Thursday, January 22, 2004

REPUBLICAN PARTY OF MINNESOTA 2004 PERMANENT PLATFORM

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REPUBLICAN PARTY OF MINNESOTA

2004 PERMANENT PLATFORM

SECTION 1 CREATING JOBS AND ECONOMIC PROSPERITY:

CONTROLLING TAXES, SPENDING, AND REGULATION

Republicans believe that limited government is the best government, and that free enterprise is the best path to prosperity for all Minnesotans. We support reducing taxes, spending and regulation to create business opportunities for our hard-working families and businesses.

Therefore, we support:

A. President Bush’s tax cuts and believe those tax cuts should be made permanent.

B. A constitutional amendment limiting growth in state spending to inflation plus population growth.

C. Cutting federal and state taxes, reducing spending, sun-setting regulations and limiting future tax increases by requiring a supermajority vote in Congress or the Minnesota Legislature to enact such increases.

D. Taxing Minnesotans at a level sufficient to fund the legitimate needs of state government without creating surpluses, and returning any surpluses to the taxpayers in proportion to the taxes they paid.

E. Reforming and simplifying our complex property tax system.

F. Abolishing the current IRS tax code and replacing it with a simpler, fairer tax system that favors a national sales tax or a flat tax.

G. Abolishing federal and state capital gains taxes, as well as all taxes on marriage, sickness, death or inheritance.

H. Keeping Internet access and sales free of taxation.

I. Dedicating all taxes, fees and licenses from their revenue streams to their appropriate program funding.

J. Maintaining the principle that sports, entertainment and the arts should be funded by users and voluntary donors, and not by tax dollars.

K. A fair and honest competitive business environment and therefore oppose corporate welfare.

L. Adopting a constitutional amendment that requires a balanced federal budget.

M. Allowing younger workers to save for the future and build their net worth by investing a portion of their Social Security payments, while fulfilling our obligations to older Americans, and prohibiting Congress from using Social Security funds for any other purpose.

N. Requiring that before any new government project or program is initiated, that its purpose, cost and anticipated life be set forth and that performance measurements and dismantling plans be established when the project or program does not meet expectations.

O. Adequately funding highway and bridge construction in Minnesota, including constitutionally dedicating 100% of the Motor Vehicle Excise Tax (MVET) to the Highway User Tax

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Distribution Fund and increasing the use of general obligation bonds to fund highway projects; and opposing any public funding of commuter rail or new light rail projects.

P. Equal access for non-union and union contractors to government and school district projects, without mandating that contractors sign project labor agreements.

Q. The repeal of state and federal legislation that imposes mandated wage rates on government and school district projects.

R. Requiring all school district elections, including, but not limited to board elections and referenda, to be held in November on regular election days.

S. No mandate imposed by any branch of government unless it includes the funds necessary to implement that mandate.

SECTION 2 – PRESERVING CIVIL RIGHTS

The Republican Party, the Party that abolished slavery, believes that the government should treat all of its citizens equally. Therefore, we advocate:

A. Adopting policies that reflect the principle that every innocent human being, born and unborn, has an inalienable right to life from conception to natural death.

B. Abortion without exception is wrong and should be opposed. We oppose partial birth abortions, forced taxpayer funding of abortions or abortion providers. Abortions performed on minors without parental consent are wrong and should not be forced on the people of Minnesota by their government.

C. Providing women considering abortion with information on alternatives to abortion as well as on the emotional and physical repercussions of abortion, including information on the pain felt by unborn babies, even at early stages of pregnancy.

D. The U.S. and Minnesota Constitutions should be amended to restore legal protection for the lives of innocent human beings from conception to natural death.

E. The Republican Party of Minnesota should urge members of the Minnesota House and Senate to introduce and support ‘right to life’ legislation that establishes ‘personhood’ at the time of conception.

F. Action should be taken leading to legislative guarantees and protection of the father’s inalienable right to decide against any unilateral or preemptive decision to terminate his child’s developing life.

G. Submitting to the people a vote on a constitutional amendment to overturn the Minnesota Supreme Court’s decision that forces taxpayers to pay for elective abortions.

H. Prohibiting U.S. promotion or funding of abortion in any nation.

I. Research and experimentation on fetal tissue or body parts obtained through abortion must be banned, including the sale of such tissue or body parts for any purpose.

J. All human cloning, whether reproductive or so-called ‘therapeutic’ cloning, and the use of human embryos or embryonic stem sells for research should be prohibited.

K. Encouraging respect for our American heritage and our status as American citizens rather than as members of any group; prohibiting any forms of discrimination by government including preferences or quotas for employment, student admissions and faculty hiring, set-

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asides in the awarding of government contracts; repealing all statutes which require unequal treatment or special preferences for such groups; and prohibiting the collection or storage of data on any person by any government agency for the purpose of identifying and discriminating among such groups.

L. Protecting charities, schools, and hospitals run by religious organizations from being compelled to provide services or information in conflict with their beliefs and teachings.

M. Protecting the right to religious expression, including display of the Ten Commandments, in any public setting in which the freedom of speech is protected.

N. Protecting personal privacy by prohibiting the use of social security numbers for any purpose other than social security identification and prohibiting the collection or release of any personal financial, medical, or other private information by anyone without the express consent of the person involved.

O. Legislation protecting the First Amendment right of private organizations to set their own standards for membership and the right to maintain in their policies those aspects that support their fundamental and legal beliefs.

P. Amending the Minnesota Constitution to guarantee a citizen’s right to keep and bear arms.

Q. Recognizing a responsible, competent citizen’s right to self-defense through gun ownership and a ‘must issue’ carry permit system, and that no law or rule shall be enacted requiring registration of firearms.

R. That all workers in Minnesota have the right to work without being forced to join a union.

S. Supporting the right of employees to organize, to join a union or other association, and to not have dues used to support political candidates; and requiring unions to receive written permission from their members before collecting funds for political purposes.

T. Condemning religious, political and ethnic persecution in any country, specifically the oppression, slave labor, torture and murder of religious believers.

SECTION 3 – EDUCATING OUR CHILDREN

Republicans believe that parents are responsible for their children’s education and that parents, teachers and local school boards can best make decisions about our children’s education. Therefore, we support:

A. A well-rounded knowledge-based curriculum to prepare our children to be good citizens and to compete in the rapidly evolving economy of the 21st century, and emphasizing traditional values of hard work, honesty, home and family, and respect for America’s religious and civic heritage, including the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

B. Making Minnesota’s education system more effective and efficient by reducing the federal and state bureaucracies’ control.

C. A statewide testing system that emphasizes basic skills in an academic curriculum.

D. Improving the quality of education by maximizing parental choice through expanded support for charter schools, school choice programs, parental rights to home school their children and more competitive and accountable public school systems, and by preserving and expanding tax credits, deductions, and school voucher programs.

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E. Reforming tenure, limiting public school teachers’ right to strike and restoring balance to the Public Employment Labor Relations Act. We would institute pay for performance and periodic competency testing for public school teachers in both the academic curriculum and the subjects they teach.

F. Requiring sexual abstinence to be taught in public schools, that premarital and extra marital sex is wrong, and that the use of contraceptives is not safe sex. We oppose the dispensing of or referral for birth control drugs and devices in schools. We oppose dispensing any prescription drugs in schools without written consent of the parents.

G. Requiring the presence of the United States flag in all classrooms, the daily recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, and encouraging the voluntary expression of religious beliefs and traditions by students.

H. Devoting the same emphasis to educating Minnesota’s gifted and talented children that is now devoted to special education.

I. Protecting educators from disciplinary action for including discussion of creation science, adopting science standards that acknowledge the scientific controversies pertaining to the theory of evolution.

J. Opposing public school student survey initiatives, which reveal personal, private information without the consent of parents.

K. No new governance system for Minnesota Independent School Districts that would align school district boundaries with county boundaries.

L. Eliminating education funding or discounts based on the number of children who receive free or reduced meals.

M. Abolishing the U.S. Department of Education and all its unfunded mandates and opposing any new state or federal laws which seek to centralize educational authority at the expense of local school boards.

N. Mastery of the English language for all students and encourage English immersion instruction as a method to quickly achieve this.

O. Repealing teacher licensure rules based on the obsolete Profile of Learning and replacing them with new licensure rules to be adopted based on the new state standards.

P. Holding all public schools, colleges and universities accountable to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) for all funds received and spent.

Q. The Eddie Eagle Gun Safety Program be made available annually in every Minnesota elementary and middle school.

SECTION 4 – STRENGTHENING FAMILIES AND COMMUNITIES

The Republican Party recognizes the blessings that God has bestowed on this great Nation. We declare our faith in Him and ask His continued guidance as we work to preserve this government of “One Nation Under God”. We also recognize the sanctity of human life and marriage, and the central role of the traditional family in our society. Therefore, we believe that:

A. We need to change marriage, divorce, child support, welfare and tax laws to encourage families to stay together. Minnesota’s law governing marriage should be amended to offer a

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‘Covenant Marriage’ option, entailing extensive pre-marital counseling and limits on divorce. Parental privileges of fathers in child custody issues should be restored to comply with the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

B. We should amend the U.S. Constitution and the Minnesota Constitution to define marriage as the legal union between a man and a woman. We oppose civil unions or their legal equivalents between same-sex couples.

C. Domestic partner benefits should not be publicly funded.

D. Racial preferences in adoption are wrong, and Minnesota should make it easier and less costly for traditional married couples to adopt a child of any race.

E. We should eliminate all state-sponsored gambling and oppose any expansion of gambling in Minnesota.

F. Laws and regulations restricting the production, sale and promotion of vulgarity, obscene material, especially to children, should be strengthened, and pornography-blocking software should be installed on all computers having Internet access in publicly financed institutions.

G. Parents have the right to attend their children’s public school rooms while school is in session without being accused of criminal trespassing as has occurred in Monticello and Big Lake, Minnesota.

H. Programs that reduce health care costs by introducing genuine market competition into the system and eliminating state mandated coverage of various illnesses and conditions. We oppose all proposals for socialized (i.e., ‘single payer’) medicine, and support the repeal of

MinnesotaCare, and opposing programs that ration health care.

I. Parents have the right to all of their minor children’s health records, including sexual health records without requiring their minor children’s consent.

J. Providing assistance to people in need primarily through private charity, including faith-based programs, rather than government welfare programs. Such programs should be encouraged through tax credits at the federal and state levels with the objective of replacing as much government-sponsored welfare with private initiatives as possible.

K. Adopting real welfare reform in Minnesota, by requiring all able-bodied welfare recipients to work as a condition of receiving benefits, and by stopping the practice of offering cash incentives for unmarried welfare recipients to bear children.

L. That Medicare reimbursements should not be determined by the location of the provider.

M. Minimizing governmental interference with the practice of medicine, including not allowing any government ‘best practices’ legislation.

N. Minnesota should prohibit any medical procedure or therapy that would deliberately cause or hasten death, including physician-assisted suicide and deprivation of food and water.

O. That the federal government not establish a national identification system for U.S. citizens.

SECTION 5 – PROTECTING THE PUBLIC’S SAFETY

Republicans believe that crime in Minnesota can best be reduced by getting tough with violent and repeat criminals. Therefore, we support:

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A. Establishing mandatory minimum prison sentences and substantially higher sentences for repeat offenders, ending probation for violent criminals, and establishing life sentences without the possibility of parole for the state’s most dangerous sex offenders.

B. Building whatever new prisons are necessary to protect the public by incarcerating violent criminals. Prisons are for the protection of the public and the punishment of criminals and should not be designed for recreation.

C. Re-instituting capital punishment for the most serious crimes.

D. Requiring criminals to provide restitution to victims and the state for crimes committed.

E. Enforcing existing firearms laws, particularly those relating to violent offenders, rather than creating new and unnecessary laws restricting the use of firearms.

F. Crime legislation that applies to all offenders of a specific crime; and oppose any legislation that would designate ‘hate crimes’ against specific ‘protected class’ groups.

SECTION 6 – STRENGTHENING THE RULE OF LAW

Republicans believe that our legal system has been subject to abuse in the form of frivolous lawsuits; excessive numbers of lawsuits; and lawsuits that are intended to advance a political agenda, rather than adjudicate real controversies. Therefore, we support:

A. Appointing judges who will exercise their authority to review, and when necessary limit, excessive awards of damages and attorneys’ fees.

B. Limiting attorneys’ fees in class action lawsuits and other cases where plaintiffs receive insignificant damages, so that fees are not disproportionate to any recovery obtained in the litigation.

C. Enacting legislation limiting any party’s liability in a civil case to its fair share of the damages, as determined by the percentage of fault assessed by the jury.

D. Empowering juries to determine that a suit was without merit, and in such a case requiring the plaintiff and his attorney to pay the defendant’s attorneys’ fees and court costs.

E. Limiting prisoners’ ability to file frivolous lawsuits.

SECTION 7 – ENJOYING AND PROTECTING OUR NATURAL

RESOURCES

The Republican Party believes that proper stewardship of our natural resources and agricultural lands will best be achieved through sound science and adherence to Constitutionally guaranteed property rights. Therefore, we support:

A. Maintaining clean air, water and land through reliance on peer-reviewed scientific research that establishes proven threats and workable remedies, and opposing such actions as the Kyoto Global Warming Treaty.

B. Imposing the costs of environmental clean up on those who cause pollution.

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C. Following commonsense practices in forest, wetlands and wildlife management and promoting multiple uses of natural resources in most circumstances.

D. Free enterprise in the agricultural economy.

E. Encouraging technological advances in the creation, processing and use of agricultural products and natural resources.

F. Opposing legislation that places a statewide moratorium on feedlots and logging roads since townships and counties should decide these matters.

G. Returning timber wolf management to the state.

H. Opposing Minnesota Planning’s use of the 1992 United Nations Rio De Janeiro Bio-Diversity Treaty from being used as the basis for any planning in Minnesota.

I. Opposing federal ‘heritage area’ acts that would generically provide funding and other opportunities for bureaucracies and other non-governmental organizations to use tax dollars to lobby and prepare for regulation of our land and resources.

J. Adhering to the original intent of the 1978 BWCAW law and Public Law 91-661 in managing the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and Voyageurs National Park and opposing all attempts by the judiciary or federal government to usurp constitutionally protected states’ rights.

K. Urging the passage of the American Land Sovereignty Act, which would require that Congress ratify all treaties before they could be enacted, even by executive order.

L. Opposing cities annexing by ordinance without the approval of the affected township residents.

M. That the federal government should be required to meet its obligations to store spent nuclear waste.

N. That any form of municipal government be prohibited in condemning a business or property through the process of eminent domain for the sole purpose of increasing tax revenues rather than the general public good or to take private property from one owner in order to favor another private entity.

O. Protecting shooting ranges that comply with safe standards of operation from arbitrary and unreasonable litigation and local regulation.

P. Compensating owners for property devaluation when government regulations or other governmental actions cause a decline in property values, and support reducing or restricting government ownership of our land to no more than 40%.

Q. That there be no net gain of land by the Minnesota DNR or nonprofit land trusts and that all conservation easements should be limited to a maximum of 21 years.

R. Opposing the Minnesota DNR’s ecosystem management approach to natural resource management, while supporting a return to traditional silviculture and wildlife management techniques.

S. Opposing any state or local adoption of a smoking ban on privately owned restaurants and bars.

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SECTION 8 – MAKING GOVERNMENT BETTER, NOT LARGER

Republicans want government to be honest, efficient and responsive to individual citizens. Therefore, we advocate:

A. Returning governmental functions from the federal level to state and local governments wherever possible, consistent with the intent of the Constitution. We believe that most government functions are carried out more efficiently and with greater accountability at the state and local level.

B. Reinstating a citizen legislature in Minnesota by holding legislative sessions in alternate years unless the Governor calls a special session.

C. Maintaining Minnesota’s two-house legislature, rather than adopting a unicameral system.

D. Adopting codes of conduct for all Minnesota elected officials that require resignation upon conviction of a felony or any crime involving dishonesty or moral turpitude.

E. Ending Congress’ practice of coercing state and local governments by withholding funds if states do not enact specified legislation, in all areas where the Constitution does not give the federal government jurisdiction.

F. Returning the Metropolitan Council to its original purposes of regional planning and support, while eliminating, privatizing, or returning to state and local governments all other Metropolitan Council functions.

G. Adopting an amendment to the U. S. Constitution prohibiting the desecration of the United States flag.

H. Reforming campaign finance laws so as to uphold all Americans’ rights to free speech by allowing American citizens to donate their time or money to political campaigns without limitation; requiring immediate and full disclosure of all sources of campaign funding.

I. Repealing the Bi-Partisan Campaign Reform Act (McCain-Feingold).

J. Allowing judicial candidates to take positions on issues relevant to their judicial responsibilities and to seek party endorsement.

K. Fair redistricting without gerrymandering and with Senate districts that do not cross Congressional district boundaries.

L. Reinstating the constitutional separation of powers and opposing legislation by executive order, judicial rulings, or un-elected regulatory agencies. We support the election and appointment of strict constructionist judges, who adhere to the principles expressed in the U.S. and Minnesota Constitutions.

M. Submitting to the people federal and state constitutional amendments establishing term limits for all elected officials.

N. Submitting to the people federal and state constitutional amendments for an effective recall procedure for all elected officials.

O. Adopting an initiative and referendum law that would allow the citizens of Minnesota to vote on important issues.

P. Making English the official language in Minnesota and the United States of America.

Q. The repeal of federal and state legislation that mandates wage rates on government contracts.

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R. Requiring that voters be registered at least 30 days prior to an election and requiring that voters present a valid picture ID before voting.

SECTION 9 – DEFENDING AMERICA AT HOME AND ABROAD

Republicans believe that peace is best maintained through a strong national defense. Therefore, we support:

A. Continuing to rebuild America’s military forces to ensure that they are well prepared, well armed, and adequate to protect our national security.

B. Reaffirming our commitment to free market economics, including free and fair international trade. We support maintaining commercial, cultural and diplomatic ties with a multitude of nations while promoting American industry and commerce. We support trade policies that will encourage nations to seek democracy, capitalism, and individual freedoms for their citizens.

C. Developing and deploying defense systems, including Strategic Missile Defense, to protect America from the dangers of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction.

D. Deploying American forces overseas only to further American interests or defend a faithful ally, and only under the command of American officers. The United States does not surrender its sovereignty to the United Nations or any other international organization.

E. Strengthening our borders against the threat of terrorism and stopping the flow of illegal immigrants, and deporting illegal aliens. We are against amnesty for illegal aliens. We oppose any program that will allow illegal aliens to remain in the United States.

F. Extension of the Patriot Act.

G. That illegal aliens shall not be issued state driver’s licenses, permits, or identification cards and that legal aliens shall not be issued these documents for a period beyond their admission authorization time.

H. The reduction of legal immigration to facilitate assimilation and requiring extensive background checks before issuing visas.

I. Reaffirming our support of and commitment to our active duty military members, Reserves, National Guard and veterans, including exempting active duty military personnel from paying state income tax, and supporting the naming of Interstate 94 as Veterans Memorial Highway. Minnesota law should recognize retired military persons as veterans.

J. An amendment to the Minnesota Constitution authorizing the payment of bonuses to veterans of the global war on terrorism.

K. Opposing the Law of the Seas Treaty (L.O.S.T.).

L. The right of commercial airline pilots to be armed.

M. Efforts to become less dependent on foreign oil including the development, promotion, and conservation of all available fuel sources such as opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling.

N. Foreign aid to be in the form of American goods, commodities, and services whenever possible.

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O. Ensuring that the United States does not surrender its sovereignty to the United Nations or any other international organization. This includes prohibiting the use of U.S. troops for purposes other than for protecting America’s national security.

P. Rescinding the permanent most favored nation status for China and urging its expulsion from the WTO until it ceases its abuse of human, civil, and religious rights, including its persecution of religious believers.

Q. The right of the State of Israel to exist and defend itself.

COMMENDATORY

In 2004, we celebrate the 150th anniversary of the founding of our Republican Party. Since its inception, our party has embraced core American principles and chosen extraordinary leaders. Those leaders like Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, and Ronald Reagan – not only embodied the very best in Republican values, but led America to new triumphs of peace, prosperity, achievement and spirituality. Today we are blessed with a new generation of American and Minnesota leaders who proudly carry on those Republican traditions.

Therefore:

A. We mourn the passing of one of America’s greatest leaders, President Ronald Reagan. President Reagan was a man of great and unabashed faith. He believed God had put this nation between these two oceans for a very specific purpose. And that purpose was to be a beacon of freedom at home and around the world. President Reagan’s optimism and values were an inspiration to all Americans. We will forever remember his confidence, his smile, his disarming wit, and the way he would lift people’s spirits with just a wink. We offer our condolences to his family and eternal gratitude for his vision and determination;

B. We commend President George W. Bush, whose principled leadership in time of war ensures that America at home is free and prosperous, and abroad remains the beacon of hope and freedom for the rest of the world;

C. Governor Tim Pawlenty, whose visionary, energetic leadership has set the course for hard- working Minnesotans to enjoy economic growth, better schools, and a richer quality of life for generations to come;

D. United States Senator Norm Coleman and United States Representatives Jim Ramstad, Gil Gutknecht, Mark Kennedy, and John Kline for their outstanding leadership and work in the Republican majorities in the United States Congress;

E. Lieutenant Governor Carol Molnau;

F. Secretary of State Mary Kiffmeyer;

G. State Auditor Patricia Anderson;

H. Speaker Steve Sviggum, Majority Leader Erik Paulsen, and the Republican majority in the Minnesota House of Representatives; and

I. Senate Minority Leader Dick Day and the growing Republican caucus in the Minnesota Senate.

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