The Economic Development Authority of Cold Spring presented the following two awards and I would like to congratulate the honorees:
As for the latest news from the Capitol, here is this week’s notebook:
COVID-19 vaccine dashboard
The state has launched a new online dashboard for citizens to track COVID-19 vaccine allocation, distribution, and administration in Minnesota. The new website is produced by Minnesota IT Services and the Minnesota Department of Health. The dashboard includes information on the number of doses allocated to the state by the federal government; shipped to Minnesota providers; and ultimately administered to Minnesotans. The dashboard will be updated at 11 a.m. daily and I hope it proves helpful in allowing citizens to remain informed.
You can access the dashboard at this link.
Gov’s emergency powers
House Republicans once again this week made an effort to restore the Legislature as the third co-equal branch of government that it is by ending the governor’s emergency powers. We have spent the last 10 months under the executive branch’s unilateral mandates, with one person making decisions that all 134 legislators should be involved in as a voice for the people they represent. I will continue supporting bipartisan solutions to help us move past the emergency powers to make sure Minnesotans are duly represented as we work to safely reopen our state.
Students address committee on education
House committees are now up and running and the three panels I am serving (Early Childhood Finance and Policy, Education Finance and Health Finance and Policy) all have had introductory hearings. One committee note of substance came in Education Finance, where students from across the state expressed their desire to return to safely return to the classroom. They relayed their dissatisfaction with distance learning and outlined how it is failing to serve their needs. These students really did well in presenting their messages and were well-received by the committee.
Family Child Care Task Force update
I have continued working with the Family Child Care Task Force and our last meeting is scheduled for Jan. 28, after which we will formally assemble recommendations to be presented to the Legislature. One component that likely is to be included is the reincarnation of a bill I authored during the last biennium to create an Office of Ombudsperson for Child Care Providers to assist childcare providers with licensing, compliance, providing recommendations for improvement, provider education and more.
Letter on inconsistent wedding restrictions
The governor’s executive orders over the last 10 months have included numerous inconsistencies along the way, including Executive Order 21-01 and mismatched policies for wedding and entertainment venues versus the guidelines for restaurants. For example, if food and drink are served at a wedding event, then they are limited to two households or 10 people indoors and 3 households or 15 people outdoors. If there is no food or drink, they are covered by event venue guidelines. I drafted letter, co-signed by numerous House colleagues, simply asking the governor to apply uniformity between indoor and outdoor dining at restaurants and wedding and entertainment venues. Click here to see the full letter we sent to the governor on this matter in an attempt to assist citizens and businesses alike that are impacted.
Letter condemning violence
On a final note, some people have been asking me for my thoughts on last week’s developments in Washington, D.C. Click here to read a letter I co-authored with fellow House Republicans on the subject.
As always, stay in touch and your input is welcome on these and any other issues that are important to you as the 2021 session unfolds.