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

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Legislative update

Friday, March 27, 2020

Dear Neighbor,

It seems to be COVID-19 news around the clock these days, including in St. Paul. Yesterday the Legislature approved a bill to further our COVID-19 response and earlier this week Gov. Tim Walz issued a “Stay at Home” order, effective at 11:59 p.m. today.

Over the past week, the four legislative caucuses worked together to negotiate a variety of provisions for the bill we approved related to the COVID-19 pandemic. House Republicans successfully advocated for multiple sunsets, reporting requirements, and other accountability measures. Earlier this month, the legislature approved $221 million in funding to assist with COVID-19 preparation and response. Click this link for more details on the bill which passed the House 99-4 Thursday.

There is no blueprint for us to follow as we take on the COVID-19 outbreak because we’ve never encountered anything quite like this in modern history. We are all in this together, so it is important to work together and that’s what we did today at the Capitol. I’m just focusing on doing what I can to help businesses and families in our area work through this tough situation. Our work is far from finished on this issue.

Stay at Home order

As for the Stay at Home executive order, so many constituents have been asking important questions that it is challenging to answer each directly or as quickly as I would like.

While I may take some time to respond to these questions, here is an overview and some available resources:

Current closures for bars, restaurants, and other public accommodations under previous executive orders have been extended until May 1 and digital home schooling was extended until May 4.

The Stay at Home order will last two weeks and will limit movement outside homes beyond essential trips for two weeks. It is effective at 11:59 p.m. today until Friday, April 10. Click here for the full order. And here is a site with general FAQs related to Minnesota’s Stay at Home order.

The order allows Minnesotans to leave their residences only to perform any of the following activities and while doing so they should practice self distancing: Health/safety activities, outdoor activities, purchasing necessary supplies and services like groceries and medicine, essential and interstate travel, care of others, displacement, relocation to ensure safety. This is not a comprehensive list.

Workers who provide critical services are exempt for the purposes of traveling to their jobs. This list includes: Healthcare and public health; law enforcement, public safety, and first responders; child care, food, and agriculture, news media, energy, water and wastewater, critical manufacturing. 

This, again, is not a comprehensive list, and Minnesotans should visit this link for additional guidance. 

If your business is currently considered non-essential and you would like to request an exemption from the Stay at Home order, please submit a request to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development here. And this link provides information from DEED regarding the Emergency Loan Program for Minnesota Small businesses that recently was created.

I understand the stress, confusion and anxiety that many Minnesotans are feeling during this uncertain time. Please know that legislators at the state and federal level are working together to provide assistance to families and businesses.

Second Amendment Note

On a final note, in 2015, House Republicans passed and Gov. Dayton signed into law a bill authored by my District 15B predecessor, former Rep. Jim Newberger, to make sure the Second Amendment Rights of Minnesotans would not be infringed upon, even during a state of emergency. There will be no door-to-door firearm confiscation in the state of Minnesota.

If you are a District 15B resident experiencing denial or delays with your permit renewal, please let me know. I am here working for you and advocating for our Second Amendment rights.

Please reach out to me if you have questions or if I can assist you in any way. I will keep you posted as further legislative action is considered.

Until next time, stay safe, wash your hands and be healthy.



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