This week conference committees met to finalize the omnibus budget bills. As a reminder, for every $21 in new spending the House DFL passed in their omnibus bills, they only cut taxes by $1. Now is the time for Senate Republicans to push back on this irresponsible spending spree and give Minnesotans the permanent, meaningful tax relief they need.
Last week I was proud to vote for the veterans omnibus bill. The legislation included bonuses for veterans and gold star families who served our country after 9/11, and funding construction costs and enhancements to veterans’ homes throughout the state. In addition, funding was provided to address veteran homelessness, money for the State Veterans Cemetery in Redwood Falls, and other veterans related programs.
It is so important that we honor and recognize the service of those who risked their lives to defend our freedoms. I am pleased that the House was able to come together to support our veterans and honor their sacrifices to our nation.
DEED sent letters to Minnesota’s employers this week to provide information on the tax changes and credits because of the bill that passed two weeks ago to replenish and refund the unemployment insurance (UI) trust fund. Remember, had the legislature not acted our job providers would have faced a massive, multiyear tax increase. The best way for employers to view their updated billing information is in their UI employer account. More information can be found here.
On Wednesday, the House passed a bill to make changes to Minnesota’s current liquor laws. I was pleased that my amendment to permit the City of Alexandria to issue a wine and strong beer license for its NAHL Junior Hockey League events at the Runestone Community Center was included in the final bill. However, there were some other troubling provisions that made me unable to vote ‘yes’ on its final passage.
Most concerning was the creation of the Liquor Regulation Advisory Council. Its membership would be made up of stakeholders – retailers, wholesalers, and manufacturers – who would be appointed to five-year terms. However, the inception of this council has not been transparent. Apparently, these groups have agreed to cease negotiations on changes to our liquor laws for the next five years. Under the agreement, these stakeholders would not be able to work with the legislature on changes to Minnesota’s liquor laws. These shady, backroom agreements lack transparency, and I am not willing to tie the hands of our local industry providers. I hope during conference committee the Senate removes this Liquor Regulation Advisory Council from the final bill.
I have heard from numerous concerned unvaccinated state employees in our district who are still being subjected to weekly testing. These workers are demanding that this testing be stopped, and I couldn’t agree more with them. This practice is discriminatory and makes no sense. Every day we hear about more vaccinated individuals who are getting COVID. Just this week, the Speaker of the House announced she has COVID despite receiving numerous shots.
There are no logical reasons to test healthy people when those who have received a vaccine are just as likely to contract and spread COVID. Even Bill Gates agrees with this! In a recent interview he compared COVID to the flu saying “We didn’t understand that it’s a fairly low fatality rate & that it’s a disease mainly in the elderly, kind of like flu is, although a bit different than that.” He then went on to say, “once Omicron comes along, the vaccine is not reducing transmission, hardly at all, particularly about three or four months after you take the vaccine.”
It is time to end these asinine COVID practices. It no longer matters if you are vaccinated or unvaccinated, you can still get coronavirus. I will always stand up for your freedom and privacy when it comes to your personal medical decisions, and I will continue pushing to end these testing requirements for state employees.