This Saturday brings us to one full year since the governor declared a peacetime emergency for the state of Minnesota, by far the longest such declaration in state history.
In the last 12 months, the governor has issued around 120 unilateral mandates which have impacted Minnesotans with the effect of law in many ways, often with very damaging consequences to businesses, families, children and life as we know it Minnesota.
And the thing that should not be lost on us now is the governor has kept his “emergency powers” in place despite the fact there is no emergency.
There may have been a point in time a year ago when important decisions needed to be made on the spot. Fair enough, but those days passed long ago and it is time to put Minnesota on a path to re-opening, while also restoring the Legislature as the co-equal branch of government that it is.
A year ago, the governor said we needed to flatten the curve and prevent an overrun on our hospitals. Then the mission evolved, from making sure front-line workers had all the personal protective equipment they needed to ensuring we had an adequate supply of ventilators. What are we trying to accomplish today? The governor seems to lack a direct purpose, at least one he is willing to share with the public.
With that in mind, at what point will the governor put his emergency powers to rest? Infection rates have plunged dramatically, vaccination rates have soared and we are still not doing enough to move our state forward and are lagging far behind others in their pace of re-opening.
One report shows our state is in the bottom 10 nationally in terms of re-opening. By contrast, three of our neighboring states are in the top 10 most “re-opened” and another - Wisconsin - is in the middle. This ranking is based on a daily rating of 11 categories combined to achieve a score. I cannot vouch for the methodology used or the accuracy of these rankings themselves but, at the very least, this report provides an interesting side-by-side comparison of the steps states are taking to re-open.
Minnesota needs a plan to re-open. House Republicans are ready to work with the governor on this and took the initiative to start the process with an incremental blueprint. Meanwhile the governor has not expressed a willingness to engage legislators in this project and the House majority continues to stand in the way of attempts to end his emergency powers, including again this week.
Last call on Calif. Cars comments
The deadline to submit public comments on Gov. Walz's California Car Mandate is 4:30 p.m. this Monday.
The governor is seeking to implement this policy through administrative rule rather than the legislature. If enacted, the California Car Mandate would raise the cost of all new vehicles for Minnesota families by $1,000 or more, reduce consumer choice, and make MN the only state in the Midwest to place burdensome regulations on auto dealerships.
Please, let your voice be heard on this very important issue. Submit your comments here.
Bill to help Veterans
A bill I have authored to help prevent suicide among veterans recently received a positive reception during a committee hearing. In 2019, the Legislature approved a bill designating the first Saturday in October as “Veterans Suicide Awareness Day.” My bill (H.F. 1526) builds upon those efforts by adding the word “Prevention” to the day designation. The point is to not just raise awareness, but to do everything we can as a Legislature and as a society, to prevent suicide among veterans.
As I continue working on this issue, I would like to share information regarding the national Veteran Suicide Crisis line that is available for Veterans in crisis. The phone number is 1-800-273-8255. Users also may text to 838255 or chat online to receive confidential crisis intervention and support.