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

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Friday, May 7, 2021

The End is in Sight for Some COVID Rules

Yesterday, the Governor announced a timeline for ending most of the COVID restrictions his administration has put in place. 

The three-step process will end nearly all COVID-19 restrictions by May 28, and end the masking requirement by July 1 at the latest.

Step one starts today. 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 28th. 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.
  • Businesses and other venues must have plans that keep their employees and customers safe – as they have from the beginning of the pandemic – guided only by a minimal universal state guidance document that includes no new requirements.

The third step starts no later than July 1st. But it could start earlier once 70 percent of Minnesotans age 16 years and older – 3,087,404 Minnesotans – get at least one dose of the vaccine

  • 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 another restriction ending that he isn't talking about - because he lost in court. Churches statewide are now free to meet without any capacity limitations. More importantly, because this is a court-ordered step, at no point in the future will this Governor (or any other) be permitted to unconstitutionally limit the actions of religious communities. Bill Walsh wrote a great explanation of this for the Center of the American Experiment and you can read that in its entirety here: Walz loses in court, settles with churches.

Poverty vs Prosperity

The government places hindrances and roadblocks in the way of those who are trying to better themselves. Listen below to hear more about why I think one of the best things Government can do to help those in poverty is GET OUT OF THE WAY!

prosperity video graphic


Sign & Release Warrants

While all the state budget bills are still being negotiated in Conference Committees, other bills, which have no apparent fiscal cost, are coming to the House floor to be voted on.  

Yesterday the House passed a bill that affects how police act during traffic stops. When police stop a person for any reason and discover that there is a warrant on that person, the warrant is an order to arrest them, take them into custody and book them in jail.  The most common reason for issuing a warrant on someone is “failure to appear” at a court date after being sent a summons.   

This bill would establish a “sign and release warrant,” which allows courts to issue a new type of warrant that directs law enforcement officers who encounter a person with a warrant, to instead of arresting them, to give those defendants a new court date. It also establishes a procedure for law enforcement to provide defendants with that notice and record that the notice was given.   

Not every crime would be eligible for this type of treatment by the courts: only misdemeanors and certain gross misdemeanors. For example, DWI and crimes of violence, including domestic assault, would not qualify for a sign and release warrant. 

I supported the general idea in the bill. It avoids wasting police time filling out paperwork and driving people to jail who are wanted on lesser offenses. It limits the chances of something going wrong for either the motorist or the officer in a tense encounter by the side of the road.  In some cases, the warrant may result from a summons being sent to the wrong address or another mistake. If an officer is taking somebody to jail, they are not catching people committing worse crimes, they are not responding to emergencies and other more critical law enforcement tasks. 

Nevertheless, I could not support the bill in its current shape. The list of non-qualifying crimes was too short and needs further revision.  For example, people who purchase or provide guns to felons and other non-permitted persons could get a sign and release warrant. I also wasn’t convinced that seasoned criminals wouldn’t just use this new process to keep putting off their court date and sentencing, all the while committing new crimes.   

The bill passed the House on a vote of 73-59, but there is currently no Senate companion bill which means it needs to start the process over in the Senate. I am hopeful that if it comes back to the house some of these issues will be resolved.

Choose Freedom,


Cal Bahr
State Representative, 31B

Coming up Next Week

  • We are now in the 'waiting time' since I am not appointed to any conference committees for the various omnibus bills, we won't have as much going on until the leadership of the House & Senate negotiate the various aspects of what will come back to us in the Conference Reports.
  • 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.