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

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Friday, March 12, 2021

A Year of Emergency Powers...

Tomorrow is the ONE YEAR anniversary of Governor Walz removing our State Legislature as a co-equal branch of government. Click below for an interactive timeline of each action attempted. For a year, he has wielded unilateral lawmaking authority to write laws, create new crimes, and overrule existing law in violation of our State's constitution.

Last April, the four of us in the New House Republican Caucus wrote the first resolution to end the peacetime emergency. At that time, only a dozen Republicans voted in support of it. As we moved forward, eventually all Republicans and even six Democrats voted to end the King's reign. We have filed multiple lawsuits, worked to support recall petitions, and continually pressed leaders and legislators to stand up in support of the people of Minnesota. Multiple State Supreme Courts, as well as the US Supreme Court, have ruled that legislative vetoes (what the current Chapter 12 language in MN requires) as unconstitutional, yet we haven't even received a ruling from the MN Appellate court. We don't expect a ruling from the MN Supreme Court before the end of Summer. We have a constitutional crisis in Minnesota and these emergency powers need to end.

Fight for Freedom Timeline Graphic


And we aren't going to stop. Last night, we had the 17th vote on record in the House to attempt to end the State of Emergency. After listening to four hours of debate on whether to repeal or not repeal the Governor’s use of Emergency Powers, I made an observation.  We debated whether to open the State-or not, whether to let the Legislature be a co-equal branch of government-or not, and the damage the government reaction to the pandemic has caused in the lives of Minnesotans. 

What was missed in all that discussion was the role government played in that damage.  Government has become so ingrained in our collective thought process and in every aspect of our lives, that we now expect the government to solve all of our problems.  The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave, has become the land of the compliant and home of the meek.  Instead of Government sharing information so the citizenry can make educated decisions, the government wants - and we allow it - to micromanage our lives.  FDR said, “we have nothing to fear, but fear itself."  His party now uses fear to generate more fear.  Fear makes people controllable.  Fear makes people do things they wouldn't ordinarily do. 

It is time to let Minnesotans be free again.  Stop the fear-mongering.

How Do We Fix the Emergency Powers Law?

Even once we are clear of this current period of authoritarian rule, it is clear that we have SERIOUS problems with the way the current law is written. Under current Minnesota State Statute, Governor Walz has the authority to declare a peacetime emergency for five days. This can then be extended for up to 30 days with agreement from the Executive Council. This consists of the Governor, Lt Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, and the State Auditor. If he wants to extend the peacetime emergency for longer than 30 days, he issues an extension that comes before the legislature, and the legislature has to vote to rescind his peacetime emergency powers (a legislative veto). This has resulted in almost a year of one-man rule, due to the DFL-run House that will not end the emergency - despite 17 different votes.

This session, I introduced a rewrite for Chapter 12 - HF 1346 - which would limit the Governor’s peacetime emergencies to 14 days. If a situation arose that required a peacetime emergency to last more than 14 days, both bodies of the legislature would have to vote in support of extending the emergency, rather than the unconstitutional legislative veto.

I have talked to Rep. Pelowski who is chairing the committee on Legislative reform. This committee is pulling together all of the bills amending this chapter. I will continue to pursue a hearing. If you want to read through the text of the bill, you can find it here and click the video below to learn more about why I drafted this bill.

Chap 12 video thumbnail


Walz Makes More Changes to the Dials

For right now, everything is still under the power of the Governor.

COVID changes 3-15-21

This morning, Walz announced another roll-back of his COVID restrictions on private businesses. This comes after the President announced last night we should be “back to normal” by July 4th. Up until this point, Walz has never given us a time table for reopening. While I am happy to see this roll back we are still far behind our neighboring states when it comes to opening businesses. 

Unless otherwise noted, the adjustments are effective at noon on Monday, March 15. They include measures to:

  • Make it easier to safely gather with family:
    • Social gatherings: Up to 50 people outdoors or 15 people for indoor gatherings, both without household limits.
    • Youth sports: Pod size increasing to 50 for outdoor activities.
    • Religious services: Remove occupancy limit, but social distancing required.
    • Celebrations: Follow venue guidance.
  • Support small businesses:
    • Bars and restaurants : Increasing allowable occupancy to 75%, up from 50%, with a limit of 250 people. The limits apply separately indoors and outdoors. Bar seating increases to parties of 4.
    • Salons/barbers: Removing the occupancy limit, but social distancing required.
    • Gyms/fitness centers/pools: Increasing allowable occupancy to 50%, up from 25%. Outdoor classes can increase to 50 people.
    • Entertainment venues: Increasing allowable occupancy to 50%, up from 25%, both indoors and outdoors, with a limit of 250.
  • As summer nears, the state will adjust guidelines for large venues. All venues can open at 50% capacity up to 250 people. Venues with normal occupant capacity over 500 can add additional guests, effective April 1:
    • Seated outdoor venues can add an additional 25% of their capacity over 500, with a limit of 10,000 people.
    • Non-seated outdoor venues can add an additional 15% of their capacity over 500, with a limit of 10,000 people.
    • Seated indoor venues can add an additional 15% of their capacity over 500, with a limit of 3,000 people.
    • Non-seated indoor venues can add an additional 10% of their capacity over 500, with a limit of 1,500 people.

As more Minnesotans are vaccinated, work from home will no longer be required – but it will continue to be strongly recommended – beginning April 15. This is perhaps one of the biggest changes, next to the complete lift of wedding restrictions, we saw from his announcement. This means offices that choice to do so can welcome new employees back. As the economy starts to flicker back to life we have to let our business return to normal and have an environment that encourages job creation.

We ALL Think Kids Need To Learn Civics

This week I also had an opportunity to sub in and 'teach civics for a day.' This is the second time this year I have been invited to participate with a group of 12 home school students working through HERO. The students and I spent a great hour talking about some specific legislation - HF 874, Hassan (proposed Constitutional Amendment regarding education that has significant concerns for home schools) and HF 1528, Erickson (Education Savings Accounts) on which I am a co-author. HF 1528 seeks to establish a 5 year pilot program to expand non-public education options for all students.

In addition to those specific pieces of legislation, we discussed the "School House Rock" version of Civics education and how that varies from the real process we work through as legislators. Last visit we talked about the difference between a Republic and a Democracy. These opportunities are a wonderful chance for me to interact with those who will be running the show in coming years and I look forward to going back again!

Emissions Standards Comment Period

Last chance to submit initial comments

We have another opportunity for you to share your voice directly to state government. As you may have heard, the Walz administration is attempting to adopt California emissions standards here in Minnesota through rule-making so as to completely bypass the Legislature after failing to get their agreement.

This is your chance to express your opinions on the rules they are proposing. If you haven't seen the proposed rules yet, here is the proposed rule itself: Proposed Permanent Rules Relating to Clean Cars?

The are LITERALLY taking the California law and changing the words to make it law for Minnesota while completely skipping the Legislature:

1.6 Subp. 2. Incorporation by reference. California Code of Regulations, title 13, sections
1.7 1900, 1956.8(h) (medium-duty vehicle greenhouse gas emission standards only), 1961.2,
1.8 1961.3, 1962.2, 1962.3, 1965, 1968.2, 1976, 1978, 2035, 2037 to 2041, 2046, 2062, 2109,
1.9 2111 to 2121, 2122 to 2135, 2139, and 2141 to 2149, as amended, are incorporated by
1.10 reference. The regulations are not subject to frequent change and are available online at
1.12 Subp. 3. Term substitutions. In applying the incorporated sections of the California
1.13 Code of Regulations, unless the context requires otherwise:
1.14 A. "California" means "Minnesota";
1.15 B. "CARB," "ARB," or "Air Resources Board" means the agency; and
1.16 C. "Executive Officer" means the commissioner.

You can read through any and all of the documentation here: Amendments adopting Low-Emission Vehicle and Zero-Emission Vehicle air pollution standards.

See the notice below from the MPCA with instructions for how to proceed or go to their site: MPCA Clean Cars MN.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is working to adopt a new rule to reduce vehicle emissions and make more electric vehicles available to consumers in Minnesota, known as the Clean Cars Minnesota rulemaking.

The current open comment period closes on
Monday, March 15, 2021 at 4:30 p.m.

Reminder: How to submit a comment

Write your question or comment down and submit through the Office of Administrative Hearings e-comments website, or by fax or mail according to the instructions in the public notice.

Step-by-step instructions for how to submit a comment and attach documents is available on the Office of Administrative hearings website:
Directions for using the rulemaking e-comments website

All comments regarding the proposed rule must be sent to Administrative Law Judge Palmer-Denig to be included in the official rulemaking record.

There will be a rebuttal period that follows this comment deadline but I encourage everyone to read through the rule itself at least and submit your comments before it is too late. 


Choose Freedom,


Cal Bahr
State Representative, 31B

Coming up Next Week

  • Moving past the first committee deadline and the next steps for bills working along the process.
  • We will have a joint session with the MN Senate on Monday to elect new Univ. of Minnesota Regents.
  • Continuing FYI: I have received a lot of calls and emails from my community about HF 604 - the mask mandate. Let me assure you that I do not support the mandatory wearing of masks and will be voting against any bill that would require you to wear one.


We are still attempting to provide regular contact remotely regardless of our COVID-19 restrictions so If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us - 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.