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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Jeremy Munson (R)

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Friday, February 12, 2021

February is off to a cold start, I hope you and your family are able to stay warm and safe during this polar vortex. Politics in St Paul is anything but usual, as all 134 members of the House of Representatives attempt to create legislation and the Biennium budget remotely. Legislators are struggling to communicate, and we don't even have a list of cell phones for other lawmakers.  Committee chairs have disabled the chat function on Zoom so we are no longer able to pass notes in committees or ask clarifying questions of one another, as we used to in the past. We can no longer drop by the offices of other legislators to discuss and build support for bills. This has prevented meaningful debate and allowed some bills to pass through committees without proper time for the public to testify. 

My prediction: This year the spending and policy will be mostly written by leadership ("management") of the House. The budget agreement between Governor Walz, House Speaker Hortman, and Senate Leader Gazelka will likely not occur until the last week of Session, like what occurred in our last budget year, two years ago. Thousand-page Omnibus Bills will again be constructed behind closed doors and brought to the House floor in the final hours before we are constitutionally required to adjourn until 2022.


Walz Dials Back Restrictions

Walz dials back

This friday Governor Wal announced he was going to be dialing back some of his COVID restrictions.

Executive Order 21-07, effective Saturday, February 13 at noon, takes steps to further reopen Minnesota’s economy safely, including:

  • Increasing the “not to exceed” capacity in restaurants to 250, while leaving the maximum capacity at 50 percent
  • Increasing indoor entertainment “not to exceed” capacity to 250, while leaving the maximum capacity at 25 percent
  • Increasing private events and celebrations “not to exceed” capacity to 50, while leaving the maximum capacity at 25
  • Increasing gym and pool “not to exceed” capacity to 250, while leaving maximum capacity at 25 percent, and reducing distancing requirement to 6 feet.
  • Allowing restaurants to stay open until 11 p.m.

While I am glad to see business owners finally getting back the freedom to run their businesses how they see fit Walz still left strict restrictions in place limiting weddings and funerals. Both of these are extremely personal and emotional moments for families. I have heard from a lot of people who have had to make the tough decision of who can and cannot attend a funeral. How Walz can justify having 250 people at a concert but limits funerals to 25 shows just how much he is ignoring the facts. His lockdowns have destroyed small businesses including the wedding industry, it's time to reopen Minnesota and let people make these decisions for themselves.

A Blank Check for Minneapolis

Governor Tim Walz held a press conference last week to discuss creating a SAFE Account which would provide $35 million of taxpayer dollars for security to keep protestors and rioters in control after the jury releases its verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial in Minneapolis.

There are numerous concerns over this proposal, starting with issues law enforcement organizations themselves have raised. The Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association, Minnesota Sheriffs Association and Minnesota Police Chiefs Association wrote in a letter to the Public Safety committee that "Our members remain concerned...that no matter what legislation is passed, the response for mutual aid will not be as robust as the public may expect. Our members' concern is due to the continued demonization of law enforcement officers by certain public officials at various levels of government."

As a supporter of law enforcement, my focus is making sure our officers have the resources needed to respond to riots and unrest. The failures by Gov. Walz and Minneapolis Mayor Frey that we saw last summer cannot be repeated. The actions of Minneapolis' City Council to reduce the size and defund their police department have consequences and this past week the mayor said Minneapolis is down 200 police officers compared with 2019.

Supporters of the SAFE Account want Minnesota taxpayers on the hook for millions of dollars incurred, in part, by bad decisions made by Minneapolis. At the same time, there are no assurances that lives will be protected, and public safety will be upheld even if this money is provided.

There are several other reasons I cannot support this House DFL proposal, including the unilateral authority it gives the DPS Commissioner to decide how reimbursements are determined, the expanded scope of costs eligible for reimbursement (including planning and after-action reporting), and the proposed creation by the POST Board of model policies that create new guidelines and consequences for responding law enforcement.

I believe Attorney General Keith Ellison refused to disclose important evidence. He has overcharged the officers, heightening expectations of liberal activist groups, which Governor Walz is struggling to control. This is also why an eight-foot chain-link fence remains in place, keeping you out of our State's capitol building.

The House will be voting on this annual fund and the initial $35 million of taxpayer spending for Minneapolis on Monday.

Jeremy Munson Town Hall on Zoom


“California” Green Energy First Bill


As you have likely already heard, Governor Walz is proposing a massive overhaul to the state's green energy initiative. The goal is to make Minnesota carbon neutral by 2040. To do that they are going to require renewable energy to be used unless a traditional energy source is cheaper. The catch is the new restrictions will make using traditional energy sources much more expensive.  HF10 received a hearing this week in the Climate and Energy Policy and Finance Committee, I offered four amendments to the "California" Green Energy First Bill:

?? Requiring wind turbine blades to be disposed of in MN or recycled

?? Requiring solar developers to clean up the toxic chemicals from industrial solar arrays 

?? Public Utilities Commission should not support child slave labor used to make green energy products

?? Requires the Commission to compare carbon emitted during the entire supply chain (mining, refining, manufacturing, transport, energy production, and decommissioning) of all energy sources instead of pretending that wind turbines and solar panels grow out of cornfields.

“California” Green Energy First Bill

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has scheduled public information sessions to discuss the Governor's proposal to bypass legislative due process and bring California's auto standards to Minnesota through rulemaking. The sessions will be online at 3 p.m. on February 22-23. Click here for more regarding those sessions. Before adopting the new rules, there is a public comment period running through March 15. You can learn more or submit your comments here.

Vaccination Update


There continues to be a very short supply of vaccines in Minnesota, with about 35,000 doses being available to seniors as of last week. If you already signed up for the state’s vaccine pilot program, you do not need to take any further action, as they will be continuing to draw names for the state’s community vaccination sites. Those who were not able to get onto the waitlist should reach out to their healthcare providers directly to see about scheduling a vaccine. You can find the list of vaccine providers here:

There is still a limited amount of vaccine, so appointments may not be available at each of these sites.

Of the 918,000 seniors in our state, only 12% have received a vaccine. Seniors are at the highest risk for illness, hospitalization, and death from COVID, and need to be the priority in our State’s distribution plan. Minnesota has been allocated 444,166 vaccine doses and only 25% of those have gone to Minnesota’s seniors. The rest have gone to everything from prisoners to teachers and even zoo workers. Minnesota’s seniors are more at risk than any of these groups and need to be prioritized as such.

90% of Minnesota’s deaths from COVID have come from the 65 and up population. At the rate we are vaccinating, it will take 16 weeks to vaccinate all of our seniors.

These websites have good additional info: 

COVID-19 Community Vaccination Program / COVID-19 Updates and Information - State of Minnesota

Vaccine Locations / COVID-19 Updates and Information - State of Minnesota

Cassy’s Law moves out of Committee

TIm Barry

This week, HF865, “Cassy’s Law”  unanimously passed the committee on public safety. I authored this legislation in 2019 after meeting with Tim Barry, the father of Cassondra Barry. Cassy was 26 when she gave birth to her daughter and had hernia surgery, which resulted in a massive stroke, damaging her frontal lobe.  Her leg was amputated to save her life. Due to her lack of impulse control, she ran into trouble with the courts and was in solitary confinement for most of the time she was incarcerated.

This bill directs judges to order a neuropsychological evaluation before sentencing when a defendant with a traumatic brain injury (TBI) is convicted of a felony. If the assessment reveals a lack of impulse control due to a TBI, then sentences could be adjusted to seek effective treatment. We should not be criminalizing mental illness. 

This legislation passed the House with bipartisan support last year, and I am a co-author of this years’ bill carried by Rep. Athena Hollins (D-St Paul) to help people in Minnesota. I am pleased to see Rep. Luke Frederick (D-Mankato) as another local co-author, as he brings his experience from working at the St Peter Regional Treatment Center to this effort. We need to work together more often when our priorities align. I will continue to fight for this legislation as it advances through the legislative process.

The Governor's Budget

Walz unveiled his budget for the 2022-2023 biennium. He proposes a new fifth income tax rate of 10.85 percent and a hike in the corporate income tax rate to 11.25 percent. Minnesota already has the fifth-highest top rate of state personal income tax in the United States - 9.85 percent on income over $164,400 a year. Only Oregon, New Jersey, Hawaii, and California have higher top rates.

Minnesota does not just tax "the rich" heavily. Our State's lowest personal income tax rate - 5.35 percent on the first dollar of taxable income - is higher than the highest rate in 25 states.

The strategy of simply increasing taxes to cover our spending "wants" is not good long term planning. There are many wonderful reasons people choose to live in Minnesota, but we must be careful to assume those reasons have limits. Especially when the amount of people's income subject to taxation continues to grow. We have always accepted that corporations and high income earners represent a smaller portion of our society, but pay a larger portion of the state taxes. If a larger portion of those corporations and people move their permanent residence to lower tax states, this will not only decrease the number of jobs, but also disproportionately increase the tax burden on everyone. This is a concern we must keep in mind as we exponentially increase our spending year over year. We must also remember that as corporate taxes increase, new companies choose not to build here and existing companies choose not to expand. Those who continue to do business in Minnesota simply pass the additional costs on to the consumers, or decrease their wage costs.

You can count on me to honor my commitment to never support a tax increase.  In fact, it's time the State shared in the sacrifices that it's forced upon many of us since last March. These unconstitutional and immoral lockdowns have placed an extreme burden on business owners in our State. The Governor plans to increase taxes on these folks who have managed to weather the storm. His budget is short-sighted and reckless.

Requiring Masks by Law


In the Health Policy and Finance Committee, I voted against HF 604, a bill putting into law the Governor’s Statewide mask mandate. I received hundreds of emails opposing this bill. I support people's individual rights and their ability to take whatever steps they feel are necessary to protect one's self. I also support a business's right to ask customers to wear masks. 

By turning this into law we are not only setting a dangerous precedent but also signaling to all Minesotians that Walz doesn’t trust you. His executive powers have gone on long enough, and this bill will simply prove to him that these lockdowns were the right thing to do. Masks and these lockdowns have proven to be far more dangerous than the virus itself. 

Recreational Vs Medical Cannabis


Last week, House Democrats introduced a bill - HF 600 - to legalize recreational marijuana in Minnesota. In response to this legislation and many emails and phone calls from constituents for and against this issue, I conducted an online, ten-question survey. I received responses from over two thousand individuals.  Participants in the survey were 59% female / 41% male, 58% Republican / 42% Democrat or other party affiliation and spread evenly across all age groups. The results from two questions on expanding, or legalizing cannabis in Minnesota are listed below:

Q1; Do you support the medical cannabis program, which allows cancer patients and others with a doctor's permission to use cannabis?

3%: No, any cannabis use is wrong

22%:  Yes, I support medical cannabis oil, and it should stay limited

74%   I support expanding medical cannabis to allow bud (plant material)


Q2; If recreational marijuana was on the ballot in 2022, how would you vote?

73%:   Yes

27%:   No

Minnesota is one of 35 States which allow medical cannabis but the only State which does not allow plant material. 15 States, including South Dakota have legalized the personal use of cannabis. Given the change of power in DC, we are likely to see changes to the federal prohibition of cannabis. Whether or not you support expanding cannabis use in Minnesota, I believe it is important to study the impacts and address legislation around future changes. Given the overwhelming support for medical cannabis, I do believe it is important to address these concerns which will allow our veterans easier access to cannabis as an alternative to opiates or other prescription drugs.

Heating assistance

There is still assistance available to income-eligible households (both owners and renters) for home heating bills and furnace repairs. The State's Energy Assistance Program can help by providing financial assistance, such as:

  •       Pay past due energy bills to avoid disconnection
  •       Purchase fuel for delivery in emergencies
  •       Repair or replace homeowners' malfunctioning furnaces.

The application period is open until May 31 this year, and you can find more information and links to apply at the Minnesota Department of Commerce website










Thank you for being engaged in Government,


Jeremy Munson

State Representative, 23B


If you have any questions regarding COVID-19, please don’t hesitate to contact me or my office. We are still attempting to provide regular contact remotely so if you have other needs, please email my Legislative Assistant, Grayson, at

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