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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Eric Lucero (R)

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Second Lawsuit Filed

Friday, April 24, 2020

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

As I type this, it is 65 and sunny. Unfortunately, it appears precipitation is expected much of this coming weekend. Here is a rundown of some key legislative notes from this week:

UIMN

DEED has started distributing Pandemic Unemployment Assistance payments to people who have traditionally been ineligible for Unemployment Insurance (UI) including self-employed individuals and independent contractors. If you have already applied for UI, you don't need to take any further action. If you haven't already, please visit UIMN.org for instructions.

RELIEF FOR SELF-EMPLOYED AND INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) announced today the agency has begun making Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) payments to people who are self-employed, independent contractors, and other eligible recipients who are not eligible for regular unemployment benefits. PUA is a new program that was authorized by Congress in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) and signed into law on March 27, 2020.

The below bullet points were released by DEED pertaining to what Minnesotans need to know about applying for PUA:

  • If you have already applied for regular unemployment benefits, you do not need to do anything extra to qualify for PUA. DEED will automatically establish a PUA benefit account for you if you are eligible.
  • If you have not applied for unemployment benefits yet, special instructions for self-employed and 1099 workers are available here. These instructions include steps you can take to make your account easily identifiable as potentially eligible for PUA.
  • If you applied for unemployment benefits without following those instructions, don’t worry – you don’t need to change anything. Your account will still be reviewed for PUA eligibility.
  • If you have not heard from DEED yet, don’t worry. We expect to be in touch with most people who are eligible for benefits under PUA by the end of April. There is no need to call or follow-up; you will hear from us proactively if we need additional information to determine eligibility.
  • You will receive information about PUA benefits in your online account, by email, and by mail.
  • Applicants who receive PUA benefits will also receive the $600/week additional payment.
  • PUA benefits will be backdated to whenever you first became eligible due to COVID-19.
  • Additional information, including answers to many commonly asked questions, can be found here.

ONLY SOME BUSINESSES TO RE-OPEN

I continue to receive an overwhelming number of communications from those whose livelihoods are being destroyed by the present shutdown creating greater risks of depression, suicide, alcohol abuse, etc., and I know my colleague representatives and senators are receiving similar communications from their constituents. The devastating impacts of Gov. Walz’s shutdown are very real and only growing worse with each passing shutdown day.

It's a false narrative by Gov. Walz asserting businesses being open is somehow mutually exclusive from remaining safe. The fact is both can be accomplished. It’s completely subjective decision making by Gov. Walz to indicate Walmart can be open to sell shirts and keep people safe while a local clothing store cannot do the same. It’s completely subjective decision making by Gov. Walz to stipulate Cub Foods can be open to sell flowers and keep people safe while a local floral shop cannot do the same. It’s completely political decision making by Gov. Walz to say Planned Parenthood can be open while the local dentist cannot. The list of political subjectivity goes on and on.

I trust our local businesses can be open and at the same time take measures in accordance with CDC guidelines to keep people safe, just as the big box retailers can. This is why I’m continuing the push to re-open Minnesota for business.

Gov. Walz does not trust our local businesses which is why Gov. Walz yesterday signed a new executive order allowing ONLY SOME businesses to reopen…those in manufacturing, industrial, and office settings that are non-customer facing starting this coming Monday, April 27. To reopen businesses must create and share a safety plan for keeping employees safe, conduct daily health screenings of employees upon their arrival, and continue teleworking whenever possible. The Department of Labor and Industry will have an optional template plan available to use as a starting point.

Lawsuit

Rep. Lucero is among the co-plaintiffs who recently filed a second lawsuit against the MN Secretary of State Steve Simon.

ELECTION INTEGRITY MATTERS

On Thursday, April 16, 2020, the Minnesota Voters Alliance (MVA) and co-plaintiffs State Reps. Eric Lucero, Mary Franson, Duane Quam, and several election judges filed a lawsuit against Secretary of State Steve Simon for implementing a rule relating to absentee ballot boards that conflicts with the law.

Minnesota has a long tradition of citizen oversight and party balance in our election activities as one method to act as a check against voting fraud. Secretary Simon has a different agenda, however. A 2010 law requires local governing boards to select Ballot Board members from lists provided by the major political parties. In conflict with the law, Secretary Simon implemented a Rule to permit Ballot Boards to be stacked with partisan bureaucrats instead of a balance of election judges. Moreover, Secretary Simon’s Rule change exempts election-staff appointed to the Ballot Boards from having to declare their party affiliation as the statute clearly requires. Instead of adhering to Statute requiring each absentee ballot envelope be examined, and then accepted or rejected by at least two election judges of different major party affiliations, Secretary Simon is attempting to circumvent state statute and further corrupt the integrity of Minnesota elections.

As a result, the hundreds of thousands of absentee ballots expected this November will be examined and accepted or rejected by Ballot Boards consisting of illegally appointed, biased election staff of undeclared and unbalanced party affiliation. If Secretary Simon is not stopped, confidence, integrity, and credibility of this Fall's elections will be in serious doubt!

The full petition to the MN Court of Appeals can be found here.

STAYING IN TOUCH

Each and every day I’m continuously humbled at the opportunity to represent and fight for the values and priorities of our great community!

Please contact me to share any issues, concerns, or feedback you have to assist me best represent you.  The best way to reach me is by email at Rep.Eric.Lucero@House.MN or by phone at 651-296-1534.

Sincerely,

Eric Lucero

State Representative District 30B Albertville, Hanover, Otsego, Saint Michael, and the Wright County portion of Dayton

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