This Monday, the legislature convened for the first special session of 2021 to pass a budget for the next biennium. Constitutionally, this special session was mandated to allow the legislature to vote to end the Governor's peacetime emergency. The vote failed in the House, with only one Democrat voting with us to end the emergency. This marks the 15th month that the Governor will maintain unilateral lawmaking authority. This begs the question: what is the emergency? COVID cases have steadily declined over the past four weeks. We have had less than 200 new cases per day for the past two weeks. Our mortality rate has also plummeted. So why does the Governor need the authority to unilaterally act and create executive orders with the full force of law?
The science is clear we have defeated the pandemic. With 65% of all Minnesotans vaccinated, we have surpassed herd immunity. What Walz is using to justify his “emergency” is political science. He wants to hold onto his newfound powers because he doesn’t need the permission of the legislature. This is a gross abuse of the separation of powers that exist to protect our constitutional rights and our inherited god-given rights. With one man in charge, we have no protection from a tyrannical leader. Walz has locked mothers, business owners, and veterans in jail because they disagreed with him, and his political science. This is the mark of a tyrant, clear as day, yet Republicans continue to allow the Governor to maintain his emergency powers.
We need substantial reform to our chapter 12 laws, which grant the Governor his authority to give himself emergency powers. I am an author of HF 28, the Never Again Bill to do just that. This bill changes every aspect of emergency declarations and gets rid of the ability for current and future governors to rule unilaterally through peacetime emergency powers. Minnesotans have suffered through almost 500 days of emergency powers, and we need to ensure that this can never happen again.
- HF 28 protects citizens’ rights, even in an emergency.
- HF 28 guarantees that the Governor’s executive orders do NOT have the force and effect of law, and he will no longer have the ability to fine or jail anyone.
- HF 28 only allows the Governor to declare an emergency for five days. This allows for the Governor to call out the National Guard for things like rioting or tornadoes. It then requires both bodies of the legislature to approve any extension over that.
- HF 28 allows the legislature to set the time frame of an emergency, with the ability to terminate it at any time. The governor no longer has the power to initiate extensions.
- Chapter 144 will govern future public health emergencies, including checks and balances from all three branches of government, preventing one branch from abusing its authority.
Under current law, if the legislature were to end the peacetime emergency today, the Governor would still have the power to call another emergency tomorrow, starting the process all over again. This is why we need to pass Chapter 12 reform. We need to guarantee that this is never able to happen again.
Protecting the Second Amendment
This week medical marijuana was back in the spotlight. In May, House Democrats voted for my legislation expanding gun rights for medical cannabis patients, but the Senate did not take up the legislation. It is crucial to protect gun rights for medical patients as the Senate and House voted to significantly expand this program, creating tens or hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans who will lose their gun rights unless we act.
Three years ago I learned about my colleague, Rep. Rod Hamilton’s situation where he lost his second amendment rights simply for being on the medical registry for a qualifying medical condition. Within two weeks of being added to that list, his sheriff sent a letter saying his permit to carry was revoke. He has never filled or received a prescription while on the medical marijuana program registry.
This is why I submitted HF 29 this year. This bill addresses gun rights for legal cannabis users. Currently, individuals who are enrolled as patients in the medical cannabis registry are denied their second amendment rights. The Star Tribune covered the issue on the front page of their paper this week. HF 29 ensures that we stop denying the right to own guns to people who choose cannabis instead of opiates or other medication.
You can watch my comments from the press conference HERE.