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

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Legislative update

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Dear Neighbor,

Way back in mid-March, the governor declared a peacetime emergency so he could quickly issue executive orders as we faced fears a massive COVID-19 outbreak would take place. He has extended those emergency powers by 30 days three times and we are now nearing Day 100 of his authoritarian rule.

Back when this whole COVID-19 issue cropped up in Minnesota, the governor said a quick response would help prevent a patient overrun of our hospitals. He also has indicated emergency powers were needed to ensure enough personal protective equipment is available for first-line responders. And to flatten the curve/push out the peak. And to make sure adequate testing is available.

Now, as we face four full months under one-man rule, all those things are happening or have happened, yet the governor continues to extend his powers and bypass the Legislature, crippling the balance of power in our representative system of government.

Some people are wondering if the governor will extend his powers month by month well into November. I’ve even heard this directly from well-placed Democrats.

Why would the governor keep Minnesota under restrictions until at least mid-November? Why is he not clear about what has to happen before he will take his thumb off Minnesotans and allow our state to safely re-open?

As a legislator, I would never question a governor’s motives. But I am hearing from plenty of constituents who are and I can’t say I blame them.

People also are asking me what we are doing to get a grip on the governor and end his emergency powers. I have voted to end his solo rule four separate times on the House floor but the liberal House majority continues blocking these efforts. The Republican-led Senate also passed a proposal to end the governor’s tyranny but, again, the House majority threw up a roadblock preventing approval from both bodies that is needed to stop the governor’s clear abuse of power.

Given the House majority’s lack of willingness to pump the brakes on the governor and start showing some leadership, we are looking to the courts. I have joined a number of fellow legislators in filing a lawsuit against the governor to end his emergency powers. The Walz Administration has been ordered to provide legal justification for their actions no later than Thursday. A formal hearing for this lawsuit has been set for July 16.

Stay tuned and look for more news soon as we make our way through the ongoing special session.