ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) – Gov. Mark Dayton is making a major push to clean up Minnesota’s law books, calling it the “Unsession.”
He wants to eliminate archaic laws and simplify the way state government does business.
On Tuesday, the governor made public 1,000 ideas for simplifying government, including repealing laws his team of commissioners called “ridiculous,” “incomprehensible” and “just plain silly.”
The governor’s office cited numerous laws it said had outlived their usefulness, including:
— Since 1937, it’s been illegal in Minnesota to drive a car in neutral.
— Laws regulating the 19th century telegraph industry.
— Fruit crimes: It’s a misdemeanor to carry fruit in an illegally sized container.
And don’t even get started on wild boar laws…
“If a wild boar escapes in the cities of Minneapolis or St. Paul,” said Iron Range Resources Director Tony Sertich, who headed up the Unsession commission, “the Commissioner of Agriculture himself has to go out and capture that wild boar.”
Dayton is asking lawmakers to repeal hundreds of outdated statutes that litter the law books, and to simplify government websites.
One example, is the Department of Natural Resources website, Sertich said.
What used to take 11 clicks at the DNR site to reserve a campsite now takes only two clicks.
“A lot of times, we’re making last minute trip decisions,” said Sarah Hammon of Minneapolis. “And we can do that on our phone on the go, which before we couldn’t.”
Dayton has said he based his idea for an Unsession on the 1980s un-cola 7-Up commercials. And he issued an executive order extending simplicity to state workers, directing them to write memos in plain language.
Republicans seized on the idea, calling for the Unsession to un-do tax hikes and wasteful spending.
“I think what we need to un-do are some of the bad decisions of the DFL control in Minnesota,” said Rep. Nick Zerwas (R-Elk River).
The Dayton administration says regular Minnesotans submitted many of the ideas for the Unsession, comparing it to a government “spring cleaning”.
“So that is really what we see this Unsesion as — looking top to bottom, cracking open the law books and seeing every way shape or form those things that are no longer needed,” Sertich said.