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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Jeremy Munson (R)

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LEGISLATIVE UPDATE FROM REP. JEREMY MUNSON - DISTRICT 23-B

Friday, March 27, 2020
 

 

Yesterday, under VERY controlled circumstances, the Minnesota House and Senate were convened to discuss the second COVID-19 emergency spending bill. Although there were some sensible provisions in the bill like relief for people unable to get driver’s licenses or commercial licenses to be able to work, there were so many things wrong with this bill I could not in good conscience, vote for it. You can see my video response here: https://youtu.be/ykv0CRSTsuc

Why I Voted No

The primary goal of leadership seemed to be to break all land speed records to pass it off the floor. They ran roughshod over our open meeting laws, committee processes, and more. There was zero transparency. Even as a member of the House, I only received a copy of the bill after the session started. Journalists and citizens alike were kept out of the process. And although it was only 33 pages long, we were again presented with an omnibus bill with many different subjects, cut and pasted into a single bill.

I don’t disagree that some sensible precautions should be taken in a pandemic, but the situation was used as a license to disregard any need for public input completely. Now that we see the final product in the bill, we are left to wonder whose priorities these actually are. Which lobbyists were able to get a foot in the door with either members or the administration to make sure that their concerns made it into the bill?

Secondly, I disagree with the approach the bill takes. It hands out taxpayer money to government agencies and corporate childcare providers. Businesses will be given loans, but with no or much-reduced revenue coming in, those loans will be a burden to them for years. The government will grow, and more Minnesotans will be more dependent on it.

Finally, we don’t know how long this crisis will last. We need people to start thinking about how they will get through the crisis, and we need the government to allow them the flexibility to do that. I wrote the Give it Back Act bill before the spread of COVID-19, but I can’t think of a better time to give taxpayers their money back. Instead, we will make people jump through more hoops to apply for their own money while we prevent them from earning it themselves. This bill does permanent damage to the economy, productivity, and small businesses.

I won’t vote for a bill that does that.

What You Might Have Missed

The Governor recently signed legislation that is vital to our district. Before we recessed in response to the COVID-19 Outbreak, the Minnesota House and Senate passed three bills. One was the initial response to provide funding for the Health Care system to address pandemic. 

HIGHWAY 14 FUNDING

Additionally, we voted to fund the expansion of Highway 14 to four lanes from Nicollet to New Ulm. The project is the last segment of a long-term plan to improve the highway from Rochester to New Ulm.

This project, which has been a long time coming,is probably the most commented on of any other road project in my district. I get many calls and emails asking about when Highway 14 will finally be completed. Now I can answer that that day is coming soon. It is so important at this time when we are focused on the COVID-19 epidemic that we can look toward the future and make Highway 14 a priority. It will be an important tool to grow our economy in Southern Minnesota.

HELPING MINNESOTA FARMERS

We also approved $30 million for Disaster Relief to provide assistance to farmers still trying to recover from flooding. In addition, another $50 million was allotted to the Rural Finance Authority for low-interest loans.

Coming up Next Week

  *  The House is now recessed again so legislators are back in the districts. We are still doing what we can to provide information to concerned constituents and I will be sending out further updates as we learn more about how the pandemic is affecting Minnesotans.

  * I will continue to make available information for employees and employers about who is considered essential and who is shut down during the Stay-at-Home order.

For the full list of critical sectors, look at page 5 of the Executive Order here: https://bit.ly/2UlczcO.

If you are wondering if your business is exempt from this order, you can email criticalsectors@state.mn.us or check online: https://mn.gov/deed/newscenter/covid/business-exemptions/.

munsonsig

 

Contact:

If you have any questions regarding COVID-19, please don’t hesitate to contact me or my office. We are still attempting to provide regular contact remotely so if you have other needs, please email my Legislative Assistant, Barbara, at barbara.smith@house.mn.

Watch the Minnesota House on Public TV

Video: Streaming Website. Also you can watch committees and Floor Sessions on YouTube.