We’ve pulled together most of Representative Franson’s statements in the two committees she serves on that deal with welfare and other programs for the poor so you can watch and decide.
Her style can sometimes be confrontational, even drawing a polite warning from the chair of the committee who also happens to be a Republican.
At top, Representative Franson questions Ebony Harris about Electronic Benefit Cards on February 22, 2012. Republican authored legislation would criminalize possession of two active EBT cards. Despite Harris introducing herself by her first and last name, Representative Franson refers to her as “Ebony” or “Miss Ebony.” Harris tells her about the additional humiliation that the welfare bill will bring to poor people.
Rep. Mary Franson: Ebony?
Ebony Harris: Yes
Franson: Thank you very much for your heartfelt… I’m just questioning… I do believe you said that right now that this is not an issue. Correct? Carrying multiple cards?
Harris: Yes I did. I don’t know anybody or have not ever heard of anything. I haven’t seen anything in the media or anything about people carrying more than one EBT card. If that’s that thread. You’re talking about EBT cards?
Harris: OK No. ’cause if you have two cards one of those cards might be active … not active… ’cause in order to… you can’t … that’s why I don’t understand because you can’t have more than one card ’cause if I have my EBT card and I have another one, that one has to be deactivated before I can use that one. So I don’t understand why that’s an issue.
Franson: Miss Ebony and thank you for that answer I think that what this bill is getting at the protection of the taxpayer dollars and right now you’re saying that this is not an issue on people carrying multiple cards. So if it’s not an issue, and this bill passes, what changes?”
Harris: Well what changes is … it’s just more criminalizing and humiliation for people like me. You say something about tax dollars, about taxpayers, not once has anybody mentioned that working class people and poor people working for less than livable wage, they’re taxpayers too. And it seems like that is what’s getting lost in the conversation here
Franson: And Miss Ebony I empathize with livable wage, I have a part-time second job that pays $8.56 an hour so I can empathize with the low wages here. You know, the, the issue just here is that we just are looking at protecting, you know you’re not supposed to carry two active EBT cards. So this is not an issue currently, you’re saying people do not carry this, correct?
Franson: OK, so then passing this bill should not be an issue if its not an issue already.
Harris: No it shouldn’t. But however, for people who are even applying, it’s a tedious process and it’s very humiliating. It’s very stressful. It’s demeaning, period. And you talk about people that are taxpayers, again you’re not thinking about people who are poor, that are working that are taxpayers too. Bottom line, if this bill , like I said if this bill passes, we will all be sorry.
Below: Representative Franson sharply questions the health care exchanges that can now be set up under new federal health care laws. She says the government doesn’t create health care marketplaces, but destroys them. (February 15, 2012)
She quotes extensively from a paper in front of her, which turns out to be a draft of an article she was writing. She published it about two weeks later on facebook The article is titled “Why Minnesota Should NOT inact (sic) a Health Insurance Exchange…the Lynchpin of Obama Care”.
Below: Representative Franson at a joint House and Senate Health and Human Services committee hearing where she questions Minnesota Health and Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jessen . (February 14, 2012)
Below: Representative Franson at a House Health And Human Services Reform meeting (February 8, 2012) where she asks a professor doing research on health insurance “Why would you think that 18 people could make such decisions for the rest of us no matter how long you met and how much research you did and how many public forums you held?”
The professor replies: “We were not telling HHS want to do. We were not giving advice on specific services we were trying to create a framework for them think through what’s important here.”
Below:Representative Franson at a House Health and Human Services meeting (January 31, 2012). She talks about her experience as a child care provider and argues against unionization for child care workers.
Please note. This is all of the video we have of Representative Franson in the Health and Human Services committees this legislative session. We’ve only edited out the parts of the discussion in these meetings that Representative Franson did not comment or ask questions in. Full videos of these meetings can be found at the Minnesota House website for the Health and Human Services Reform Committee and the Health and Human Services Finance Committee.