The End of the "Not So" Special Session
After 15 months of the Legislature being continuously in session, today it came to an end. Yesterday the Legislature passed all of their budget bills to avoid a limited government shutdown. On Tuesday this week late in the evening the House unanimously voted to end the Governors’ peacetime emergency. This comes 15 months after the Governor held the power to create law, and restrict the movement of Minnesotans. Finally, we decided to follow the constitution and restore the balance of power placing the legislature back into the equation. When our government was formed it was created with three distinct and separate branches of Government. The process to create legislation and pass laws was made to be a deliberative and slow one. The reason is that Government, at its core, is a compact the people within a geographic area make to cede certain rights and freedoms in exchange for protection. Having a Government system that moves quickly runs the risk of making mistakes, and those mistakes could cost lives. When Governor Walz insisted on spending millions of taxpayer dollars on temporary hospitals and morgues the legislature had zero input. When he shuttered non-essential businesses we had no say. The governor’s use of emergency powers, and the reason he held them for so long, can be attributed to his desire to have power, not his greater humanity. He had no one to answer to, and we willingly handed him a blank check and said “here you fix the problem!” Even when the legislature was in session we refused to reclaim that authority. We may never know the true damage caused by this Governor’s actions but it’s our responsibility to ensure this Never Happens Again.
This special session I submitted a bill, SSHF0028, to reform the Chapter 12 section of our constitution which grants the Governor the ability to declare a state of emergency. Even though the legislature formally ended the Governors’ Emergency powers there is nothing that stops him from declaring a new state of emergency after he signs this year’s budget bills. That’s why we need substantial reform to Chapter 12 and my bill does just that. During this year’s regular session we have a dozen bills that attempted to change the Chapter 12 provisions. Unfortunately, after session ended those bills became mute, unless reintroduced. That is why I Introduced HF0028 during this special session to bring about the necessary changes. Also included in the budget was $285 million in tax cuts for Minnesotans, and federal conformity for PPP loans and unemployment insurance. Business owners were forced to shut their doors and lay off employees through no fault of their own and we shouldn’t be placing another burden on them by taxing those life-saving PPP loans. While these bills contain a lot of pork - unnecessary government spending - they also provide some critical help to many Minnesotans who have been asking for it over the past 15 months.
Additionally, the Minnesota House of Representatives passed HF 12, the tax omnibus bill. This legislation contained a key provision brought forward by myself, and the members of the New House Republican Caucus, that will curb the influence of lobbyists in St. Paul. For decades Minnesota has had some of the strictest laws in the nation regarding lobbying, financial contributions, and campaigning while collecting a paycheck from the taxpayers. It is time for Minnesota to step up to the plate once again and be a leader in creating a more transparent government. This bill, which passed the Senate at 3 AM Thursday morning, will take effect next year and place many legislators in a tough position; Do they quit their six-figure lobbying jobs, or do they work for the people at the wage we choose? That is the question on everyone’s mind today. You can watch HERE