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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Shane Mekeland (R)

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Legislative update

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Dear Neighbor,

There is a lot to talk about today regarding issues at the state level but, before we get to those topics, I want to let you know this will be my email updates will be on hold for the time being. We are coming up to 60 days since the regular 2020 session ended, at which point House members are forbidden from sending newsletters such as this until after the November election.

It goes without saying that I will continue working hard on behalf of constituents and individual correspondence remains welcome, it’s just these updates will be sidelined the next few months. You also are welcome to visit my official Facebook page, where much of the content that normally would be included in emailed newsletters will be made public.

As for official legislative work, we are currently conducting the second special session of the summer. It started Monday, mainly because the governor’s emergency powers were set to expire and he wanted to extend them by another 30 days.

House Republicans on Tuesday once again made a move end these executive powers Gov. Walz first enacted in mid-March. For a fifth time, House Democrats blocked such an effort. Quick disclaimer: Seeking to end the governor’s emergency powers is not indicative of people taking COVID-19 lightly. This is an attempt to return to our representative system of government where 201 legislators (and the people they represent) are involved in making decisions to protect our citizens instead of having one single executive handing down unilateral orders.

It’s disappointing the House majority refuses to participate in the decision-making process and, while COVID-19 is the subject at hand, this issue really has nothing to do with the coronavirus itself. Again, this is a matter of defending our Constitution, which provides a representative government … not an authoritarian rule.

We have now surpassed 120 days of our governor’s dictatorship and people have had enough. Minnesotans deserve to have a voice as important decisions with significant consequences for them are made. But the governor is circumventing that process and now is preparing to go it alone on heavy decisions related to a face mask mandate and the start of the new school year.

These decisions are not “emergency” material that should be subjects of the governor’s “peacetime emergency” declaration. The situation we face today calls for thoughtful decisions, not unilateral mandates based on horribly flawed modeling the governor is basing his decisions on.

Besides, the Legislature actually is IN SESSION right now, ready to give these and other subjects the scrutiny and transparency they deserve. And, if/when things evolve after we have adjourned, legislators have the ability to vote remotely under these circumstances, in real time, further rendering the governor’s emergency powers unnecessary. 

It is time to restore balance at the Capitol so that we can return to our Constitution and manage this situation to protect our most vulnerable citizens as we discuss how to safely re-open our state. Unfortunately, there is no end in sight to the end of the governor’s emergency powers. He has given no indication as to when he may relinquish his rule and the House majority is just fine sitting on the sidelines. We can only hope a lawsuit that was filed to end the emergency powers prevails (I am among the plaintiffs). A hearing took place today and we are now waiting for that case to unfold.

The special session is set to resume on Monday, with issues such as public safety reform, tax relief and a bonding bill to fund construction projects throughout the state potentially coming up for votes. We’ll see if there is resolution on those issues and others next week, or if history repeats itself and the governor/House Democrats break deals and kill compromises as they did last month.

Until next time, have a great summer and please stay in touch.

Sincerely,

Shane

 
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