constant and repetitive contractions of the fetal heart within the gestational Sac.”

These laws are supported by those who claim that heartbeats can still be detected after six weeks of gestation. NPR’s scientific analysis revealed that many pediatricians disagree with that claim. They state that heartbeats cannot be detected until the heart valves are fully developed at 18-20 weeks. The timing definitions by the sponsors show that the bill’s intent is to ban abortions as many women don’t know they are pregnant until six weeks.

This assertion is only questionable because the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Roe v. Wade that a state legislator can “outlaw abortion.” According to current state Supreme Court rulings there is a fundamental right in the state Constitution to have an abortion. A recent ruling by a district court that was not appealed successfully found that almost all restrictions, such as those regarding gestational periods, are prohibited.

Boe could vote in favor of a bill banning abortion. If Republicans win the House and Senate next years and hold the governor’s post, it could become law. However, the court currently holds that it would be unconstitutional. Boe could vote for a constitutional amendment to the ballot that would change the state constitution. However, this would require voter approval.

Although it may sound technical, Minnesota’s Legislature cannot ban abortion without changing the court makeup or voter approval. These voters have already told pollsters by solid majorities that they don’t want such a ban.

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