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LEGISLATIVE UPDATE FROM REP. STEVE DRAZKOWSKI - DISTRICT 21-B

Monday, March 29, 2021

Greetings, everyone. I wanted you to know about some of the news here in St. Paul.

Governor Walz and the Never Again Act

I have signed on as a co-author of HF 2204. This bill is known as the Never Again Act and is authored by Rep. Erik Mortensen. The concept behind this bill is simple. I do not believe that any governor should have the power to unilaterally change laws, restrict rights, or impose a totalitarian agenda on the people. The Never Again Act would prevent Governor Walz and any future governor from circumventing the Minnesota Legislature when an emergency is declared.

HF 2204 would strip the governor of the power to declare an emergency and give that authority to the Minnesota Legislature. Specifically, a two-thirds vote of both the Minnesota House of Representatives and the Minnesota Senate would be required to declare an emergency. After that emergency is declared, the governor would have the ability to take appropriate measures to address the situation.

The voice of the people should not be stifled. The current system allows Governor Walz to totally ignore elected legislators and the constitutional role of our state legislature. In Minnesota, we have now lived under Governor Walz’s unchecked rule for over a year. This is wrong. Total authority should not be given to one individual. The Never Again Act would restore the people’s voice in determining how emergencies should be handled.

Democrats and Tax Increases

Last week the Democrats in the Minnesota House of Representatives unveiled their plan for Minnesota’s state budget. In their proposal, the Democrats crafted a two-year budget that would total $52.5 billion. This budget proposal is larger than the budget proposals of both Governor Tim Walz and Senate Republicans. If enacted, the $52.5 billion biennial budget would be the largest budget in Minnesota history.

Despite a projected budget surplus of $1.6 billion and the federal government sending nearly $8 billion to Minnesota, Democrats want to prioritize more spending rather than helping businesses who have been devastated by the shutdowns of Governor Tim Walz. In my view, there should be no spending increases at all. We need to cut taxes to give businesses and individuals the help they need.

Historic spending requires raising taxes, and that is exactly what the Democrats plan to do. This is absolutely the wrong approach. Government has grown rich while working people have suffered, and the Democrats do not seem to care. I came to St. Paul to work on behalf of people, not government. The best way to help people right now is to get businesses open, cut taxes, and let people live their lives.

Government Mandates and Businesses

Last week the Minnesota House of Representatives voted on three bills that would be devastating to businesses in our state. The bills were HF 7, HF 39, and HF 403. I voted against all three of these bills.

HF 7 would require every business in Minnesota to provide paid sick leave to their employees. Even if you had a small business with just one employee, you would be forced to provide paid sick leave. HF 7 is nothing more than a sweeping government mandate that will harm businesses and increase unemployment.

The Democrats who supported this bill were clearly disdainful of business owners. Most of the Democrats’ arguments in support of this bill characterized business owners as cruel individuals who cannot wait to fire people. As a business owner myself, I know that such a characterization is totally inaccurate. We want the best for our employees. Moreover, we will always work hard to accommodate whatever needs our employees have. Democrats need to stop demonizing business owners and start helping Minnesotans get back to work. 

HF 39 would require shuttered hospitality businesses to rehire employees who were laid off due to the pandemic. This bill simply subjects businesses to more mandates after having to suffer a year of dictatorial mandates from Governor Walz.

When this pandemic began, the government told everyone who was allowed to work and who was not. This was entirely unconstitutional and wrong. Now, government is trying to do the same thing again. Government should not be dictating who should work or who should be hired. Business owners must have the right to hire who they want. Unfortunately, the Democrats do not care about the rights of business owners.

HF 403 would prevent businesses from inquiring about the past wages of a prospective employee.

For my full remarks on HF 403, please see the video below.

Rep. Steve Drazkowski - 3.29.21

As I said before, I voted against all three of these bills. Each was another attempt by Democrats to subvert the free market and perpetuate socialism. However, each bill was passed by the Minnesota House of Representatives. Nevertheless, these bills would need to pass the Minnesota Senate and be signed by the governor before they become law. Fortunately, the Minnesota Senate is controlled by Republicans who will not allow any of these bills to become law.

Steve Drazkowski

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