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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Sondra Erickson (R)

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Legislative Update from Rep. Sondra Erickson

Friday, May 22, 2020

Dear Neighbors,

Memorial Day is the day that is set aside to remember with gratitude and pride all those who served and died for our country and our freedom. May your day be filled with memories and peace. God bless America.

2020 Session Ends

The 2020 legislative session ended Sunday at midnight. As one can imagine, this year’s session was largely dominated by the state’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Committee meetings were held via video conference and members voted remotely, over the phone, when legislation came to the House floor. It was strange to be in session with around 24 members in the House chamber instead of the usual 134.

In the final weekend of session, the legislature approved bills related to transportation, public safety, local government, and more. There are a handful of bills that remain unfinished and need to be negotiated and passed during a special session including a bonding bill and hopefully a tax bill that addresses Section 179 conformity.

Remember, due to the COVID-19 crisis, the state is facing a $2.4 billion budget deficit. Difficult decisions will need to be made in the coming weeks and months to address our new economic reality as we balance our budget.

At this time, it sounds like a special session will be held on June 12th, although that could change. Stay tuned for more details in the weeks ahead.

Governor Announcement on Business Closures

The state’s Stay at Home order expired this week. Beginning this past Monday, retail stores, malls, and other main street businesses were able to reopen if they have a safety plan put in place that will help keep employees and customers safe. These stores are now able to operate at no more than 50 percent occupancy. 

On Wednesday, the Governor announced additional steps restaurants, salons, and other public accommodations can take to reopen by June 1st.

Here is a brief recap from the announcement:

  • 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

Additional information can be found here:

Guidance for campgrounds and outdoor recreation can be found here:

The fact is that many businesses simply can’t survive until June 1. 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. We must trust our businesses to protect the health and safety of customers and employees. 

His latest actions are just further proof that Governor Walz needs to drop his emergency powers and work closely with the legislature as we respond to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Letter to Attorney General Ellison

I am troubled by news reports that Attorney General Keith Ellison’s office has been contacting small businesses in rural Minnesota, threatening them with a fine of up to $25,000 if they reopen before the government-mandated business closures are lifted.

In response to this, I joined my House Republican colleagues and sent a letter to Attorney General Keith Ellison’s office asking him to reconsider these actions.

You can read the letter here.

The Attorney General's office has better things to do then financially threatening Minnesotans who have gone without a paycheck for months.

For too long, our Main Streets have been emptied as a result of government-mandated closures. The reality is when a Main Street business in rural Minnesota shuts down, it likely never reopens. 

Veterans Virtual Career Fair

If you are a veteran looking for work, there is a Veterans Virtual Career Fair next Thursday, May 28, from 1pm-3pm. The career fair will focus on jobs in the healthcare industry, and is open to veterans, transitioning service members, currently serving Reserve and National Guard, family members of Veterans, and caregivers of Veterans. To read more about this event and register here.

Staying in Touch

Please continue to reach out to me if you have any questions or concerns. I can be reached by phone at 651-296-6746 or via email at

Have a good weekend,