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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Cal Bahr (R)

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Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Patrick Henry - Give Me Liberty Or Give Me Death

Two-hundred and fifty years ago today, Patrick Henry stood before the Virginia Convention and spoke from his heart in a way that still stirs me. He could see the dangers coming and the increasing restrictions of the Crown were enough to inform him of what would come: "They tell us, sir, that we are weak; unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year?... Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot? Sir, we are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power..."

Cal in truck


This is a particularly trying time for Minnesotans as we receive various dire warnings. Like Patrick Henry, I see restrictions growing and the danger to our republic gets clearer. I encourage all Minnesotans to engage with the Governor, tell him to work with the Legislature, who have all been elected with the purpose of good government, before making ANY new restrictions. My work transporting goods cross country by truck is essential, as are so many other small businesses doing their best to stay afloat with the boot of government on their neck. We need leadership, not a police state.


COVID-19 Resources

As a Minnesota State Legislator, part of my job is to make sure that my constituents are properly prepared for unexpected situations. As such, before we recessed, the Minnesota Legislature passed, and the Governor signed, a $200 million dollar appropriation package to Minnesota hospitals. This funding helps ensure that our state’s hospitals will have the equipment, supplies, and other resources necessary, should they be pushed hard by this virus.

We must also be mindful of the economic impact this crisis is having on our state. One of the outcomes of the actions that the governor has taken, is that thousands of people have been furloughed or laid off from work at restaurants, bars, and other businesses.

To address the needs of workers, Governor Walz has signed an executive order which extends unemployment benefits to those affected by this economic downturn. We need to make sure that Minnesotans can pay their bills during these unprecedented times.

Specifically, the earliest an individual will receive their unemployment benefits is during the third week after establishing their benefit account. This is done because benefits are always requested for a past week, and processing this information takes time. Essentially, individuals must request an unemployment benefit payment for each week they are unemployed. This means submitting a new request every week until you are employed. The payments are calculated by a formula which includes the individual’s weekly work hours, whether they have other income, whether they pay child support, or if they are a student, etc. As such, every person’s payment will be unique to their situation.

Here is a link to the Minnesota government website with more information regarding unemployment benefits for workers:

Just today, Governor Walz issued a series of new executive orders. Among them, the Governor signed executive orders which prohibit evictions and foreclosures due to COVID-19, extend the tax deadline to July 15th to be in-line with the extended federal tax deadline, and establishes a new loan program for independent contractors.

Lastly, I'm including a link to various government entities who are handling different areas of the crisis. We will be continually updating it with new links as we gather them together: COVID-19 Resources


The Impact on Minnesota

I believe it is essential that we remain calm and level-headed during this time - avoid the hype. Doing so will help everyone. Wash your hands, clean commonly used surfaces regularly. and practice social distancing. Also, do not hoard necessary goods. We cannot continually disrupt the supply chain. Farmers, truck drivers, retail workers, and grocers are on the front lines of this pandemic. They are doing their best to insure that we are properly stocked, and they deserve our thanks and gratitude. You can do your part by buying only what you need for a couple weeks, not the Zombie Apocalypse. We all have a job to do.

Additionally, be mindful of Minnesotans who are indoors. Staying inside can be the safest place for old and immune-compromised people to be during this outbreak. Many people will be dealing with complex difficulties as they remain indoors for extended periods of time. We must look out for those who could fall victim to addiction relapses, domestic abuse, depression, and other serious issues while they are indoors. We need to deal with this as a community. Don’t be shy about calling your neighbors to see how they are doing.

Furthermore, I believe we need to take the recommendations from the Center for Disease Control, the Minnesota Department of Health, and the Governor seriously but not be paranoid. Remember, most individuals with COVID-19 will not require hospitalization. Many people will simply exhibit mild, flu-like symptoms, if any symptoms at all.

Nevertheless, we must be smart about this virus and take appropriate steps to lessen the infection rate. Stay inside and don’t gather in large groups. These recommendations are to keep everyone, especially those with weaker or compromised immune systems, safe.

"It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace-- but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! ... Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!"





If you have any questions regarding COVID-19, please don’t hesitate to contact me or my office. We are still attempting to provide regular contact remotely so if you have other needs, please email my Legislative Assistant, Barbara, at

Watch the Minnesota House on Public TV

Video: Streaming Website. Also you can watch committees and Floor Sessions on YouTube.