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

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Legislative Update from Rep. Mary Franson

Friday, February 11, 2022

Dear Friends,

Wednesday evening the Deputy Commissioner of DEED spoke with the Workforce Committee where he admitted that a House DFL bill to repay the state’s Unemployment Insurance (UI) deficit would still result in higher taxes for businesses for SIX YEARS. You can watch the Deputy Commissioner’s full remarks here

There is bipartisan support by House Republicans, Senate Republicans, Senate Democrats, and even Gov. Walz to fully repay and replenish the UI Trust Fund in order to stop businesses from seeing a tax hike. Businesses are already struggling under the Biden/Walz economy. They are already dealing with higher costs, supply chain challenges, mandates, and workforce issues. The last thing they need to do is pay higher taxes.

School Closure Bill

Because our children have not suffered enough from distance learning, the DFL has a bill that will make it easier for schools to close, giving as little as one day notice. The bill would allow schools to declare a "crisis learning period" which would make online learning "the primary mode of instruction for all students" for "a period of time" in the event of an "unforeseeable incident or situation such as a natural disaster, pandemic, or other catastrophic event that creates an unsafe or untenable in-person learning environment as declared by a school district or charter school." 

Distance learning has been catastrophic for academic achievement. We need to be focusing on keeping kids in the classroom so they can make up for lost learning. Making it easier to close schools does not help students improve their reading or math scores.

Minneapolis and St. Paul End Vaccine or Test Mandate

Yesterday, the mayors of Minneapolis and St. Paul finally lifted their vaccine or test mandates for restaurants. During the month the vaccine mandate was in place, we heard story after story about how restaurants saw significant declines in traffic. January is already the slowest month of the year for the restaurant and hospitality industry. This mandate did nothing to help businesses, instead it drove customers away to the suburbs. 

Now Minneapolis and St. Paul need to join other states and cities who announced the end of their mask mandates this week. It is time we end these mandates, especially for students in the classroom. The pandemic is well and truly over. It is time we start rebuilding our businesses and making up for lost learning

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