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

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November 19th - Update from the Capitol

Friday, November 19, 2021

Friday, November 19th, 2021 --

"John Marshall has made his decision; now let him enforce it!"

  • President Andrew Jackson to U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice

"We've been patient, but our patience is wearing thin" 

  • President Joe Biden to unvaccinated Americans

In 1832 President Andrew Jackson and Chief Justice John Marshall famously disagreed over what would become one of the 3 pillars of our modern government. Marshall had attempted to reign in Jackson and his attempts to remove Indians from southern lands. The conflict centered on arguments over states’ rights as well as land ownership and use policies, but it also brought into question the entire idea of judicial review. The power of the US Supreme Court to interpret the US Constitution and review federal and state laws to ensure compliance is generally something we don’t question today; it’s fundamentally essential to the smooth operation of government. However, back at the time of the Worcester decision, this idea wasn’t as fundamental, today I wonder if President Biden feels the same way as Jackson did. 

This past Tuesday a judicial panel was selected at random to consolidate the 34 lawsuits challenging the Biden administration's COVID-19 vaccine mandate. The case will be heard by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals out of Ohio, a good conservative court. President Joe Biden announced plans for the vaccine requirement this past September, seeking to “stem a surge in COVID-19 cases” and get more people back to work. The reality is it was putting thousands of Americans out of work. Many of them were considered essential workers just last year by the same government. 

The Cincinnati appeals court was chosen randomly and will take up the challenges to the OSHA rule, which compels employers with at least 100 workers to mandate COVID-19 vaccination or weekly testing combined with face masks at work.

The court will have ten judges appointed by Republican presidents, and five judges appointed by Democratic presidents. The rule they will be reviewing was issued as an emergency temporary standard by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which said it will prevent 250,000 hospitalizations. The rule set a Jan. 4 deadline for compliance.

Now the administration must show that COVID-19 provides a "grave danger" that requires an emergency OSHA standard. The standard to do so is very high. This is because it  allows the agency to bypass a years-long rulemaking process. OSHA has only issued 10 emergency standards in its 50-year history, and of six that were challenged in court, only one survived intact.

The Biden administration had asked the court on Monday to lift the pause, warning that delaying implementation “would likely cost dozens or even hundreds of lives per day” as the virus spreads. White House officials have repeatedly said that Covid clearly poses a grave danger to workers, pointing to the staggering death toll from the virus and the high levels of transmission in counties across the U.S. 

The White House has told businesses to press ahead with implementing the requirements even as the legal drama plays out in the courts; against the courts wishes. Thankfully late Wednesday night OSHA announced they would not be enforcing any of the president's vaccine mandates until the courts have made their ruling. This is not yet victory, but a very promising sign for Liberty. I can only imagine Walz and Biden feeling like how Jackson felt when the courts stepped in the way of their tyrannical overreach. Hopefully the path forward is filled with less tears. 

Governor tries to Dictate to Legislature

This week the Governor sent a letter ignorantly trying to spell out the conditions that will govern a potential special session. Among the many demands, he wants to require legislative leaders to block any amendments to his bills, saying that no topic should be voted on if it is too “controversial.” He even attempts to dictate when the special session will end.

Perhaps the Governor is in need of a constitutional refresher.

According to Article IV Section 12 of Minnesota’s Constitution, the governor can call a special session on “extraordinary occasions.” This special session allows the Minnesota Legislature to take up any issues that need to be addressed. However, the governor is not granted power to control what legislators do in special session, what is voted on, or when special session concludes. Those are all legislative roles constitutionally reserved for the Minnesota Legislature.

Essentially, the Governor can call us into special session, but his authority ends there. We get to write the bills however we want to, and Walz will have an opportunity to veto them if they pass. It’s the governor’s job to propose, but the legislators get to dispose. Walz seems to forget he is no longer a legislator.

If the Governor wants this special session so bad, then please call it. We will not abide by any of his conditions, and his prearranged terms mean nothing. Minnesota’s legislators do not have an appetite to meet the demands that the Governor has handed down from on high. Instead, we are concerned with the peoples’ business; We need to stop Vaccine mandates for good, reform Chapter 12 emergency powers, and any other business the Legislature may decide to take up.

Social Study Standards Changes; Comment Period OPEN

The Department of Education has begun the statutory rulemaking process on the K-12 Academic Standards in Social Studies. The Request for Comments document was published in the State Register on Monday, November 15, 2021. You can view the proposed changes HERE 

A 60-day statutory public comment period will now take place in order to hear from the public. This comment period ends on January 14, 2022, at 4:30 p.m. Interested individuals can now submit written comments on the Proposed K-12 Academic Standards in Social Studies HERE.

Comments must be submitted on the Office of Administrative Hearings e-comments website. Please click HERE for information on how to submit a written comment on the Proposed K-12 Academic Standards in Social Studies rule language.

Interning at the Capitol

With the 2022 regular session of the Minnesota Legislature fast approaching, the Minnesota House of Representatives has announced a new remote internship program for college students!

Offered exclusively to undergraduate students, this internship program will give aspiring public servants an opportunity to engage in our legislative and political processes. Specifically, interns will work with legislators, assist staff, conduct research, virtually attend legislative meetings, and discuss public policy.

The internship will run throughout the duration of the regular session from January 31, 2022 to May 23, 2022. Additionally, interns will participate in weekly virtual meetings that examine public policy, current events, and pending legislation. These seminars will often include a featured speaker and will allow interns to discuss and debate the issues that public servants face every day.

In the application process, prospective interns will be able to indicate a preference to work with Republicans, Democrats, or nonpartisan staff. This will help the Minnesota House of Representatives assign interns to the appropriate legislators or departments. Interns will be required to work a minimum of 5 hours per week.

While the remote nature of this internship may be a disappointment to some, this will give students from our district a chance to participate in the legislative activities that occur in St. Paul. Furthermore, interns may be able to come down to the Minnesota State Capitol for a day or two to observe the legislative process in person.

The deadline to submit your application is December 3, 2021. I strongly encourage interested students to apply and join us at the Minnesota Legislature.

To apply for the internship program, or learn about it in greater detail, please see this link.

Interning at the Minnesota House of Representatives for an entire legislative session is a remarkable experience that will give students a detailed education on how our state government operates. I strongly encourage my constituents to apply. If you know any undergraduates who might be interested in this program, I encourage you to forward this information along.

 

Choose Freedom,

Cal Bahr
State Representative, 31B