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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Dean Urdahl (R)

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Legislative update

Friday, May 22, 2020

Dear Neighbor,

Greetings and, before we get to legislative news, I want to honor the men and women of our armed forces who have fallen as we approach this Memorial Day weekend. They deserve our most sincere gratitude for the sacrifices they made to protect us and in defense of liberty.

As for legislative notes, the House adjourned at midnight Monday as scheduled. A number of “smaller” bills were passed during the final days of session, but a bonding package and a tax bill were not among them. The governor is expected to call legislators back to St. Paul the middle of next month, so work on the unfinished items of business could take place at that time.

Here is a look at some other news:

Governor’s announcement

On Wednesday, Gov. Walz announced guidance for the next phases of his Stay Safe MN plan. This includes:

  • 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

The thing that really stands out to me with this announcement is the inconsistencies in the governors announcement, especially how he is leaving behind our churches. Even on June 1, churches, regardless of size, are limited to 10 people or less while big-box stores across Minnesota never had to shutter their doors.

Places of worship provide great services to people and right about now people could use a spiritual lift. The tight attendance restriction is going to make it extremely difficult to function. We can do better with proper procedures and protocols to allow more people to worship.

As for our businesses, many already have closed and others are hanging on by a thread. The slow path the governor has put them on to re-opening might be too little, too late for some. There was real optimism the governor would lay out plans to do more to get our economy going June 1, but that just is not the case with the guidance the governor put forward. I remain committed to working with him to safely re-open our state.

Veterans Virtual Career Fair

A Veterans Virtual Career Fair is scheduled for 1 to 3 p.m. this Thursday, May 28. The career fair is open to veterans, transitioning service members, currently serving Reserve and National Guard, family members of veterans, and caregivers of veterans. Click here for more information regarding the event, including registration details.

Flexibility for charitable gambling organizations

I recently joined a number of House Republicans by sending a letter to Governor Walz asking for his help in affording Minnesota’s charitable gambling organizations any additional flexibility that could help them resume their fundraising efforts.

This week, the Department of Revenue announced it is offering an extension for Lawful (Charitable) Gambling tax payments for organizations affected by COVID-19.

Details for how to submit the requests can be found on the MN Department of Revenue’s website; the due date is May 27. Organizations that request an extension will have until June 22 to make their payments.

Organizations affected by COVID-19 may also request that the Department of Revenue abate late-payment or late filing penalties or interest. Those guidelines can be found here.

These organizations support everything from veterans’ homes to local food shelves and their ability to raise funds has been severely limited by the closure of bars and restaurants. It is good to see additional flexibility is being provided.

Thanks and congratulations

I just want to share a quick video I made thanking our front-line workers and congratulating members of the Class of 2020. Click here for that.

Have a good Memorial Day weekend and, as always, let me know how I can help.