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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Jeremy Munson (R)

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LEGISLATIVE UPDATE FROM REP. JEREMY MUNSON - DISTRICT 23-B

Friday, May 01, 2020

It is past time for elected members of the legislature to create the laws necessary to manage the crises and for government to get out of the way where it is not needed. This week has been strongly focused on getting the Legislature back to work on the job they were elected to do. Committees met remotely and we continue to push to end the Peacetime Emergency, in order to responsibly open Minnesota  - for our economy as well as our physical well-being.

I released a statement after the Governor's daily press briefing yesterday that extended the stay-at-home order until May 18th. You can read that here: GOVERNOR WALZ, IT IS TIME TO END THE DAMAGE!

 

End the Peacetime Emergency!

Vote on HC10

On Tuesday, once again, we brought forward a resolution to end the Governor's unilateral control over the pandemic response. The resolution brought forward this week had nearly identical language to the resolution I brought forward two weeks ago. This week there was a significant increase in members of the House who agree it is time for the Governor's Emergency Powers to end, and for legislators to return to the job of initiating state regulation.

Here is a portion of the statement the New House Republican Caucus released:
The time has come for Governor Walz to recognize the seriousness of our economic situation. Hundreds of thousands of Minnesota workers have filed for unemployment, businesses have permanently closed, and multi-generational farmers are on the brink of collapse. Small businesses are being threatened with extinction, not just on rural main streets, but urban areas too in vibrant immigrant communities. Closing our schools has made the achievement gap worse. We need to reopen the economy and let Minnesotans reclaim control of their lives. Instead, Democrats are making promises they can’t keep: loans and grants that they can’t sustain when state tax revenues have shrunk. Minnesota cannot spend its way out of this economic disaster with blank checks. The best way to get this economy moving again is to put people back to work. We will continue to push for this state to reopen, and we hope the people of Minnesota will make their voices heard by contacting their elected officials.

As we continue to deal with the fallout of the crisis CREATED by the government's response to the corona virus, continue to contact the Governor and tell him it is time to get the ball rolling again in Minnesota.

 

What We Are Learning From MDH

Walz laid out his COVID-19 testing plan, but there are many questions to answer. People’s freedom should not be based on submitting to a test. Requiring a test would violate people's freedoms in trade for a sense of false security.

During the HHS committee meeting this week, the Assistant Commissioner of the Department of Health acknowledged, testing does not guarantee any business or facility is free from the virus. He verified the inaccuracy of the tests, along with the short 2 to 3 day window when the tests can detect an infected person, in addition to, a percentage of human handling errors, currently results in 70% of infected people testing negative. This means few infected people will actually be identified.

He did not clarify if the results would be anonymously kept by the state.

MDH also recently started sharing the breakdown in COVID-19 fatalities by age. With 83% of deaths are in those over 70 years old, the majority of deaths taking place among those congregate care settings. There are zero deaths among those under 30 years old, and over 99% of the people who died had some other underlying health condition. Also, what they don't show you is where those fatalities happen:

fatalities by county

The data does not support this extent of stay-at-home orders. It is time we reopen Minnesota, and restore people’s freedoms to work and earn a living.

And in yet another overreach of government, I recently learned that on April 1st, the Department of Health required ALL hospitals to start reporting ALL Minnesotans entering and exiting an emergency room for care for any reason, and to also report when they enter or are discharged from a hospital for any reason. Included in this reporting, the hospitals must provide a list of required information on each patient.This data was previously considered private patient health data. Now it is owned and recorded by the government.

This is not only likely a breach of HIPAA regulations but most certainly violates our much stricter health privacy statutes here in Minnesota under the Health Records Act should any hospital actually comply. I sent a letter to the Commissioner asking her to provide an explanation of why patient consent is not required for patient disclosures. I am also troubled by the suggestion that such disclosures could be shared with law enforcement without patient consent or a warrant. You can read the full letter here: Munson letter to Commissioner Malcolm.

If the the Department of Health is allowed to continue to dismiss Minnesota state law pertaining to patient consent and data privacy, and claim the authority to access anyone’s data anywhere by stating a vague public health purpose, we will have created the framework to empower government agencies to act and do as they please.

 

Rural Minnesota Hit Hard

Most of us in greater Minnesota know how broken our economy has already become. By June, the unemployment in Minnesota is projected to be higher than the great depression, and many small businesses may never be able to reopen, or may not make it even if they try. Additionally, livestock and grain prices have fallen through the floor. 

Minnesota is the third largest pork-producing state in the nation. However, due to the temporary closing of pork processing plants, hog farmers are currently over-stocked with pigs and have no place to send them. As a result, 3,000 pigs were euthanized in Minnesota last week. If our agriculture economy remains shut down much longer, 200,000 pigs could be euthanized soon. This will result in major revenue losses for our farmers, a shortage of meat, and higher food prices. Governor Walz’ policies could put multi-generational farm families out of business entirely. The economic hardships imposed by Governor Walz must end, and all of Minnesota must be reopened.

Make Your Voice Heard

Livelihoods have been damaged or destroyed by this crisis, as has people's health. Many local clinics are closing and others are letting large numbers of workers go. At the same time, many people have not been allowed life saving treatments, screenings and checkups. Furthermore, suicide, depression, alcoholism and abuse are projected to keep increasing. We need to let the Governor know that he should be working for us, not against us.

Contacting the governor’s office and sharing your thoughts is a great way to show your support for reopening Minnesota. Governor Walz needs to know our economy, jobs, freedoms, and non-COVID health concerns matter. The governor’s office can be reached at this phone number: (651) 201-3400

Otherwise, information on how to write Governor Walz a letter or send him an email can be found here: https://mn.gov/governor/contact/  

I hope you share your support for putting Minnesota back to work.

 

munsonsig

Jeremy Munson
State Representative, 23B

 


 

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.

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