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

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Legislative update

Friday, January 22, 2021

Dear Neighbor,

Greetings as we near the end of another busy week in the 2021 session. Here is a look at some recent developments: 

Gov. Tim Walz is seeking to implement California’s mandatory auto-emission standards on vehicles sold in Minnesota through the administrative rule making process, The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has begun hosting public information sessions on the subject.

This is another example of Gov. Walz skirting the Legislature (sound familiar?) and deciding on his own that Minnesota should adopt the California mandatory auto emission standards.

It makes no sense whatsoever for Minnesota to make itself subject to California bureaucrats 1,700 miles away. This is an effort by the governor to bypass the Legislature and once again push a metro-centric agenda on all of Minnesota. Adopting California’s auto standards would drive up the cost of cars and limit access to the vehicles Minnesotans want, especially trucks and SUVs.

If the governor wants to encourage people to purchase electric vehicles, a better plan would be to increase demand by supporting policies to reduce consumer prices. It is the wrong approach for our governor to impose his will on Minnesota auto dealers and consumers and you can’t help but wonder what he and his administration will go after next. Now it’s cars, but next is it semi-trucks, tractors, fishing boats, lawnmowers or snowblowers?

In any case, he should be involving the Legislature in the decision-making process. This isn’t leadership, it’s catering to metro-based environmentalists at the expense of those of us in Greater Minnesota.

COVID-19 vaccine program 

The Minnesota Department of Health this week announced a new community COVID-19 vaccine program that partners with local public health and school districts at nine locations across the state – including a location in Marshall.

The pilot sites will initially serve adults aged 65 and older, Pre-K through Grade 12 teachers and school staff, and staff working at licensed and certified childcare programs. According the announcement, a "small number of doses" will be available at each site for eligible Minnesotans, and appointments can be made by phone or online only for Minnesotans 65-plus.

This program will be critical for delivering the vaccine to Minnesotans who want it in Southwest Minnesota. I am grateful that folks in our area won't have to travel hundreds of miles to get vaccinated. Targeting the vaccine to vulnerable Minnesotans and teachers is a crucial step to reopening our economy, getting our kids back in school, and protecting those who are most impacted by the disease.

Minnesotans age 65 and older can schedule an appointment by calling (612) 426-7230 or (833) 431-2053, or by visiting this link. Everyone must have an appointment; no walk-ins will be accepted, and this will be strictly enforced. No-show replacements will be filled from the waitlist only – not from people who just show up at a site. You can put yourself on the waitlist either through the call center or at the aforementioned website. There is a separate waitlist for each pilot site around Minnesota.

High demand caused the system to falter when the program launched earlier this week and I hope that problem has been corrected on the back end, so people have an easier time scheduling an appointment..

Have a good weekend and, as always, your correspondence is welcome.