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

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Legislative Update from Rep. Mary Franson

Friday, September 3, 2021

Dear Friends,

I have heard from so many of you about your concerns surrounding vaccine passports in Minnesota. This is my pledge to you - I will always continue to work for medical freedom. I believe coercion is NOT consent. I do not believe government, Pharma, big tech, and business own your body - only you can make those decisions on what to inject into your body. I trust you to make those decisions for yourself and family.

In California, Democrat legislators are trying to implement vaccine passports through a “gut-and-amend” tactic. Democrats are planning to use a current bill on bridge tolls and amend it with COVID-19 language to bypass the legislative process. The proposed change would authorize “an establishment...[to] require each person who is eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, who seeks to enter the indoor facilities of that establishment, to show proof to...the establishment that the person has been vaccinated against COVID-19….”

Much like Minnesota, the Governor of California, Gavin Newsom, led the state’s COVID-19 response with little input from the legislature. Newsom is now facing a recall election in the Golden State. The Los Angeles Times reported on the political advantages, and disadvantages, of implementing a vaccine passport system before the recall:

But the proposal, which is still in draft form and has not been introduced in a bill, requires weighing serious considerations such as enforcement, costs, implementation, the political will of the state Legislature and how such a sweeping statewide mandate could help or hurt Newsom’s chances of beating back a possible recall.

This is an issue I warned about early in the pandemic, and one that I have been working hard to stop. Rep. Lucero and I introduced a bill in April to prohibit vaccine passports in Minnesota. The World Health Organization released a document just last week on the technical requirements for countries and other entities to issue digital COVID-19 vaccine certificates. You can read their recommendations here. Documents like this one show that the fight against vaccine passports is coming to a head. Rep. Lucero and I will be re-introducing our bill to prohibit them next session, and I will continue to be your advocate on this issue.

Reopening DMV Locations  

I share the frustrations of many of you who are concerned about driver’s license exam wait times and the need to travel miles to visit the nearest exam station. When the COVID-19 pandemic first hit in early 2020, the Department of Vehicle Services (DVS) closed its in-person testing facilities. Later that year, they significantly consolidated the number of stations and reopened only 14 sites. These 14 sites were supposed to serve the entire state of Minnesota.

Since then, DVS has been ordered to reopen all 93 exam stations statewide. To date, there are only 26 exam stations open to the public. Locations, hours and services are listed on the DVS locations page.  DVS plans to reopen all 93 stations by Jan. 31, 2022.

To assist with this process, the legislature will provide nearly $5 million over the next two years for the costs to reopen all driver's license examination stations that were closed in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.