Moving The Goalposts Once Again
Perhaps the largest issue we face this session is the fight to end the Governor’s endless emergency powers, which he has used to single-handedly write laws that spend money, limit social and religious gatherings even in private homes, mandate masks, prevent evictions for non-payment of rent for almost an entire year, and shut down restaurants, bars, gyms, small businesses, and schools.
On Tuesday, I supported Rep. Mortensen’s resolution to end the Governor's Emergency powers. Unfortunately, the Speaker refused to acknowledge his resolution, which was drafted and submitted according to house precedent. When Rep. Mortensen requested a vote on his resolution, he was ruled out of order, and the members voted to uphold the speaker’s decision on a party-line vote.
A majority of legislators have said they will vote to end the Governor’s powers. To avoid voting on the resolution to end the peacetime emergency, the Speaker has proposed to change the House rules to require a two-thirds majority vote to call all bills from the committee to be voted on. This move exemplifies why the US Supreme Court and numerous states have found legislative vetos to be unconstitutional. This move by the Speaker would effectively make holding legislators accountable for their votes impossible. Only bills allowed to pass by the majority chairs of committees, and usually only those included in omnibus bills, would obtain a vote.
Restoring the Legislature as a Co-equal Branch of Government
To maintain control, the Governor announced this week he would relinquish his powers, but only if the legislature does as he wants and passes his statewide mask order into law. This statement shows his disregard for the Constitution and the legislature as a co-equal branch of government. The rights and liberties of individuals, our small businesses, and the economy are not trading chips that should be held hostage to maintain power. His attempt to maintain power is thinly veiled as it comes with no guarantee he won’t simply reinstate his powers as soon as the legislature does as he wants.
We need to end these lockdowns TODAY. We need the House Speaker to allow for a fair and transparent legislative process.
Coming up Next Week
Next week we will be entrenched in a battle with Democrats to prevent them from moving the goalposts on the votes required to end the Governor's Emergency Powers.
Our committees begin and bills will start to be scheduled for a hearing.
If you want to hear more about what happened this week at the capitol, check out my new podcast covering what went on this week in Saint Paul. I will be releasing these weekly to keep you up to date on everything happening at the capitol.
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, Grayson, at Grayson.firstname.lastname@example.org
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