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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Steve Drazkowski (R)

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Saturday, March 21, 2020





New House Republican Caucus
Contact: Margaret Martín


[Winona, Prinsburg, Lake Crystal, MN and on the road]
The members of the New House Republican Caucus made the following statement:

In this fragile moment in our state’s constitutional republic, when the ordinary course of our representative form of government is suspended, we are ready to support whatever plans the Governor and his administration have to resolve the crisis.  However, we would like to make the following points:

Minnesotans don't expect the Governor’s “One Minnesota” to be this top-down model. It’s an expanded circle of all of the individuals and organizations that make Minnesota work. Government is a part of that circle, not its center.  We need communication between not just the four legislative leaders and the Governor and a few big Corporations.  We need contact and communication with small businesses, the legislature as a whole, which represents every part of the state, our counties, cities, and towns.  As a caucus, we call on the Governor to communicate by teleconference with the whole legislature, all members of the House and Senate, if he issues an Executive Order for the public to “stay at home.”  If such an order is given, we need to give confidence to the people of Minnesota that the concerns of the entire state are being heard and met. We have sent a letter to Governor Walz to that effect.

Imposing order from above is a costly proposition.  For every executive order that requires compliance on the part of the general public, there will be problems that could end up making the situation worse, not better.  In particular, Executive Order 20-10, which threatens businesses with “price gouging” may have the unintended consequence of creating an artificial scarcity of products when none need exist. We know we have a problem with hoarding and panic buying right now. Supply chains are strained, retailers can’t stock store shelves fast enough. As the costs of products go up, it should stem the tide of hoarding, but not if the government threatens businesses with dire consequences and price controls.  They will give up trying to meet demand.

Price gouging has its remedy in competition. If one actor is behaving this way, others will step in to provide it at a lower cost. Information about prices for consumers is probably the best it has ever been.  If people share that information with their less connected neighbors, there will be no need for heavy-handed government intervention, at a time when government resources are required elsewhere.

If we learned anything from the 9/11 events, it was that government systems will break down. Demanding that people adhere to systems that are obviously strained to the breaking point or broken defeats the goal of maintaining order and respect for the rule of law.  Instead, the government needs to recognize that our strength is in our people and in our decentralized form of government. Government needs to focus on its core missions and let local leaders and private citizens solve the problems they can solve without interference. They will need help and resources, but most of the time, they will need to be allowed to operate in freedom.  



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