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LEGISLATIVE UPDATE FROM REP. TIM MILLER - DISTRICT 17-A

Friday, May 7, 2021

Timeline for Reopening Minnesota

Governor Tim Walz has announced that he will begin the process of rolling back the restrictions that we have lived with for the last year. Specifically, Governor Walz outlined a three-step plan that will end most of the restrictions by May 28th. However, the mask mandate will remain in place no later than July 1st. 

The three steps are described below. This information comes directly from the Governor’s Office:

Step one takes place at noon on May 7. It includes initial steps to relax some restrictions, primarily in outdoor settings.

  • Removes limits for outdoor dining, events, and other get-togethers, and ends the mask requirement outdoors except at large venues with over 500 people.
  • Eliminates the state-established mandatory closing time for bars, restaurants, and food and beverage service at other places of public accommodation.

The second step begins on May 28. Remaining capacity and distancing limits will come to an end, including for indoor events and gatherings. The requirements that will remain include:

  • Face coverings indoors and for outdoor events that exceed 500 people.
  • There will be no new safety requirements for businesses, though they must maintain their plans to keep their employees and customers safe – as they have from the beginning of the pandemic – guided only by a minimal universal state guidance document.

The third step takes place once 70 percent of Minnesotans age 16 years and older – 3,087,404 Minnesotans – get at least one dose of the vaccine, but no later than July 1.

  • The remaining face covering requirement and the requirement for preparedness plans will end. Work on vaccines will continue, and local jurisdictions and entities may set their own mask policies.

There is no question that Governor Walz imposed crushing restrictions that harmed businesses and families. While necessary measures were needed to fight this pandemic, many of the governor’s executive orders have existed for far too long. This overreach caused untold damage.  

Nevertheless, I am glad that Minnesotans will finally be able to resume normal life soon. With more vaccinations, we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I encourage all Minnesotans to enjoy the sense of normalcy that is returning. Summer is just around the corner, and I suggest that we all take advantage of this time and live life to the fullest!

Gov. Walz and Religious Liberty

One year ago, two churches filed a lawsuit against Governor Tim Walz. The lawsuit stated that the Walz Administration infringed on First Amendment rights by placing unfair limitations on religious services and buildings. This week, the Walz Administration decided to settle the suit after failing in their attempt to have the case dismissed.

The judge in the case decided not to dismiss the lawsuit because it was not clear whether churches were subjected to harsher restrictions than other venues. As a result, the Walz Administration settled the suit by agreeing that churches would be treated the exact same as grocery stores or retail outlets if further restrictions were ever imposed again.

This case represents a win for religious liberty in Minnesota. These churches took a stand against the executive orders of Governor Walz, and they prevailed. After so many other failed lawsuits against the Walz Administration, this is a positive sign.

Every citizen should be deeply concerned whenever the state takes actions that interfere with the free exercise of religious faith. We must protect our constitutional rights.

The “Never Again” Bill

For over a year, Minnesotans have been controlled by the restrictions that were imposed by Governor Walz. However, no governor should be allowed to unilaterally make decisions for everyone. Our system depends on checks and balances. As such, I am a co-author of the “Never Again” bill. This legislation, known as HF 2204, reforms the emergency management process. Instead of giving the governor total control over everything, this bill will make sure that the governor and the legislature work together when an emergency occurs. Our governor must never again be allowed to have unchecked power.

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Rep. Tim Miller - 5.7.21

 

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