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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Sandy Layman (R)

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News From Representative Layman 4-17-2020

Friday, April 17, 2020

Dear Friend,

Happy Friday! It looks like the weather is, once again, bringing us warmer temperatures so I hope you can get outside and enjoy the signs of Spring. Here are the latest updates on Legislative activity this week as we gradually return to a normal meeting schedule – albeit mostly online.

On Tuesday, the Minnesota House of Representative met to vote on two pieces of legislation and a House Resolution that would end Governor Walz’s peacetime emergency.

COVID-19 Legislation

The legislature continues to respond to the COVID-19 crisis, making a variety of minor changes so everyday events can continue even during these unprecedented circumstances, and taking additional steps to ensure Minnesotans are protected during the pandemic. 

  • Protecting Minnesotans: This bill helps protect struggling farmers, expands access to telemedicine, and ensures that Minnesotans are covered as they normally would be if they receive care at an alternate treatment site. 
  • Flexibility During COVID Crisis: This bill includes changes to allow Minnesotans to apply for a marriage license remotely, ensures public officials can participate in remote meetings or hearings (similar to current law for military members), and eases certain deadlines in response to COVID-19. It also will ensure Commercial Drivers Licenses and out-of-state licenses will continue to be valid while in-person appointments are restricted.
  • Implementing the CARES Act: The CARES Act passed at the federal level includes a number of provisions aimed at helping Minnesota respond to COVID-19. This bill implements provisions of the CARES Act including coverage of COVID-19 testing as part of our ongoing response to the pandemic. 

I was happy to support this bill and it passed the House on a 103-31 vote.

Emergency Insulin Affordability

After months of work, the legislature came to a compromise agreement that makes insulin more affordable for Minnesotans, and ensures that insulin is available in emergency situations. This bill ensures that insulin affordability programs will remain in place and provides life-saving assistance for those in emergency situations. 

This bill received overwhelming, bipartisan support and I am thankful for the hard work of legislators, advocates, and stakeholders to reach an agreement.

Getting Minnesota Back to Work

I understand many of you are frustrated with business closures resulting from Governor Walz’s executive orders. I share many of your frustrations. Every day I hear from families and small businesses whose lives have been turned upside-down because of COVID-19.

Please know that that I have joined my legislative colleagues in pushing the administration daily asking for exemptions, flexibility, and common sense. If there are businesses that can protect the safety of employees and customers, we should allow them to do so. 

To that end, on Tuesday, House Republicans forced the first vote since the COVID-19 crisis began to end Gov. Walz’s peacetime emergency powers, and begin the process of safely reopening Minnesota’s economy by continuing social distancing and prioritizing health and safety, especially for the most vulnerable Minnesotans.

Our resolution would have ended Governor Walz’s Peacetime Emergency powers and restored the legislature’s constitutional role as a co-equal branch of government. It also would direct Minnesotans to continue social distancing efforts and protect vulnerable populations.

While I supported the resolution and voted “yes”, it was ultimately defeated.

We all share a common goal of protecting the health and safety of Minnesotans. But the Governor’s own modeling suggests we can take responsible steps to start getting Minnesotans back to work while continuing social distancing efforts and protecting vulnerable Minnesotans, without the economic devastation of there more weeks of a Stay-At-Home order.

It's time we have an honest conversation about how we can get folks back to work while protecting the health and safety of Minnesotans.

Staying in Touch

Yesterday I recorded an interview with WDSE TV for the Minnesota Legislative Report which will air Sunday at 5 p.m. The interview also included Rep. Liz Olson of Duluth and was moderated by former Majority Leader Tony Sertich. Tune in, if you can, to hear both DFL and GOP perspectives on current affairs.

Please continue to contact me on any legislative matter. I value your opinion and you can best reach me at 651-296-4936 or rep.sandy.layman@house.mn.

Talk to you soon,

layman sig

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