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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Joe McDonald (R)

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Legislative update

Thursday, July 1, 2021


There is much to talk about from the Capitol today but, first, I want to send wishes for a spectacular Independence Day weekend as we prepare to paint District 29A Red, White and Blue this weekend. It’s going to be especially nice to get out and enjoy the festivities this year and I hope you enjoy yourself.

As for notes from St. Paul, the House from a special session after having approved a series of omnibus finance bills to shape the state’s next two-year budget. The new budget is $52 billion biennial budget, an increase of more than 8 percent from the previous cycle. This spending increase is too large, especially at a time so many businesses and workers have suffered reduced income over the past year.

That said, I am pleased we were able to block billions of dollars in tax increases proposed by the House majority and the governor. It would have been a great injustice to raise taxes on Minnesotans at a time the state is enjoying a historic surplus.

Some victories in the budget include Republicans successfully working for an extension of Minnesota’s reinsurance program to prevent health care costs from soaring. And we prevented a number of costly new mandates from being placed on businesses in our state. We also stopped numerous anti-police measures that would have made it harder for law enforcement officers to do their jobs and keep our communities safe. And we delivered tax relief to businesses and unemployed Minnesotans instead of allowing the state to profit off struggling businesses and people who have been out of work.

On the other hand, there is reason for concern over a lack of progress on a couple of other issues. For example, legislative action was not taken preventing the governor from mandating California’s auto standards in Minnesota. A long-term extension for Minnesota’s reinsurance program that has reduced health care costs also was not approved.

The governor’s unilateral push to subject Minnesotans to California’s auto regulations seems to be flying a bit under the radar and that’s part of what makes this issue so problematic. He is seeking to take this action through executive rulemaking, bypassing the legislative process and public transparency this issue deserves. If successful, the governor would put unelected California bureaucrats in charge of policy in Minnesota and force electric cars on the market. This would drive up the cost of vehicles for consumers and damage dealers by making them carry electric cars on their lots regardless of demand.

In addition, the Legislature on Wednesday approved language ending Minnesota’s peacetime emergency for COVID-19 the governor declared in March of 2020. The move came on a motion made by House Republicans to amend a state government finance omnibus bill which subsequently passed both bodies.

Then, while most people were sleeping in the wee hours this morning, House Democrats amended language related to emergency powers onto an omnibus tax bill which was approved. I strongly opposed this change because it grants power to the governor’s commissioners to declare a public health emergency for nearly any reason without proper guardrails to prevent overreach.

Until next time, have a great Independence Day and please stay in touch.



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