Happy Friday! This will be my last email update before the end of the 2020 regular session. The Minnesota constitution requires that we adjourn on Monday, May 18th.
On Wednesday, Governor Walz announced that the state’s Stay at Home order will expire on Monday, May 18th. Beginning Monday, all retail stores, malls and other businesses that sell, rent, maintain and repair goods will be allowed to open as long as they have adopted and implemented a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan including social distancing guidelines for workers and customers, and allow no more than 50% of the establishment’s occupant capacity at any time.
If you are a business owner, I encourage you to visit DEED’s website where they provide detailed information on steps to reopen. Click here to read more: https://bit.ly/361QaW3
While Wednesday’s announcement is welcome news for thousands of Minnesota businesses and employees across our state, ultimately, I am concerned that the Governor’s order does not go far enough as hair salons, health clubs, bars, restaurants, and churches are not included in the latest executive order.
In his address, the Governor stated that he is targeting June 1st as the date these businesses could open. State officials will release safety protocols for each by May 20th.
Many restaurants, salons, campgrounds, and other businesses cannot afford to wait additional weeks to open. For some of these businesses, Governor Walz’s announcement comes too late and their doors will never open again.
It’s time for Governor Walz to trust Minnesotans to care for one another and allow the state to safely reopen. We cannot afford to wait any longer.
Click here to read the full executive order: https://bit.ly/2Z3tPpB
I am also disappointed that the Governor chose to extend the peacetime emergency for another 30 days, giving him powers to continue to act unilaterally when he sees fit.
I’ve voted numerous times to end the peacetime emergency because I believe the time for swift action is over. We need a more deliberative approach to combatting the COVID-19 crisis that includes the legislature and Governor working together.
I shared this view in my column which appeared in the Grand Rapids Herald Review last Sunday. You can read that piece here: https://bit.ly/3bC0khk
Congratulations to all our high school graduates! I am certain the class of 2020 will forever hold a bond around their unique senior year and should be applauded for their resilience in the face of a global pandemic.
I recently joined a group of legislators in sending a letter to Education Commissioner Mary Ricker, urging her to reconsider a recent decision to ban graduation ceremonies statewide.
The letter is in response to guidance Ricker issued on May 8th, which upended careful planning by school leaders and parents across the state to safely hold graduation ceremonies.
It makes no sense to issue a universal order when there is so much diversity between schools across our state. This approach ignores the thoughtful deliberations and plans schools had put in place to protect students and guests. It is time to trust our local officials to know what is best for their communities.
It’s hard to believe that this is the final weekend of the 2020 legislative session. What a strange year it’s been in St. Paul as COVID-19 has completely changed all our lives.
I anticipate there will be a special session sometime this summer as we continue to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak and make difficult decisions to address the state’s looming budget deficit.
Until then, I’ll plan to update you next week on how this year’s session ends.
Please enjoy your weekend, as always, stay in touch!
Talk to you soon,