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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Mary Franson (R)

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Legislative Update from Rep. Mary Franson

Friday, May 14, 2021

Dear Friends,

Can you smell it? That’s right. That is fresh air undisturbed by a mask. Last night Governor Walz announced that he is following the new CDC guidance and is lifting the mask mandate. So take them off and smile at your neighbor, they need to see your friendly face.

While I am glad that the Governor is finally following the science on the mask mandate, he must end the mask mandate for children at school. The science has consistently shown that COVID poses a very low risk to kids. Our children are still in school and they must be allowed to breathe during the day.

End School Mask Mandate

(Lack of) Budget Update

With the regular legislative session set to end on Monday, I wish I could provide you a full update of all the budget bills we’ve passed, and the schedule to complete our work on time. Unfortunately, the Speaker and the Governor are all admitting that we are heading towards a special session to complete the budget.

With so much work that needs to be done for Minnesotans, it is shameful that the DFL is not stepping up and getting to work. We need to provide Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan and unemployment insurance relief. We need to ban vaccine passports. We need to end the Governor’s emergency powers. The DFL, however, is happy to continue profiting off of businesses and families after a difficult year. They are happy to not put protections in place to keep Minnesotans’ vaccine data private. And the DFL is happy to let Gov. Walz continue his one-man rule.

Last night, I was appalled that after the DFL passed zero budget bills, refused to drop their billions in tax hikes, and with just days left in session that they wasted our time passing a marijuana bill that has no chance of becoming law. But this is what we are up against! My Republican colleagues and are I are down in St. Paul every day trying to get meaningful results for Minnesotans. With over a $4 billion surplus, passing a budget should be simple. We don’t need to raise taxes to take care of our families and businesses, yet the DFL is still pushing for higher taxes and dawdling on PPP/UI relief.

I wish I could give you a sunny, optimistic forecast that the legislature is going to roll up its sleeves and finish the job you elected us to do on time. Unfortunately, it looks like the DFL needs to head into overtime to realize that raising taxes on Minnesotans is a no-go after our families and businesses have sacrificed so much over the past year.

Walz Waste

Because we didn’t know it already, but the Governor has not made good choices with his executive powers. Reports surfaced this week illustrating just how wasteful Walz was with federal COVID relief funds. Below is an example of just a few of Walz’s spending “priorities”:

  • Nearly $100,000 to a non-profit which specializes in providing abortion doulas. After a year of “wear a mask to save lives,” the Governor thought it wise to spend money on abortions.
  • $12,500 payment to a radio station to broadcast the Governor’s press conferences. Because he wanted to ensure his propaganda had a large audience.
  • $275/hour contract with a New York public relations company. No one was available in Minnesota?
  • $20,000 per month to Stone Arch Strategies to “provide strategic communications support and services” to the Governor’s Communications Team. 
    • The point of contact on the contract is Brigit Helgen, a DC-based political consultant, and daughter of Henry and Michele Kelm-Helgen
  • $50,000 to a non-profit to establish talking circles, complete with $20 gift cards to incentivize participation. What even is a “talking circle”?! 
  • Contracts to several different entities, each promising to produce videos that will reach tens of thousands of viewers, with YouTube pages that show they reached tens of viewers. Sounds like a good return on investment!

We must end emergency powers. The Governor cannot continue to operate alone. The legislature must be allowed to do our job to work with Walz, provide oversight, and have a say in how tax payer dollars are spent.