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

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Legislative update

Friday, April 3, 2020


I hope all is well with you and your family as we make our way through these turbulent times amid the COVID-19 outbreak. My days have been heavily occupied by fielding calls from constituents who have questions I never dreamed I’d be asked. New stones seem to be turned every day, especially in regard to the governor’s ever-growing list of executive orders.

One thing that really has come into focus over the last few weeks is that Minnesotans are tough people who meet challenges head-on. We find ways to overcome and are willing and eager to lend a hand to friends and neighbors who need help. That said, stress is mounting for all of us as we face stay-at-home orders, financial issues and an uncertain future. I encourage people to tap into resources that are available. That can involve friends, family, clergy and local professionals. You also can reach out to the Minnesota Family Council or the Live at Home Network for the services they provide.

I have been working with Foley Area CARE, part of the aforementioned Live at Home Network. Their main purpose has always been to keep seniors in their homes as long as possible. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they have not only had to cancel their fundraisers, they've also taken on broader coverage areas and added several additional demographics to those that they are serving.

Through all of this, I have been reaching out to several business leaders to help with getting donations of product for them to distribute with their volunteers. Please let me know if you have any ideas for how we can help them out.

As for other news, here are some other notes I hope you find helpful:

Business program guide

I continue receiving questions from small-business owners who need help and advice during the COVID-19 outbreak. Here is a guide from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development with good information about what’s available at the state and federal levels.

Unemployment insurance


This outbreak is coming with great consequences for workers and business owners. If you have issues with your unemployment insurance application, or questions about whether your business is eligible for a program, please contact DEED using the resources available on their website for the fastest and most accurate answers. You can visit this website to learn more about the Unemployment Insurance Program. For questions about whether you qualify for UI, how to apply and the process, please visit here. In addition, programs passed by the federal government may not yet be available — please keep checking the federal program websites for updates.


Wednesday was Census Day and I encourage you to complete the Census soon, if you haven’t already done so.

You can respond online now at or call 844-330-2020. The Census Bureau also will mail a paper questionnaire to households in mid-April that have not responded online or by phone.

Your responses matter and the data collected will help determine where billions in federal funds are spent and how our representation in government is allocated. For example, the results will inform how hundreds of billions of dollars in federal funding are allocated to more than 100 programs, including Medicaid, Head Start, block grants for community mental health services, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as SNAP. 

Visit these links for more information:

Gun stores are open

Guns open

Gun control groups have been using the COVID-19 pandemic to try to close gun stores and prevent citizens from exercising their Second Amendment rights and protecting their families. Fortunately, legislation House Republicans led to enactment in 2015 stipulates gun stores can remain open, and government is prohibited from seizing guns during a state of emergency.

Abortion letter

It is highly concerning that Gov. Tim Walz is allowing abortions to continue despite issuing Executive Order 20-09 to postpone all elective surgeries and procedures statewide as we fight COVID-19. I joined fellow House Republicans in sending a letter to the governor to address this issue. All we are asking is for the governor apply his executive order consistently. We can’t, on one hand, force procedures to be delayed for cancer patients, for example, potentially causing added discomfort and declining health, while it’s all systems go over at the abortion clinics. Furthermore, health care resources such as personal protective equipment are in precious demand. Our doctors and nurses who are leading the fight against COVID-19 should be our top priority to receive them.

Ag. Workers and COVID-19

Planting season around the corner and I am watching closely to see what impacts COVID-19 has on the agriculture industry. We have a relatively brief window to get our planting done and need to do our best to make sure our chain of various supplies and services are intact so farmers can keep doing their work to provide the rest of us with food. Here is a Preparing for sick agricultural workers and COVID-19 document from the Minnesota Department of Health. And, since farmers already were going through tough times before the COVID-19 outbreak, here is a link with information from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture regarding resources for coping with farm and rural stress.

I will be back with more news soon. Legislators continue working from home helping constituents and are on-call for duties at the Capitol. Be safe, wash your hands and please let me know if there is anything I can do to assist you.