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

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Legislative update

Friday, April 8, 2022

Dear Neighbor,

Greetings from the House, where the Legislature is wrapping up another busy week in the 2022 session before taking a brief break to observe the Easter/Passover holidays. Here are some notes regarding recent developments at the Capitol:

Avian flu emergency funding

The House and Senate both approved legislation this week providing $1 million to address the avian influenza outbreak in our state.

Avian influenza recently emerged in Minnesota, presenting a threat to our state’s poultry flocks. The hope is advancements made on this subject in recent years can help us avoid suffering a setback as large as 2015, when nine million birds in Minnesota were killed by the avian flu or euthanized to slow its spread.

We will keep an eye on this issue and see if further action may be warranted. In the meantime, please remember poultry remains safe for human consumption so there’s no reason to exclude it from your diet.

Where’s public safety?

Public safety is our state government’s No. 1 obligation to the people of Minnesota. That’s what makes the House Democrats’ refusal to take the historic wave of violent crime in our state seriously such a problem.

House Republicans are working to curb the rampant lawlessness that has been occurring. We put forth a package of bills earlier this session that provide common-sense solutions to help keep Minnesotans and our visitors safe by holding criminals responsible for their actions, helping recruit and retain peace officers, and providing transparency to decisions made on charges and sentencing.

Unfortunately, House Democrats have chosen to not conduct hearings for our bills. Meanwhile, the DFL’s solution seems to center on giving more money to violence-interrupters and growing the state government bureaucracy by tens of millions of dollars while adding dozens of new full-time employees in St. Paul.

Here’s what might be the most perplexing and revealing of dysfunction in the House majority: In addition to the public safety package House Republicans are offering, a handful of Democrat-authored bills were introduced to address violent crimes and issues related to recruiting and retaining law enforcement officers. But, once again, the House Democrats would not even conduct hearings for bills fellow Democrats have authored on this subject.

The 2022 session almost has reached the home stretch, leaving precious little time to take appropriate action in the House. Meanwhile, Senate Republicans have been moving a public safety bill which features many of the initiatives House Republicans support, including criminalizing the offense of carjacking, increasing penalties for violent crimes by repeat offenders and heightening transparency when prosecutors dismiss charges on a case.

Public safety is too important to continue playing political games. Lives of Minnesotans literally are at stake. I urge the House majority to get serious about passing a package that reduces crime for the sake of law-abiding citizens throughout our state.

No news on unnecessary tax increase

There are no new developments to report after House Democrat inaction caused Minnesota employers to suffer a significant increase on their unemployment insurance rates. We can correct this injustice if the House simply were to pass legislation the Senate approved a month and a half ago with a veto-proof majority. But, so far, the House majority has not allowed this bill to come to the floor for a vote.

Until next time, your input always is welcome.