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Legislative Update from Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Dear Neighbors,

Monday marked two weeks before the end of the 2021 legislative session with almost nothing resolved as the May 17th adjournment date looms. Senate Republicans and House Democrats have started the conference committee process. This process allows the two legislative majorities to work out the differences between their omnibus finance bills and reach agreement on legislation that can pass both bodies.

As the deadline grows closer, it's time for Democrats to drop their demands for billions in tax hikes on families and businesses. With a $4 billion surplus ($1.6 billion state surplus + $2.6 billion in federal money coming), we can put together a responsible, bipartisan budget that funds our priorities without raising taxes. 

Democrats in the House are pushing a partisan budget that includes radical policies and significant tax hikes that have zero chance of passing in the Senate. Conversely, the Senate Republicans have been able to garner bipartisan support for each of their budget bills all while raising zero taxes.

If we want to finish on time, Democrats need to drop their unreasonable demands and get serious about negotiating a budget agreement.

Ending the Emergency Powers

Last week, Governor Walz said that he expects the Minnesota State Fair will be “pretty close to normal” this year—the latest example of the COVID-19 emergency being over. 

Just this week, Florida lifted all remaining COVID restrictions, and Governors of Democrat states like New York and California have established target dates for the lifting of capacity limits and other COVID restrictions. Other deep-blue states like Connecticut lifted capacity limits starting as far back as March.

It is more than clear that the COVID “emergency” is over. House Republicans have voted more than a dozen times to end the peacetime emergency, and have put forward numerous proposals to end or modify the Governor's Chapter 12 powers, as well as proposals to establish timelines and metrics that would end the peacetime emergency. 

Democrats have refused to advance those proposals in the House, and have even stonewalled proposals from their own party to wind down the Governor's emergency powers.

Governor Walz needs to end the emergency powers and work with the legislature as a co-equal branch once again. The Governor should not use the Emergency Powers as an end-of-session bargaining chip — emergency powers are meant for emergencies, not to be used as political leverage. 

Staying in Touch

Please do not hesitate to reach out to me to share your thoughts, questions, and concerns as it relates to state government. I can be reached at 651-296-4229 or via email at rep.glenn.gruenhagen@house.mn.

Have a great day,

Glenn

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