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Legislative Update: May 8th, 2022

Sunday, May 8, 2022
Rep. Jeremy Munson

 

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE FROM
REP. JEREMY MUNSON - DISTRICT 23B

Sunday, May 8th, 2022

Happy Mother's day to all the superhero moms who make it happen every day!

Mothers Day

Unemployment Fund and Frontline Worker Pay Bill Passes

Last week, the Minnesota Legislature passed, and Governor Walz signed the Unemployment Trust Fund Replenishment bill into law. The new law lowers the amount of unemployment tax and assessments a taxpaying employer will owe in 2022. 

The legislation used $2.7 billion to pay off the loan from the federal government and refill the UI trust fund to its necessary balance using mostly federal funds. This spends the remaining federal ARPA funds available to Minnesota for COVID. If the legislature had not spent it, it would have been available to Governor Walz to spend. Even with this bill, more than $6 billion from the surplus is left to give back to the taxpayers.  

Businesses will have their employer UI tax rates for calendar years 2022, and 2023 recalculated. The deadline for payment has also been extended. The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) has a FAQ page for employers which covers questions like how to get a refund if you’ve already made your payment and what to do if you make your payments through a third party payroll service. 

Frontline Worker Bonuses 

As part of the agreement, $500 million from the surplus will also go to frontline workers who could not work from home during the pandemic. You can find out if you qualify from the Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) and more info as it becomes available. 

To be eligible for Frontline Worker Pay, the applicant:

  • Must have been employed at least 120 hours in Minnesota in one or more frontline sectors between March 15, 2020, and June 30, 2021.
  • For the hours worked during this time period the applicant –
    • was not able to telework due to the nature of the individual's work and
    • worked in close proximity to people outside of the individual's household;
  • Must meet the income requirements for at least one year between Dec. 31, 2019, and Jan. 1, 2022 –
    • workers with direct COVID-19 patient care responsibilities must have had an adjusted gross income of less than $350,000 for married taxpayers filing jointly, or less than $175,000 for other filers and
    • for workers in occupations without direct COVID-19 patient care responsibilities, the adjusted gross income limit is $185,000 for married taxpayers filing jointly, or $85,000 for other filers; and
  • Must not have received an unemployment insurance benefit payment or serve a non-payable week for more than 20 weeks on a cumulative basis for weeks between March 15, 2020, and June 26, 2021 (Minnesota Statutes, section 268.085, subdivision 1, clause 6).

The frontline sectors include:

  • long-term care and home care;
  • health care;
  • emergency responders;
  • public health, social service, and regulatory service;
  • courts and corrections;
  • child care;
  • schools, including charter schools, state schools and higher education;
  • food service, including production, processing, preparation, sale and delivery.
  • retail, including sales, fulfillment, distribution and delivery;
  • temporary shelters and hotels;
  • building services, including maintenance, janitorial and security;
  • public transit;
  • ground and air transportation services;
  • manufacturing; and
  • vocational rehabilitation.

Veterans Bill Passes

Although the House, Senate, and Governor agree on very little these days, a portion of the State Government Finance bill was separated into something approaching a single subject funding program for Minnesota Veterans and passed both the House and Senate this week.  The bill funded already approved New Veterans Homes in Preston, Bemidji and Monticello to fill a growing need in greater Minnesota for the care of our elderly veterans. The bill also included reenlistment bonuses for the Minnesota National Guard  In these times when we have come to rely on the Guard for many different kinds of assignments, making sure that we have experienced people continuing to serve is essential. Recent changes in Guard retirement benefits made it necessary to incentivize reenlistment.  The bill also contained bonuses for veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as support for Homeless veterans.  More information will be available at the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs (MDVA) website or contact your county veterans service officer. 

The New Cotton Gin

This week I offered an amendment to the House climate and Energy Omnibus bill. The amendment was regarding the recycling of plastic wind turbines in Minnesota. When you dispose of used motor oil, non-latex paint, or any other hazardous materials, you are required by law to do so safely. Most businesses must pay to recycle their hazardous waste, but the scale of what they need to dispose of is much larger and much more dangerous for those who produce our energy.

JM Amend Solar panels

Think of nuclear energy; when the uranium is used up, the power plant operator needs to dispose of that material carefully. It requires “dry cask” storage in a special facility where no contaminants can leak into the ground. 

Unfortunately, the DFL is so determined to push Minnesota into a green energy revolution that they have turned a blind eye and, in some cases, enabled potential environmental disasters and horrific human rights violations. Earlier this year, President Biden announced a ban on purchasing any polysilicon from China's Xinjiang region, where about 40% of the world’s supply is mined. The reason? 

We are subsidizing Slavery.

I began serving on the House Energy Committee three years ago. Ever since I  have been raising awareness of the 40,000 enslaved people in the Congo mining cobalt for nearly every electric vehicle, it was terrible when mainly cell phone and laptop batteries consumed the lithium-ion battery market, but when consumers went from a two-ounce battery to an 800-pound electric car battery, slave owners ramped up production. The solar panel supply chain is no different now that governments have so heavily subsidized, incentivized, and outright mandated production. China has rounded up one million Uyghur Muslims into forced-labor concentration camps to process and manufacture solar panels for the American market. 

The sad reality is that the DFL and Governor Walz are perfectly fine accepting Slavery and Genocide as the cost of doing business so long as they get what they want. They care more about appeasing their base and donors than protecting the human rights they so ardently claim to fight for. They aren't using science or logic to push for the adoption of groundbreaking technology that could change the tide in the war to protect our environment. 

Instead, he favors sensationalism, and as long as Elon Musk makes owning an electric car sexy, slavery and all its brutality will continue to exist. Whether the state is pushing wind turbines or solar panels, they are willing to sell out to the minority of green energy advocates at the expense of millions of lives. So long as we continue to perpetuate a market that is inextricably tied to forced labor and genocide to appease radical progressives, we continue to condone the use of slavery. Instead, we need to let the market decide what direction we move in finding a cheap and reliable renewable energy source. Nuclear and Hydrogen have proven to be immensely successful, yet it is tough to build state-of-the-art plants and expand our capacity thanks to government intervention and regulations. 

Thank you for being engaged in Government,

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.