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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Cal Bahr (R)

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LEGISLATIVE UPDATE FROM REP. CAL BAHR - DISTRICT 31-B

Monday, June 08, 2020

The last couple weeks in Minnesota have been made exponentially more difficult than what we have already been facing over the last few months of pandemic response. The weight of grief and tragedy has effected us all.

Failure of Leadership

First, what started as a tragic and unwarranted death of George Floyd at the hands of members of the Minneapolis Police Department exploded into rage and rioting in cities all over the country, not just here in Minnesota. What both the peaceful protests and the riots expose is a failure of leadership, at EVERY level. Failure to respond immediately and appropriately unleashed opportunistic and vicious elements onto the streets. It left innocent residents at the mercy of anger and violent retaliation for days with no protection from the authorities sworn to do so.

I've heard many powerful stories about the importance of protecting one's family, friends and community during the riots. Neighbors joined together to seek out interlopers and to keep those bent on destruction out of their communities. While commendable, this is something that most of these residents were ill-prepared to undertake because they believed that local authorities would arrive to save the day in their time of need. The fact that they may not be able to was never a consideration - until now. There will be many reforms to our laws and government policies as a result of the riots. These events have exposed many weaknesses in the system from top to bottom. 

Lawsuit Against Gov. Walz

The most recent challenges of leadership aside, Minnesotans are still reeling from the iron-fisted response that closed up shop for the majority of the state. My colleagues and I have filed a lawsuit against Governor Walz regarding his use of executive orders under the peacetime emergency declaration. Specifically, the lawsuit contends that the statute giving the governor the authority to declare a peacetime emergency, is in violation of the state constitution.

Governor Walz’s suspension of our constitutional rights should alarm every Minnesotan. Constitutional rights are not conditional permissions handed down to the people by government officials. No individual, including Governor Walz, is allowed to suspend our God-given rights.

Attorney Erick Kaardal of Mohrman, Kaardal & Erickson is representing the New House Republicans in our lawsuit. We are joined by scores of individual business owners.  Mr. Kaardal has represented many clients in cases involving individual liberty and government overreach.

Governor Walz bypassed the legislative process and the Constitutional checks and balances provided by our three branches of government when he unilaterally declared a peacetime emergency and gave himself the power to write laws for an indefinite period of time, without judicial oversight.

Peacetime emergency declarations were designed to address immediate crises which require specific, swift action such as a flood or tornado. By contrast, a public health crisis will last for an indefinite amount of time and the Governor’s executive orders have covered a broad scope of action. This authoritarian chapter in Minnesota history should never be allowed to happen again.

The suspension of our constitutional rights destroyed our state. The numbers show that Minnesota has higher rates of unemployment and deaths-per-million from COVID-19 than free states. Businesses should be allowed to operate as they see fit, individuals should be allowed to travel where they want, and government should not be penalizing people for trying to survive.

The Minnesota Legislature needs to regain its constitutional authority. Unfortunately, a majority of legislators in the Minnesota House of Representatives are happy to sit back and let the governor usurp unbelievable power that he is not constitutionally authorized to possess. In giving Governor Walz unchecked power, these legislators are complicit in the governor’s tyrannical rampage. We have launched this
lawsuit to end the tyranny of Governor Walz and restore our constitutional rights.

Click here for more information about the lawsuit: New House GOP Lawsuit on Emergency Powers

Coming Up This Week

  • Short of ending the peacetime emergency, the MN Legislature will reconvene June 12th for a special session. The Democrat majority in the house will be building an omnibus bill which is likely to include significant reforms to local policing policy. I am open to listening to new solutions, but the legislature should not support disbanding the Minneapolis Police Department and replacing it with a group of unarmed outreach specialists or 'community ambassadors' as was their solution to persistent violence on the light rail trains. No doubt we will be considering several forms of criminal justice reform.
  • Additionally, there will be continued discussion of a bonding bill, the pandemic response that has crippled the state and other items left unaddressed before the regular session ended in May.

CalSig

Cal Bahr
State Representative, 31B

Contact:

If you have any questions regarding COVID-19, please don’t hesitate to contact me or my office. We are still attempting to provide regular contact remotely so if you have other needs, please email my Legislative Assistant, Barbara, at barbara.smith@house.mn.

Watch the Minnesota House on Public TV

Video: Streaming Website. Also you can watch committees and Floor Sessions on YouTube.

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