Good afternoon and I hope you are enjoying this summer. While this technically is the legislative interim, special sessions have been keeping us extra busy lately. One took place in mid-June and another one currently is happening. In each case, Gov. Walz called a special session to extend his emergency powers by another 30 days – the maximum extension he can dictate while the Legislature is not in a regular session.
On Tuesday of this week, the second day of the current special session, House Republicans once again sought to end the executive powers the governor first enacted in mid-March. For a fifth time, House Democrats blocked such an effort. They apparently are content sitting on their hands and letting the governor make all the decisions on issues that not only impact us now and tomorrow, but for years and potentially generations to follow.
We are now looking at five straight months of one person shutting down our state, with literally no end in sight. When will this end? The serious question we need to ask House Democrats is whether they want 201 lawmakers in our Legislature making decisions, or would they rather just let one person call the shots. It is long past the time to restore balance in our representative system of government, but that will not happen as long as the House majority is unwilling to participate in the decision-making process.
I want to be clear that ending the governor’s power in no way, shape or form is a sign of taking the COVID-19 outbreak lightly. What we are simply looking for is a return to the Constitution and a return to the representative system of government Minnesotans deserve. I support efforts being led by House Republicans to end the emergency powers and put in place more limited tools for the governor to continue our response to COVID-19. We are working to put the governor and Legislature back on equal footing and ensures legislators have a voice in the process.
With the governor’s emergency powers now extended for another 30 days, several other items may be up for discussion when we resume the special session on Monday. This includes public safety reform, a bonding bill to fund projects throughout the state and tax relief – all of which remain unsettled at this point.
On a final note: We are reaching 60 days removed from the end of the regular 2020 session, meaning legislators are not permitted to send email newsletters such as this until after the November election. I will continue working on issues and representing the folks of 16A, it is just that email communications will be on an individual basis for the time being.
You also are invited to check out my official Facebook page, where I will continue to provide House news, notes and updates from time to time. In any case, please continue reaching out to me to let me know how I can help or to weigh in on whatever issues may be important to you.
Until next time, be safe, have a good summer and please remain in touch.