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Gov. bypassing Legislature again, this time on car standards

Friday, January 22, 2021

 

By Rep. Steve Green, R-Fosston

Gov. Tim Walz is bypassing the Legislature to advance his own agenda.

This may sound familiar. 

While we have seen unilateral decisions become a pattern for the governor the last 10 months on issues related to COVID-19, steps are now being taken on his push to adopt California Car Standards in Minnesota. He is doing this through the administrative rule-making process, again circumventing the Legislature. 

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has scheduled a series of public information sessions on the subject and they already have begun. If the governor gets his way, he will be placing yet another burdensome mandate on our businesses (in this case auto dealers) and citizens. 

The concerns for bringing California’s auto standards to Minnesota are many. It will drive up prices and limit choices. Fewer vehicles that Minnesotans demand (especially trucks and SUVs) would be available. We will be the only state in the Midwest to cede its decisions on auto regulations to California bureaucrats 1,700 miles away ... another way our voice will be lost. 

Where will it stop? Will Walz and his administration then move on to semi-trucks, boats, lawnmowers, snow blowers, etc., that California regulates? This is simply the wrong approach for our governor to manipulate the market and force consumer choices at the expense of citizens and businesses. 

Prior to adopting the new rules, there is a public comment period. People can learn more or submit their comments at www.pca.state.mn.us. Additional public hearings will be held on Feb. 22-23. The comment period runs through March 15. 

Speaking of the governor’s unilateral actions, I have authored a bill that would provide Minnesotans with a say in whether a governor is able to extend a peacetime emergency in our state. The way the Minnesota Constitution reads, a governor is able to keep his emergency powers going so long as the Legislature doesn’t stop him. That is backward and my bill would turn it around by requiring legislative consent for a governor to gain an extension. 

Specifically, my bill (H.F. 101) asks voters “Shall the Minnesota Constitution be amended to limit the governor's emergency declaration to seven days prior to legislative approval?” 

I think we all agree there is a time and a place for a governor to declare a state of peacetime emergency. Gov. Walz may have been just in making that initial decision the better part of a year ago. But, as we have learned over the several months, there also needs to be a check to that power to ensure Minnesotans receive the representative system of government provided under our Constitution. 

The unilateral decisions the governor has continued to make the last number of months do not fall into the “emergency” category. They are deliberative and with reason … even if many of us disagree with the “reason.” 

The seven-day window for a declaration my bill provides allows the governor enough time to act in a true “emergency” and then call a special legislative session where 134 House members can participate in the decision-making process as voices of their constituents. It’s the way our Constitution was designed and it’s time to get back to that. 

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