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Legislative Update (1-15-21)

Friday, January 15, 2021

Dear Neighbor,

We’re wrapping up the second week of the legislative session and I want to circle back to something I addressed regarding the governor’s emergency powers in my most recent newsletter.

House Democrats had been planning to change the House rules to require not a simple majority, but a super majority to end the governor’s rule. This would have further insulated the governor’s unilateral powers in light of Republicans gaining more seats in the House and narrowing the Democrat majority. Such a change would have silenced your voice for a minimum of two more years.

I was among House Republicans who really dug in and were outspoken about this proposal and the Democrats abandoned their plan and the simple-majority threshold remains in place.

While that is good news, there is more to the story. House Republicans made a move on Monday to end the governor’s emergency powers that he has held over Minnesotans the last 10 months, the longest in state history. But all House Democrats in the majority voted against that effort and prevented a full debate and vote on the issue from taking place. This includes a number of Democrats who previously had voted with Republicans to take up a vote on the emergency powers flip-flopping and blocking the vote.

The upshot is we maintained a lesser threshold to end the governor’s powers, but Democrats who voted in support of such a move now have switched to make this a party-line vote in favor of the majority. Stay tuned for more on this subject as the session unfolds.

In other news, a new state website that is available for anyone who, for any number of purposes, may want to track Minnesota’s COVID-19 vaccination rollout. Minnesota has been slow to go compared with many other states in terms of administering vaccinations and this website 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 was produced by the Minnesota IT Services and the Minnesota Department of Health and will be updated at 11 a.m. daily. You can access the dashboard at this link.

On a final note, I continue working on bills I am authoring this session. Look for more details on those in upcoming emails. Until next time, please stay in touch and let me know how I can help.

-Steve

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