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Minnesota Legislature

Legislative News and Views - Rep. Lisa Demuth (R)

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Legislative update

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Dear Neighbor,

The Class of 2020 is earning diplomas this spring under unique circumstances, achieving an important milestone in life amid great uncertainty in today’s world. I share your disappointment that ceremonies recognizing your accomplishments are on hold.

Our students have done a wonderful job to get to this point in preparing to graduate and that deserves to be recognized in highest regards. You should be proud of yourself and keep in mind countless opportunities and endless new adventures are ahead as you enter this exciting stage in your life. By your hard work and discipline, you have demonstrated the ability to successfully face the responsibilities and challenges that the future will surely present.

Congratulations once again, Class of 2020, and here is a look at some other news:

Memorial Day

As we look ahead to the Memorial Day weekend, please join me in honoring the men and women of our armed forces who have fallen. Let’s pay them a sincere tribute for the sacrifices they made to protect us and in defense of liberty.

Veterans Virtual Career Fair

A Veterans Virtual Career Fair is scheduled for 1 to 3 p.m. this Thursday, May 28. The career fair is open to veterans, transitioning service members, currently serving Reserve and National Guard, family members of veterans, and caregivers of veterans. Click here for more information regarding the event, including registration details.

House adjourns

The House adjourned at midnight Monday as scheduled. A number of “smaller” bills were passed during the final days of session, but a bonding package and a tax bill were not among them. The governor is expected to call legislators back to St. Paul the middle of next month, so work on the unfinished items of business could take place at that time.

Governor’s announcement

On Wednesday, Gov. Walz announced guidance for the next phases of his Stay Safe MN plan. This includes:

  • Restaurants: Outdoor service only, maximum of 50 customers, masks required, six feet distance.
  • Personal Services (salons, tattoos, barbershops): Six feet distance, maximum 25% of capacity, masks required. 
  • Churches: Services of 10 people or less indoors and outdoors, drive-up services allowed. 
  • Campgrounds: Open with guidance
  • Gyms, personal fitness, yoga: CLOSED
  • Entertainment (bowling, movie theaters, arcades): CLOSED

While the small steps the governor laid out for expanded business to take place starting June 1 fall short of what many had hoped to see, the guidance does an especially large disservice to our churches. People need their places of worship now more than ever. 

It doesn’t make sense to allow hundreds of people in the aisles of big box stores while limiting churches to 10 people, or that salons are allowed to reopen but restaurants are restricted to outdoor service. There are great inconsistencies throughout the governor’s guidance and they need to be resolved. We must trust our businesses to protect the health and safety of customers and employees.

The bottom line is people were optimistic, hopeful this week’s announcement would put businesses on a path toward regaining their viability after months of being shut down, but the governor’s announcement did not meet those expectations.

Flexibility for charitable gambling organizations

This week, the Department of Revenue announced it is offering an extension for Lawful (Charitable) Gambling tax payments for organizations affected by COVID-19.

Details for how to submit the requests can be found on the MN Department of Revenue’s website; the due date is May 27. Organizations that request an extension will have until June 22 to make their payments.

Organizations affected by COVID-19 may also request that the Department of Revenue abate late-payment or late filing penalties or interest. Those guidelines can be found here.

These organizations support everything from veterans’ homes to local food shelves and their ability to raise funds has been severely limited by the closure of bars and restaurants. It is good to see additional flexibility is being provided.

Have a good weekend and look for more news soon, especially regarding if/when we learn more about a potential special session. As always, let me know how I can help.

Sincerely,

Lisa

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