Hello from St. Paul,
As this was our first full week of session, committee work began to take shape. Early on, many committees go through an introductory phase where we hear overviews and priorities, as many of the bills that will likely be heard this session have not been processed yet. Due to COVID-19 related constrictions, the revisors office has a huge backlog of bills to process. Hopefully legislators take this into account and use some restraint in authoring bills and focus on those that have the best chance of moving this session.
I was encouraged to hear that the chairman of the Subcommittee on Legislative Process Reform has agreed to hold a hearing on the use of the governor's emergency powers and indicated that the statute in Chapter 12, which outlines emergency powers, needs to be changed. That should be an interesting discussion, as judging by my email everyone has a positive or negative opinion on that topic.
One interesting bill unveiled this week centered on strengthening the sentence against a person who attempts to murder a police officer, prosecutor, judge or correctional officer. This is in response to the man who shot Waseca Police Officer Arik Matson in the head last year - thankfully Matson survived - and a sentence that in the eyes of many was not sufficient. Officer Matson and his wife Megan attended the press conference announcing the proposed legislation. It was a great sight to see Officer Matson after all he has been through with his recovery.
Hopefully the legislation will make its way quickly through the process and attract significant bipartisan support.
Also this week, I took part in two virtual town hall discussions. One was hosted by the League of Women Voters and included legislators from Woodbury and Cottage Grove. The second event, a virtual town hall with Senator Bigham and Representative Franke was streamed live on local cable television and Facebook. I appreciate Dakota County Commissioner Mike Slavik for serving as moderator for the event and my thanks to all who tuned in.
Have a good weekend,