Sen. Carlson worked for over a decade toward banning cell phone use while driving, and in 2019 the bill finally made it past the finish line. After agreeing to a change of author in order for the Senate GOP to pass it, SF 204 became law and prohibited the handheld use of cell phones while driving.
2020 was an eventful session for many reasons but the area of State Government and Elections was particularly busy. Not only is 2020 a Census year, there was also a presidential nominating primary, urgently needed cyber-security improvements, and the challenge of ensuring people could safely and securely vote during COVID-19.
During the presidential nominating primary concerns were raised that partisan voter data would be accessible to the major political parties. Sen. Carlson was vocal in opposition and authored SF 3567, which would strictly regulate political party access to voter data. Unfortunately, the GOP chair of State Government and Elections refused to hear the bill or take any action to protect this data.
Sen. Carlson was also author of a variety of bills relating to supporting and improving our Census count. To date, Minnesota is leading the country in our Census response, helping to ensure we retain our congressional representation and access to federal dollars.
Sen. Carlson was highly instrumental in ensuring a safe election during the COVID-19 crisis. He worked closely with the House and Secretary of State in crafting a bill to expand absentee ballot access, timelines for applications, safety of polling places, and protection for election judges. The eventual bill also released HAVA funding to improve cyber-security. Despite taking the lead on the issue, in order for the Senate majority to agree to a floor vote, Sen. Kiffmeyer became the chief and only author of the bill, which passed overwhelmingly.
Prior to 2020, Senator Carlson took the lead on a variety of other bills to fight voter suppression and expand people’s ability to vote. These included pre-registration for 16 and 17 year olds, expanding the ability for small municipalities to utilize mail balloting, strengthening campaign finance and public disclosure regulations, improving community outreach for the state demographer’s office and census plan, and creating additional short-term polling place locations for absentee balloting.
During the COVID-19 crisis, Senator Carlson recognized the importance of a robust bonding bill to help get people back to work in quality jobs that would improve our state’s infrastructure. He was the chief author of the Diffley Road school area safety improvement project which has been a major priority of families and neighbors in the school district. He also was chief author of other bonding requests for Dakota County, including a new household hazardous waste facility, Eagan fire department aid, and bills to address environmental concerns at the Burnsville landfill.
Senator Carlson will continue to work for you by fighting for equal access to voting rights, creating quality jobs to provide economic opportunity for all, protecting our environment, and much more.
PREPARED AND PAID FOR BY FRIENDS OF JIM CARLSON 1247 CARLSON LAKE LANE, EAGAN, MN