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

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Legislative update

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Dear Neighbor,

Greetings as we make our way through another week in the 2021 session. Here is a rundown of the latest headlines from the Capitol:

One year of emergency powers

Saturday brings us to one full year the governor has kept his emergency powers over Minnesotans in place. At the same time, COVID-19 vaccinations are up, infection rates are down and states all around the nation are making moves toward more fully re-opening.

One report shows our state is in the bottom 10 nationally in terms of re-opening. By contrast, three of our neighboring states are in the top 10 most “re-opened” and another - Wisconsin - is in the middle. This ranking is based on a daily rating of 11 categories combined to achieve a score. While I cannot vouch for the methodology used or for the rankings themselves, this report does include some interesting information and certainly highlights the differences among states in their approach to re-opening.

This week, House Republicans once again made calls for at least some loosening of restrictions on restaurants and sports and entertainment venues. Other states around the country, including many run by Democrats, have begun loosening restrictions and it is time for Minnesota to act as well.

What is the plan for our state? House Republicans have offered a blueprint for re-opening, but the governor and the House majority have so far been unwilling to engage in serious discussions.

The governor likes to say “follow the data” so let’s do that, let’s end the governor’s emergency powers and restore the Legislature as the co-equal branch of government that it is. Every day we sit on our hands is another day our businesses and families could be working to recover from the restrictions the governor has placed upon them over the last year.

Vaccine timeline accelerated

We recently received reports showing the state’s distribution of COVID-19 vaccines is exceeding previous projections, with around 70 percent of seniors having received shots. The Minnesota Department of Health indicates it moved up the eligibility timeline to now include more people with specific underlying health conditions, along with food processing workers and those with rare conditions or disabilities that put them at a higher risk. This development is another reason our state should take real steps toward re-opening.

Last call on Calif. Cars comments

The deadline to submit public comments on Gov. Walz's California Car Mandate is 4:30 p.m. this Monday.

The governor is seeking to implement this policy through administrative rule rather than the legislature. If enacted, the California Car Mandate would raise the cost of all new vehicles for Minnesota families by $1,000 or more, reduce consumer choice, and make MN the only state in the Midwest to place burdensome regulations on auto dealerships.

Let your voice be heard on this very important issue. Submit your comments here.

Butcher Bill update

In a recent letter I mentioned I have authored a bill that helps butcher shops grow their businesses and meet surging demand for local meat products by providing tax exemptions for capital investments local butchers make in their business. This bill (H.F. 1591) received a positive committee hearing in Taxes and remains viable for passage as part of an omnibus package this session.