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

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Legislative update

Friday, January 15, 2021

Dear Neighbor, 

Greetings from the House where, among other things, this week I authored a bill to eliminate the shotgun zone during the regular firearm season. An exception is made to allow local government units to prohibit the use of rifles on property under their jurisdiction during special deer hunts. 

This bill is one I also authored during the last biennium (H.F. 848) and, as I noted then, the objective of this bill is simply to allow people to add a few inches of barrel when they’re hunting. Rifles would increase ease of firearm use for youth compared with shotguns, something that is especially important as we look to entice younger generations of game enthusiasts. 

This also would benefit hunters by simplifying the rules, applying the same standards found elsewhere in our state to the southwest region. At last year’s annual meeting, the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association voted to support legislation that would remove the shotgun-only zone in Minnesota, based in large part on assurances from DNR Enforcement that this would not raise any safety concerns. The MDHA says it looks forward to supporting legislative efforts to remove the shotgun-only zone this year. 

I’m optimistic that, with broad support from the DNR and stakeholders such as them, we can achieve bipartisan support and get this common-sense bill to the finish line. Sen. Jeff Howe of Rockville is authoring the companion legislation and I look forward to working with him as well on this project. 

In other news, the state has launched a new online dashboard for citizens to track COVID-19 vaccine allocation, distribution, and administration in Minnesota. The new website is produced by Minnesota IT Services and the Minnesota Department of Health. The dashboard includes information on the number of doses allocated to the state by the federal government; shipped to Minnesota providers; and ultimately administered to Minnesotans. The dashboard will be updated at 11 a.m. daily. You can access the dashboard at this link

House Republicans once again this week made an effort to restore the Legislature as the third co-equal branch of government that it is by ending the governor’s emergency powers. We have spent the last 10 months under the executive branch’s unilateral mandates, with one person making decisions that all 134 legislators should be involved in as a voice for the people they represent. I will continue supporting bipartisan solutions to help us move past the emergency powers to make sure Minnesotans are duly represented as we work to safely reopen our state. 

Until next time, have a great weekend and let me know how I can help.