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Sen. Newman: Another "What the Hell?" Moment

Category: GOP Politics
Posted: 04/12/11 15:06

by Dave Mindeman

Hey, remember Sen. Scott Newman (R) Hutchinson? You know the guy who wouldn't talk to the nurses association because they weren't "supporters"? The guy who blamed his staffer when he got called on it? Yeah, that guy.

Well, he's getting all weird on us again.

This time he has proposed a bill that would eliminate state funds to "non-profits". Here is the essence of the bill he authors:

"No person, corporation or entity doing business as a nonprofit entity shall receive public funding to provide goods or services if the same or similar goods or services can be provided by a state agency or a private for-profit business entity."

Except that a lot of hospitals are non-profit entities. The non-profit community is scratching their heads about this one....literally.

But his idea has got others talking. One lawyer for nonprofits told me the bill, if enacted into law, would shut down hospitals all over the state. "It's so terribly broad. You can certainly read it [that it] would close down every non-profit hospital in the state,'' volunteers Tom Johnson, an attorney with Gray Plant Mooty who represents nonprofits.

Another voice....

Just as puzzled, but perhaps more diplomatic, is Susie Brown, public policy director for the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits. "We're very interested in learning what the problem is he is trying to resolve with this piece of legislation,'' she admits. She, too, is reaching out to talk with Newman about his bill.

But guess what. Senator Newman isn't talking. In fact, nobody can get an explanation anywhere. What is this guy doing?

The reporter doing the story tried diligently to find out what was going on. Newman was nowhere to be found.....

I asked for five minutes of his time. His staff said Thursday his day was heavily scheduled. They told me Friday he had headed home to meet with his constituents.

Does he have a cell phone, I asked.

He's been given the message you called, I was told, and was referred to the Republican media contact.

By Friday, Chris Van Guilder, the media's conduit to GOP senators, called back to say he had "not been able to contact or hear back from Senator Newman.''

"I'll let you know as soon as I know more,'' Van Guilder told me in a voice messge.

Haven't heard back.

My guess is he's looking for another staffer to blame.
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