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

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Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Happy Veterans Day to those who serve and who have served.

Happy Veterans Day

Today is a special day for those of us who have served, it’s a time to remember those who served with us, some of whom are no longer here. And it's a time to reminisce about the experiences that made us who we are today.

We also honor the many ongoing sacrifices of our men and women of our armed forces. We must not take our freedoms for granted, and for preserving our freedoms, we should thank all our Veterans in our families and our communities.

As a member of the Minnesota House of Representatives, I support our troops and our veterans. I want to make sure that veterans receive any help they need, for they have truly earned it. If there is ever an issue that should be brought to the legislature’s attention, I encourage you to reach out.

Limits on private Gatherings

New Executive Order describes "Guidance" on Holiday Gatherings.

Governor Walz announced new guidelines on Tuesday that increase the restrictions on bars, restaurants and even private social gatherings, beginning Friday 9/13 at 10pm.

Bars and Restaurants

  • Bars and restaurants must close for dine-in service by 10pm. (Because Covid can tell time.)
  • Bar counter seating must be closed unless the bar is a counter-only establishment. (Counter seating is bad. If that is all you have, then counter seating is ok.)
  • Indoor capacity is now limited to 150 people at one time, or not more than 50% of total capacity.
  • No bar games that require standing like pool or darts. (Covid lurks around games.)

Private Gatherings

  • There is a new 10 person limit for both indoor AND outdoor gatherings.
  • Social gatherings are limited to members of only three households, maximum, including the host. (Can’t have too many neighbors over.)
  • Weddings, Funerals and other similar events are required to end by the new 10pm curfew. (Covid got a Timex?)
  • Attendance to these types of events will be limited to 50 people beginning November 27th, and 25 people beginning December 11th. (I personally will not allow a government agent to dictate my Thanksgiving and Christmas gatherings.)
  • These limits apply only to the gatherings around a ceremony like a reception or luncheon. Not to the ceremony itself. (Because Covid is respectful of ceremonies and won’t infect anyone during a religious ceremony?  Actually no, it's because the Governor knows that if he infringes on people's right to worship, he will lose that fight.)

You can read the entire executive order here. (Opens a pdf of the order.)

While the Governor tried to back away from the idea that law enforcement would policing private gatherings in his announcement, it's important to note that the words of the executive order spell out the penalties for disobeying it:

  • An individual who willfully violates this Executive Order is guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction must be punished by a fine not to exceed $1,000 or by imprisonment for not more than 90 days.
  • Any business owner, manager, or supervisor who requires or encourages any of their employees or anyone under their direction to violate this Executive Order is guilty of a gross misdemeanor and upon conviction must be punished by a fine not to exceed $3,000 or by imprisonment for not more than a year.
  • Attorney General Keith Ellison, as well as city and county attorneys can sue any business for $25,000 per occurrence plus court costs that does not comply.
  • State and local licensing agencies can use their inspections, ordinances and regulations to check for compliance with this Executive Order and use existing sanctions, fees and fines to bring businesses into compliance.

The Governor and Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm explained these new restrictions by pointing out patterns in the data that they have collected which show "that 18-35 year olds make up a disproportionate number of cases, and that over 70% of outbreaks from the last 6 months have a direct link back to weddings, private social gatherings, and late nights at bars and restaurants." In addition, they claim that contact tracing data show that there is an "infection spike" that occurs around 10pm.

I am reminded of the poem, First They Came, by Martín Niemöller. This Governor is just the latest in a long line, who have usurped our freedoms and paid lip service to the sacrifices made by defenders of liberty. 

As I listened to the Governor at Tuesday’s press conference, he made numerous references to “breaking the back of this thing”. The only things that are getting their backs broken, are small businesses, the people that work there, the people who supply these businesses, their suppliers.....the economy is the only thing being broken. The government is not capable of protecting us from ourselves, nor should it try. With individual freedom comes individual responsibility. We, as a society, have been abdicating that responsibility in small doses, to the point where we no longer recognize freedom.


Coming up Next Week

  • Special session #6 of 2020 will open on November 12. Expect another resolution ending Governor Walz's emergency powers to be brought forward. This legislature is still comprised of members who were elected in November of 2018, many of whom will be leaving before the new, regular session in January.
  • Questions? Problems? Luke Sprinkel is my Legislative Assistant.  You can leave a message for him at 651-296-9183 or email him at Email is the best way to reach me at

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