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

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Friday, February 19, 2021

The Governor's "GIFT" of Education

On Wednesday morning, Governor Walz made an announcement regarding Minnesota schools. Starting February 22, all middle and high school students can return to the classroom for hybrid or in-person learning. It is expected that all schools will offer some form of in-person learning by March 8. The on-going shutdown of education venues has been one of the most egregious failings of this administration despite the scientific data available many months ago that showed how limited the risks were in among student communities. 

Perhaps more frustrating than his 'rah-rah, aren't we great' mood of the presentation was the continuing attitude of benevolent dictator granting us permission to enjoy life. I have a couple of statements I specifically want to respond to so if you missed the press conference, see these short video clips from the beginning of his presentation:

The Fabrication of Local Control

Giving control to local schools is an egregious twist of facts.  School districts regained control of very little. If COVID positive tests in a rural county exceeded a low threshold (considering population density) schools lost control.  Districts were required to adhere to mandates from the Governor’s office on myriad of details - not really local control.

Governor Walz' GIFT to High School Seniors

Gift???  Please, no more gifts!  The mental gymnastics required to think that lifting a restriction that precluded spending Thanksgiving or Christmas with family, closing restaurants, bars, places of worship, schools, or any place where people would gather, socialize, interact, and be FREE is some how a gift is ludicrous. Removing those restrictions to allow students to receive adequate educational opportunities and achieve milestones like GRADUATION is not "a gift."  The government does not - CANNOT - give gifts.  Government is one thing only: it is raw power.  The government can’t give you anything that it did not take from someone else first.  It can’t give you a gift of freedom to assemble, associate, worship.  It can only restrict those activities. Calling the lifting of a restriction "a gift" should be a rallying cry for everyone who values their very being.  It is time to stop failing our students. But that starts with the idea that their achievements are not granted by the largesse of our benevolent authorities.

Getting Back to Representative Gov't

Also on Wednesday, the Minnesota Court of Appeals heard oral arguments in the lawsuit brought against Governor Walz by members of the legislature and the Free Minnesota Coalition. This lawsuit challenges Governor Walz's authority to declare a peacetime emergency and unilaterally write law. The appellate court will rule in the coming weeks.

Since the New House Republican Caucus is part of the coalition filing suit, we issued the following statement:

“We are disappointed by many of the statements made in today’s case. Judge Larkin proposed that Governor Walz should be given the authority to veto the legislature’s decision to terminate his peacetime emergency powers. This would make it impossible to ever end a Governor’s peacetime emergency in the future. The judges also raised questions about whether the plaintiffs had standing as individual legislators rather than the body as a whole, and whether the claim had to wait until after both bodies of the legislature had agreed to end the peacetime emergency.

We have endured one-man rule for too long, which has resulted in innumerable hardships and losses for Minnesotans; however, we remain hopeful that we will see a restoration of freedom for the people of Minnesota. No governor should be able to unilaterally write law for an indefinite period of time. This is a gross abuse of power, and it needs to be corrected by the courts.”

Lawsuit Graphic

Regardless of how the court rules, the real problem exists in the statutes as written that grant the Governor the ability to declare a state of emergency to begin with. The only way to FIX the problem is to change that part of law. For this reason, I have introduced HF 1346 to drastically change how a true state of emergency would operate and appropriately limit the authority of the executive branch to work in concert with legislators rather than independent of any constitutional checks & balances as Gov. Walz is currently doing. I will provide more information on that bill and the progress of Chapter 12 Emergency Powers Reform in coming weeks.

Gov't is Tracking Your Cell Data

Did you know that the government is buying your cell phone data? I have introduced a bill that would prohibit this practice and require that the existing data be destroyed. You can listen to an explanation of the bill in the video below.

You can read the bill here: Rep. Bahr explains HF 955.

Something on the Lighter Side

Snowplow Poll

With all the stresses of life under Pandemic Pressure compounded with the subzero temperatures of a MN winter, there is some fun to be had in our very necessary transportation infrastructure. 

MnDOT is sponsoring a poll to name a plow for each of the eight MnDOT districts. After reviewing nearly 24,000 submissions, MnDOT staff narrowed the list down to 50 finalists. Now it’s your turn to vote for your favorites!

Choose Freedom,


Cal Bahr
State Representative, 31B

Coming up Next Week

  • Much to the GREAT frustration of Speaker Hortmann & Majority Leader Winkler, they were not able to get enough of their fellow DFL colleagues to support the Governor's proposed "SAFE" Act to even hold the expected vote this last Monday. They ended up tabling the bill after the author made his presentation. Then they brought it back Thursday - and tabled it AGAIN  I am certain that we may see it come back in some form and we'll let you know!
  • I have received a lot of calls and emails from my community about HF 604 - the mask mandate. Let me assure you that I do not support the mandatory wearing of masks and will be voting against any bill that would require you to wear one.


We are still attempting to provide regular contact remotely regardless of our COVID-19 restrictions so If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us - please email my Legislative Assistant, Barbara, at

Watch the Minnesota House on Public TV

Video: Streaming Website. Also you can watch committees and Floor Sessions on YouTube.