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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

Sunday, June 07, 2020

Due to the statewide shutdown orders, Minnesota is facing many questions and challenges. These questions and challenges were exponentially made more difficult by the events of the past two weeks. George Floyd's death at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer justifiably caused outrage across the country. Some people chose to peacefully protest in an effort to make their community and state better. Unfortunately, others, used the situation to benefit themselves and cause chaos through riots, looting, destruction of property and violence.

Exposing Weaknesses

What both the peaceful protests and the riots exposed was a failure of leadership, at many levels. Failure to  immediately respond in an appropriate manner and with the appropriate enforcement numbers, unleashed opportunistic and vicious elements onto the streets. It left innocent residents at the mercy of violence and destruction for days with no protection by 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 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 would or could not, 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, Minnesota is still reeling from the economic and social effects caused by the executive orders. We should fully open the state now and try to mitigate additional damage to our communities and state. The facts and evidence do not support the shutdown.

My colleagues and I filed a lawsuit, along with numerous businesses, challenging the Governor's authority to unilaterally declare a peacetime emergency based on public health situation and write laws without legislative oversight or judicial review for an indefinite period of time. 

The suspension of our constitutional rights should alarm every Minnesotan. Constitutional rights are not conditional permissions handed down to the people by government officials and they do not go away in times of war or emergency. 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. 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.We have three branches of government specifically to stop the consolidation of power.

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 is why the law does not specify a health emergency as a reason for calling a peacetime emergency. In fact, prior to the Governor calling the peacetime emergency, legislation was introduced to amend the law and add a health emergency as a reason. This bill failed in the House, but the Governor went ahead and called a peacetime emergency anyways.

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 make their own business decisions and find innovative ways to make their customers feel safe. Individuals do not need to be micro managed. We do not need to be told how many friends we may invite to our homes, or where we can travel, or what we must wear. We do not need to be told how, when and where we can worship, and we certainly do not need to be told if our jobs and businesses are essential.

We had hoped for a decision on our lawsuit by June 12th, however, Attorney General Keith Ellison filed a motion for extension. The hearing is now set for July 16th. If suscessful, this lawsuit will end the peacetime emergency and executive orders, allowing the elected body at the legislature to write any neccessary laws. More importantly, if suscessful, this lawsuit will ensure the balance of power, so no Governor will be able to expand his powers and unilaterly declare a peacetime emergency again and give him/herself the power to unilaterly write laws for an indefinate period of time without legislative oversight.

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.
  • The Governor has indicated his request for hundreds of millions of dollars in economic relief to rebuild the homes, buildings, and businesses which we all watched burn to the ground by violent looters and rioters. One of the buildings was a brand new, six story, low-income housing project which was turned to ash.
  • Additionally, there will be continued discussion of a bonding bill, and the pandemic response that crippled the state. The financial forecast for our State indicates we need to cut billions from our budget to live within our means.

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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