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

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Legislative update

Friday, May 14, 2021


As we celebrate National Police Week, I want to personally thank the men and women who protect and serve residents in our local communities. 

Dear Neighbor, 

Happy Fishing Opener weekend! I hope you are able to get out on the lake this weekend and enjoy some beautiful weather (if the forecast holds up). Good luck and, please, be safe on the water. Just a quick reminder that if you still need to purchase a couple’s fishing license, both of you will need to be present to sign for it. This is an unnecessary burden I would like to see removed in the future but, for now, just want remind people of this requirement to help eliminate some potential last-minute scrambling. 

As for news from the Capitol:

State budget remains unfinished 

The Legislature is set to adjourn on Monday. Not only is there no agreement on a new two-year state budget, but the deck is increasingly becoming stacked against meeting the deadline.  

As has been the case throughout the session, it appears the House majority’s insistence on raising taxes by billions of dollars amid a historic surplus remains the largest roadblock to an agreement. In fact, with the session just days from concluding, Democrats still have not taken their billions in unnecessary tax hikes off the table.  

The lack of movement is doing a disservice to Minnesotans, especially as it continues to make Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Unemployment Insurance (UI) relief subject to negotiations. Business taxes were due nearly two full months ago, and the May 17 extended tax filing deadline is fast approaching. Further inaction could result in thousands of Minnesotans who were out of work over the past year being stuck with a tax bill they can't afford and forced to file for an extension as they wait for action on a bill that has overwhelming bipartisan support in both chambers.

It is time to acknowledge tax increases are not needed at a time the state has more than $4 billion in surplus funding, quit holding bipartisan tax relief hostage and get a budget in place before any more damage is done to Minnesotans.

Wasteful spending 

The latest reports on spending by the Walz administration from federal COVID relief funds show hundreds of thousands of dollars in wasteful spending — including money to pay off Democrat consultants, “talking circles” abortion doulas, and more.

Wasteful spending items include:   

  • Nearly $100,000 to a non-profit which specializes in providing abortion doulas   
  • $12,500 payment to a radio station to broadcast the Governor’s press conferences  
  • $275/hour contract with a New York public relations company  
  • $20,000 per month to Stone Arch Strategies to “provide strategic communications support and services” to the Governor’s Communications Team. 
  • $50,000 to a non-profit to establish talking circles, complete with $20 gift cards to incentivize participation  
  • Nearly $20,000 to a non-profit to recruit volunteers to put together “wellness bundles” including tea and non-traditional health supplements  
  • Contracts to several different entities, each promising to produce videos that will reach tens of thousands of viewers, with YouTube pages that show they reached tens of viewers   

These are prime examples of bad things that happen when one person bypasses the legislative process to make all the decisions, has has been happening the last 14 months under the governor’s emergency powers. This trend of questionable spending does not bode well with billions of dollars in federal relief coming to our state and it is crucial for the Legislature to be involved in decisions related to appropriating that money. 

Mask mandate lifted

It was nice to see the CDC follow the science and data by updating its COVID-19 guidance yesterday, indicating fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask. It also was good to see the governor follow the CDCs lead by lifting the statewide mandate on masks. With infection rates down and vaccinations up, this is a nice step forward and I am glad to see this development. This also is further evidence it is beyond time to end the state of emergency in our state, retire the governor’s emergency powers and restore checks and balances at the Capitol.

Look for more news as things unfold at the Capitol. We anticipate this will be a working weekend – the only question is how much will be accomplished, something which largely hinges on the House majority abandoning its push to raise taxes when the state has a sizable surplus. 



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