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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Chris Swedzinski (R)

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Legislative update

Friday, January 8, 2021

Dear Neighbor,

It feels good to be back at it with the Minnesota House of Representatives being sworn into office Tuesday at the Capitol.

It’s an honor to represent the good people of Southwest Minnesota and return common sense and our rural values to St. Paul. I’ll continue working hard to represent interests of agriculture, small business and families across the state and, again, it’s a great honor to be sworn in as a member of the Minnesota House.

In other news, Gov. Tim Walz announced Wednesday he is loosening some restrictions he has imposed on the state, including allowing indoor dining at bars and restaurants, up to 50-percent capacity or a maximum of 150 people. Other changes were made to expand capacity for gyms and to allow indoor events and entertainment facilities such as bowling alleys and movie theaters to re-open at 25 percent.

Also, youth sports resumed practice on Monday and games may resume Jan.14 with spectators allowed, following the appropriate capacity limits for indoor or outdoor venues. Churches remain open at 50 percent capacity, but without a cap on the maximum.

It’s a small step by the governor but it’s not enough. The fact is, the governor still is cutting business in half for businesses such as bars and restaurants that already operate on tight margins. It’s just another example of why it’s a bad idea to have one person calling all the shots instead of 134 legislators being involved in the decision-making process.

We are back in session now and there’s no excuse for the governor to be making all the decisions as he has done for the better part of a year. For example, the governor’s mask mandate on some athletes is arbitrary and inconsistent at best. Our state should follow guidance provided by Center of Disease Control, the World Health Organization, and other leading research institutions which agree that face coverings during youth sporting events pose a potential health risk to participants and may cause more harm than the intended good.

The World Health Organization states “children should not wear a mask when playing sports or doing physical activity, such as running, jumping or playing on the playground so that it doesn’t compromise their breathing” and that “people engaged in high intensity training activities, like running, may not be able to wear a mask if it causes difficulty breathing.”

I’ve heard the governor say numerous times that we should listen to the experts, so let’s do that.

In any case, we need to return to our representative style of government where citizens have a voice through their local legislators instead of having one person rule our state.

Look for more news and notes from the Capitol as the 2021 session unfolds and, as always, I welcome your feedback.