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

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Legislative update

Friday, January 15, 2021

Dear Neighbor,

Greetings from the Minnesota House, where this week committees continued to get rolling, House Republicans once again moved to restore balance at the Capitol, and House Democrats abandoned plans they had to further insulate the governor’s unilateral powers.

Before we get to those items, I would like to pass along information on a new state website that is available for anyone who, for a variety of purposes, may want to track Minnesota’s COVID-19 vaccination rollout. Minnesota has been slow to go compared with many other states in terms of administering vaccinations and this website 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 was produced by the Minnesota IT Services and the Minnesota Department of Health and will be updated at 11 a.m. daily. You can access the dashboard at this link.

There are more twists and turns on the governor’s emergency powers to report this week and it’s a mixed bag. The good news is Democrats backpedaled from their plan to change House rules and require a super majority instead of the standard simple majority to end the governor’s rule. This move would provide more cover for the House Democrats to keep the governor’s one-man rule going after Republicans cut into their majority for this biennium.

That said, the bad news is Democrats who had voted with Republicans in support of conducting a vote on ending the governor’s emergency powers during the interim switched their votes this week and turned it into a party-line vote. The governor’s emergency declaration, at 10 months and counting, the longest in state history, remains in place as long as House Democrats are satisfied letting one person call all the shots.

On a somewhat related note, the more than 100 executive orders the governor has issued over better part of a year seem arbitrary and inconsistent. This includes an issue I mentioned in my last email, where wedding receptions and other private parties may resume with limits. If food and drink are served at the 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 joined numerous House colleagues in sending a letter to the governor this week urging him to reconcile this issue by applying uniformity between indoor and outdoor dining at restaurants and wedding and entertainment venues. Listening doesn’t appear to be the governor’s greatest skill, but I nonetheless will continue standing up for the people of Minnesota and our businesses that are impacted by his decisions. Click here for the full letter.

Be safe shoveling this fresh dumping of snow we received and, as always, stay in touch. Next week we may dig a little deeper into House committee activity and/or discuss bills that are being introduced.

Sincerely,

Shane

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