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Legislative Update from Rep. Sondra Erickson

Thursday, July 1, 2021

Dear Neighbors,

The 2021 Special Session wrapped on Wednesday, with the legislature passing the final budget bills, avoiding a state government shutdown while also putting into law an end to the governor's emergency powers. 

Ending the emergency was long overdue and something that I have voted for over 20 times since the pandemic began. We should now turn our attention to a permanent rewrite of the Chapter 12 statute to make sure that future governors are unable to abuse a peacetime emergency.

While I was unable to support every finance and policy bill that came before the House, it is good that all of the major tax increases and controversial policy pushes from House Democrats were eliminated from the final agreements. Importantly, the Taxes bill includes the PPP and UI tax relief fixes that will help thousands of Minnesotans. 

This is good news for Minnesota.

Independence Day Weekend

With the special session over, we can now turn our attention to the 4th of July holiday weekend.

This year, we will celebrate the 245th anniversary of American independence. This day does not only represent the creation of a new nation, but the creation of a new civilization, one founded on the principles of freedom, self-government, and equality.

During these days of debate about critical race theory, a theory that divides us, I want to emphasize what some great Americans have said in the past about unity versus division. They often used the signers of our great Declaration of Independence and Constitution to prove their points. 

In a speech in 1852 during the celebration of our nation, Frederick Douglass who escaped from slavery spoke about the Founding Fathers as men of courage who “preferred revolution to peaceful submission to bondage.” He said that the fathers of our republic were statesmen, patriots, and heroes, and praised them for the good they did, and the principles for which they fought. 

President Abraham Lincoln a few years later echoed the same ideas as he noted in his speech at Gettysburg that “… our fathers brought forth, upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”

Later in the speech, you may recall, he said, “It is rather for us, the living, to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us that, from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here, gave the last full measure of devotion that we here highly resolve these dead shall not have died in vain; that the nation, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

One hundred years later, President John Kennedy focused on a political theory of the American founding that relies on natural rights. 

In a speech on July 4th, he said that the American Constitution has set down for all to see the essentially Christian and American principle that there are certain rights held by every person which no government and no majority, however powerful, can deny. He reminded us that the right of the individual against the State is the keystone of our Constitution. Each of us is free.

A few short years later Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. clarified that equality does not mean that every musician is a Mozart or every philosopher an Aristotle, but that all men are “equal in intrinsic worth.” He pointed to the Biblical concept of imago dei, emphasizing that we are all created in God’s image. 

And in the 1980s on July 4th, President Ronald Reagan spoke eloquently of our need for unity. “And so tonight we reaffirm that Jew and gentile, we are one nation under God; that black and white, we are one nation indivisible; that Republican and Democrat, we are all Americans.”

We are One flag, one land, one heart, one hand, one nation evermore! We must stand united, not divided as critical race theory purposes.

Staying in Touch

Please be sure 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 rep.sondra.erickson@house.mn.

Have a great 4th of July,

Sondra

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