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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

Thursday, July 16, 2020

This week state lawmakers were called back into a second special session in order to vote on Governor Walz’s extension of his emergency powers.  We had a vote to take up another resolution to end the Governor's unilateral lawmaking authority and return the legislating power to the legislature where it belongs. Two additional democrats voted in support, but not enough to end Walz's emergency super-powers. Thank you to everyone who called or emailed your State Representative asking them to vote to end the peacetime emergency. Keep it up. You now know where they stand.

 

Resolution Votes

State Will Decide What’s Best for Local Schools

Governor Walz will decide on July 27, whether all schools in the State should be shut down/online only, or whether they should be permitted to partially or fully open.  Many people in rural Minnesota believe the decision should be a local one, based in local assessment of threats or vulnerabilities and I agree.  Metro-centric lawmakers like to discuss “One Minnesota” but I hope that doesn’t mean metro policies will continue to be pushed on our rural schools. In a recent survey by the Minnesota Department of Education, it was found that a majority (64 percent) of parents are comfortable with sending their children back to school in the fall.

Lawsuit Against Walz’s Emergency Powers

Today the Ramsey District Court heard our lawsuit challenging Governor Walz’s  authority to declare a peacetime emergency and  expand his powers to unilaterally write laws. We have not received a ruling yet, and it could take the judge up to two weeks to respond. We are hopeful the court will rule in our favor. Our attorney presented a strong argument based on case law, the constitution and actions taken within the Minnesota House. Eleven other states have already found their Executive branch’s lawmaking authority to be unconstitutional. 

So much about what is happening right now has become hyper-political and that is a shame. This case is not about politics, or even the virus. This case is about our constitution and the balance of power in our state. No matter people's opinions regarding the Governor's performance, the masks or the shutdown, we can still agree on the importance of having three separate but equal branches of government to provide checks and balances to safeguard against oppression and the consolidation of power.

No governor, no matter if he or she is Republican or Democrat, should be able to unilaterally write laws for an indefinite period of time without legislative oversight or judicial review. It is imperative our process be fair and just no matter which party controls the executive branch, the House or the Senate.

Adult Day Service Provider Forced to Close After DHS Failure

Adult day service providers offer work opportunities and skills training for special needs adults. The funding for adult day services is tight. With the Democrat's change to the minimum wage law, even before COVID-19, it has been much more difficult to find employment opportunities for many of these individuals. Now, with the shutdown, much of their funding has all but dried up. Most of the programs have been temporarily, or in some cases, permanently closed, due to COVID-19, leaving many of these individuals with no alternative.

All this time, DHS has had the ability to apply for a waiver to request CARES Act money to help these service providers. Unfortunately, they have not done so, and these service providers have seen no financial relief. Thirty-five other states have received waivers from the federal government which permit the use of CARES Act funds to support adult day service providers. This week in HHS Finance, I asked why legislators are proposing we use state dollars rather than applying for this waiver.

So far the legislature has spent COVID related money on casinos, a zoo, a morgue, and Democrats are asking for $300 million to rebuild Minneapolis, but disabled adults were left out of this funding.

As some of you may have heard, recently, Potential Unlimited & LCDs in Waterville, permanently closed its doors due to the financial strain of the shutdown. Le Sueur County Developmental Services (LCDS) was founded in 1966 to help people with disabilities develop the fine-motor and communication skills needed in finding and maintaining employment. They offered transportation, job coaching services, and meaningful work opportunities for individuals in order for them to increase their independence, as well as broaden their relationships with friends and family. The closing of this facility is a great loss for the area and their clients.

As the legislature appropriates federal CARES Act funding, it is important that we look past the well paid lobbyists and special interest groups and give a voice to these important programs and the people they serve.

Other developments

  • We will be convening for session again on Monday where we will likely see an omnibus bill presented by the Democrat majority which will include reforms to local policing policy.
  • This week Governor Walz acknowledged that it is hard to make the case for a statewide mask mandate with ICU patients, hospitalizations, and COVID-19 deaths all trending down. Still, many cities are passing mandatory mask ordinances. I spoke with Al Travis on “Al in the Afternoon” about the Mankato Mask Ordinance, and the potential statewide mask ordinance that is being discussed by Governor Walz.
  • The EPA’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) is in the process of implementing a new rule which will significantly impact our district’s pork producers.  The State may tighten restrictions on farmers even further removing important options for our farmers who have worked hard to implement sustainable farming practices.  I will share more details when they are available.

Thank you for being engaged in government! 

munsonsig

Jeremy Munson
State Representative, 23B


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, Luke, at luke.sprinkel@house.mn.

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