April 12, 2011; Source: MinnPost.com | Apparently Minnesota state senator Scott Newman does not have a high opinion of the state’s nonprofits because he recently filed a bill, titled, “Grants to Nonprofits Prohibited in Certain Situations”. The bill proposes that “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.”

In other words, he would like to see nonprofits funded with state money only as a last resort, if no other type of organization is available to do the work.

One attorney points out in the MinnPost article that the legislation, if enacted, would shut down nonprofit hospitals statewide. But of course the situation is more far reaching than that.

The Minnesota Council of Nonprofits is on top of the situation, but at the time this story was filed did not know what had incited the bill. “We’re very interested in learning what the problem is he is trying to resolve with this piece of legislation,” says the temperate Susie Brown, public policy director for the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits.

The bill is absurd on its face but the attitude it reflects is troubling.—Ruth McCambridge