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LEGISLATIVE UPDATE FROM REP. JEREMY MUNSON - DISTRICT 23B

Friday, July 30, 2021

With July coming to a close we have passed the ceremonial halfway point of summer. As parents prepare their kids for the upcoming school year many have been asking if the government will be forcing their kids to adorn the ceremonial mask again. The short answer is yes, but not for every student. This week, MDH and MDE’s new guidance is once again trying to mask students as they head back to school. Our students cannot have another academic year where they are not allowed to freely breathe. Kids need to focus more on learning, not on breathing during the school day. 

So what does this mean for your students? It is up to school boards to determine any mask mandates. Now is the time to contact your school board and urge them to not adopt this guidance. Our kids need a normal academic year so they can start to make up for lost learning as a result of COVID-related classroom distractions.

Congratulations Suni Lee!

Minnesota’s own Suni Lee who took Gold in the Olympics women gymnastics all-around. Her dedication to her passion has carried her halfway around the world to compete among the best of the best from around the world. All while still in college. In a time where we fixate on the bad news in our world, let us take a moment to recognize the sacrifice that one Minnesotan made to chase her dream. Suni Lee has said she intends to return to university at Auburn where she will focus on finishing her college education.

New Laws Effective Aug. 1

There are a variety of new laws that will take effect this Sunday, August 1. These laws were passed during the regular and special legislative sessions and will impact many sectors, including agriculture and business, and commerce. You can learn more about how these changes may affect you or your business here.

Two Important Losses on Emergency Powers

Most Republican State legislators are making victory laps for "repealing Governor Walz's emergency powers," however, we did no such thing. We 'ended the peacetime emergency declaration,' which means Walz voluntarily holstered his weapon when he signed legislation into law ending his self-declared emergency. He holstered his own weapon, but we did not disarm him. 

We DID NOT alter Chapter 12.31, Subd 2 law which allows the Governor to declare another peacetime emergency at any time. Republican leaders chose NOT to make this a priority when negotiating and eventually to agree to the largest state budget in history. 

Last week, the Minnesota Supreme Court denied our appeal challenging the constitutionality of Governor Walz’s emergency powers. During our case in front of the Appellate Court, the Justices believed if both the House and Senate vote to end the Peacetime Emergency, that the Governor must also sign that legislation into law, and therefore there is no unconstitutional legislative veto in Chapter 12. 

Unfortunately, at the end of the Special Session, the Governor offered to end the emergency if Republican leaders would put it into legislation instead of a joint House-Senate concurrent resolution. This terrible move set the precedent for ending future peacetime emergencies by requiring not just the House and Senate to pass this language, but the Governor must also be required to sign it. It also means the Governor can veto the decision, and retain unilateral lawmaking authority indefinitely. 

Passing the "Never Again Bill" would disarm the Governor and prevent him from unilaterally writing law and prevent him from infringing on your civil liberties. It will restore proper checks and balances and restore the Constitution's separation of powers.

Until we pass the "Never Again Bill," the governor retains his emergency powers. They exist in State Law because the legislature delegated its authority to his office years ago in direct violation of our Constitution's non-delegation doctrine. 

Due to the legislature’s failure to reform emergency powers, the Governor can reissue another Peacetime Emergency at any time and continue writing laws and spending money without the voice of the people. 

Highway 60 Madison Lake to Elysian construction progressing

Construction on this first phase began on April 15 and is expected to be complete by July 16. The detour consists of Highway 14 and Waseca County Road 3.

Starting July 16, construction will move to Phase 2 and will take place on Highway 60 from the City of Elysian to the junction with Highway 13 at Waterville. Traffic will be detoured to Highway 13 in Waterville, Le Sueur County Road 12 (Tetonka Lake Road), Le Sueur County Road 11 and Highway 60. Construction is expected to be complete in October.   

In effort to take advantage of favorable weather to expedite completion of the project, a minor modification to the Phase 2 detour is planned to begin on Monday, July 12, weather permitting. Highway 60 east of the intersection with Waseca County Road 3 will be closed to through traffic to allow the contractor to begin work on this section.  Traffic that would be directed west on Highway 60 at the intersection with Le Sueur County Road 11 will instead be detoured east on Highway 60 to the intersection of Waseca County Road 3 (East Elysian Lake Road), and then follow the Phase 1 detour toward Janesville. All way stops will also be implemented at the intersection of Le Sueur County Roads 11 and 12.  A map of the short term detour modification is available online at: www.dot.state.mn.us/d7/projects/hwy60madisonlake/

Redistricting

Although we are out of session, the redistricting committee is finally scheduling meetings this month. Our focus will be to agree on a set of principles for redistricting, which the courts have historically considered if they are the final deciders on legislative district maps. If you have suggestions on how to improve our redistricting process, please reach out to my office.


Omnibus

Listen to my audio podcast of updates from inside the legislature. The podcast is now available to stream on Pandora.

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Thank you for being engaged in Government,

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Jeremy Munson

State Representative, 23B

Contact

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

Watch the Minnesota House on Public TV

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

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