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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Cal Bahr (R)

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Monday, June 22, 2020

St. Paul – Members of the New House Republican Caucus commented on the end of the 1st 2020 Special Session.

Rep. Steve Drazkowski, leader of the caucus said, “House Democrats wanted everything. They refused to compromise. They got nothing. The Governor is saying that it’s Senate Leader Gazelka’s fault and making outlandish claims about what was on his wish list, much of it unrelated to COVID or the civil unrest in Minneapolis. This was simply another attempt to get his pre-COVID supplemental spending proposal passed.  He wanted to spend money when we are in a deficit. The only thing he’s right about is that federal aid intended for our communities for COVID response was held hostage by politics – instigated by him.”  

Rep. Tim Miller said, “We missed a historic opportunity to come together and agree on a Public Safety bill that would address problems that were shown in stark relief in our core cities at the end of May. The House and Senate had hours of hearings and floor speeches and yet there was no attempt to get to a bipartisan agreement at the end.  I don’t believe the House Democrats were responsible for that, I think the Governor gave them directions to ram their proposal through and threaten the Senate to take it or else.  I am glad to see that the Senate did not give in to emotional blackmail and threats. Still, it’s sad to see that leadership could not have a discussion because the Governor wanted his way or the highway. Unfortunately, Minnesotans got the highway.”

“This special session was a necessity, not merely because of COVID funding and Public Safety,” said Rep. Jeremy Munson.  If the Governor's peacetime emergency powers are not ended, the Governor will continue to hold unilateral power, something he has threatened to use to write laws upon which the House and Senate do not agree. During the special session, the House and Senate Republicans stood together to vote against this abuse in a joint resolution to end the peacetime emergency. This resolution had bipartisan support. Hopefully, next time more House Democrats will join us and help return the power to write laws to the legislature, Rep. Munson added.”

Rep. Cal Bahr said, “This session will be noted for high emotional drama and not much else. There were sloppily and hastily written bills rushed to the floor –cut and paste jobs that nobody had time to read.  The single-subject rule was routinely ignored, with the worst example – the federal COVID relief bill containing everything from a $500 bonus to welfare recipients, to $6 Million for the Minnesota Zoo, to $5 Million for invasive aquatic species. They wanted to spend money we don’t have. The “police reform” bill contained felon voting – a contentious issue unrelated to police reform and the bill for cleaning up Minneapolis after the riots expanded eminent domain and created a permanent, 7-county metro sales tax.  It was not the finest hour in the Minnesota House of Representatives.”

The NHRC is led by Rep. Steve Drazkowski (Republican-Mazeppa). It includes Rep. Cal Bahr (Republican-East Bethel), Rep. Tim Miller (Republican-Prinsburg), and Rep. Jeremy Munson (Republican-Lake Crystal).