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

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Legislative update

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Dear Neighbor,

It has been another busy week at the Capitol and here is a look at some of the latest headlines:

Restoring civics

Making civics more relevant in our schools remains a top priority of mine in the Legislature. My latest proposal requires classes on that subject to be offered for credit to high school juniors or seniors.

The National Association of Education Progress (NAEP), the nation’s report card, reports that our students are graduating with 23 percent proficiency in civics. In other words, over 75 percent of our graduates leave high school not knowing how our government functions.

We are failing to teach them.

When taught effectively, civics can equip students with the knowledge and dispositions necessary to become informed and engaged citizens. To that end, a bill (H.F. 562) I introduced requires that civics be taught for credit to juniors or seniors.

I submitted a column to area media with more on this issue, so please check local publications for the full text.

One year of emergency powers

Saturday brings us to one full year the governor has kept his emergency powers over Minnesotans in place. At the same time, COVID-19 vaccinations are sharply up, infection rates are dramatically down and states all around the nation are making significant moves toward more fully re-opening.

For the last 12 months, the governor has been unilaterally making decisions that impact the lives of millions of Minnesotans. It’s past time for the Legislature’s role as a co-equal branch of government to be restored so we can participate in the decision-making process because, right now, we are lagging behind most other states.

Vaccine timeline accelerated

We recently received reports showing the state’s distribution of COVID-19 vaccines is exceeding previous projections, with around 70 percent of seniors having received shots. The Minnesota Department of Health indicates it moved up the eligibility timeline to now include more people with specific underlying health conditions, along with food processing workers and those with rare conditions or disabilities that put them at a higher risk. This development is another reason our state should take real steps toward re-opening.

Last call on Calif. Cars comments

The deadline to submit public comments on Gov. Walz's California Car Mandate is 4:30 p.m. this Monday.

The governor is seeking to implement this policy through administrative rule rather than the legislature. If enacted, the California Car Mandate would raise the cost of all new vehicles for Minnesota families by $1,000 or more, reduce consumer choice, and make MN the only state in the Midwest to place burdensome regulations on auto dealerships. Let your voice be heard on this very important issue. Submit your comments here.

Have a good weekend and, as always, please stay in touch.