Another busy day despite the cumbersome process of working a House session via tele-conference. We passed (and I supported) the following bills today.
SF 4073 Trichloroethylene(TCE) Ban: Passed, 117- 17. Restricts the use of this toxic chemical to research only. Governor has for signature.
SF 2466 Vulnerable Adult Protection: Passed, 126- 8. Protects seniors and vulnerable adults from financial exploitation. Governor has for signature.
HF 4601 Opiate Epidemic Response Account: Passed, 124-9. Appropriates $2.7 million from this restricted account to be used for opiate addiction programs. Sent to Senate for further action.
SF 3357 Civil Law Bill: Passed, 134- 0. Made technical changes to civil law procedures previously agreed to by senate on a 66-0 vote. Governor has for signature.
HF 4490 Agriculture Finance: Passed, 133-1. Redirects currently authorized ag spending to focus on COVID-19 related medical issues, accident prevention, ongoing ag financial crisis and response to the African swine flu. It authorizes an additional $400,000 in spending only if it’s reimbursed by the federal government.
HF 4599 Farmer-Lender Mediation Extension: Passed, 134-0. Further extends the 60-day extension for conducting mediation due to COVID-19 restrictions. Sent to Senate for further action.
SF 3298 City Charter Commission Appointments: Passed, 132-2. Made technical changes to appointment process for charter commission members. Previously passed by the Senate 67-0. Governor has for signature.
One important bill was prevented from coming to the floor today. It failed on the necessary motion to suspend the rules to allow consideration. That vote was defeated 71-62, strictly along party lines.
HF 4606 Reopening Businesses For Safe Operations During COVID-19 Pandemic: This bill was similar to SF 4511, which was debated in the senate and passed on a 39–28 bipartisan vote this past Monday. The bill requires businesses to comply with federal/CDC and state social distancing and public health related rules, if they can they are allowed to open up.
Several times now debate has been stifled on legislation that would have allowed more of Minnesota’s businesses to re-open in a safe manner.
While I appreciate that the majority rules, this issue merits an open debate before the citizens of Minnesota. Today’s refusal to allow that debate shielded the governor from criticism, but it also prevented us from examining reasonable alternatives going forward.