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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Dave Lislegard (DFL)

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RELEASE: House Subcommittee on Legislative Process Reform reviews Gov. Walz’s COVID-19 Executive Orders

Friday, January 22, 2021

SAINT PAUL, Minn. – Today, the House Subcommittee on Legislative Process Reform held its first hearing, where members began the process of reviewing the Executive Orders issued by Governor Walz during the Peacetime Emergency. The subcommittee began with a presentation on Minnesota Statute Chapter 12, Minnesota’s Emergency Management law.

Two Iron Range lawmakers – Rep. Julie Sandstede (DFL – Hibbing) and Rep. Dave Lislegard (DFL – Aurora) – serve on the committee.

“I recognize many people in our region are frustrated with some of the executive actions taken in response to COVID-19, and I too want us to get to normal as soon as possible. It’s time for lawmakers to examine the steps in our state’s pandemic response,” Rep. Sandstede said. “Acting recklessly, however, could jeopardize our progress, including our testing and vaccination strategies. I look forward to working in this committee to find a path forward so Minnesota can not only defeat COVID-19, but ensure our businesses, schools, and families can once again thrive.”

“Early on in this pandemic, the governor took swift action to address the public health emergency, but we can’t expect every restriction to remain in place indefinitely,” Rep. Lislegard said. “As we continue to battle COVID, the Legislature needs to be a part of this decision-making process. An ‘all or nothing approach’ doesn’t work, and we need to determine – in a transparent and accountable fashion – which measures should remain. But Minnesotans expect us to make changes, and the dialogue about how we can most thoughtfully accomplish that starts today.”

Following a presentation from nonpartisan House Research on Chapter 12, the members heard testimony from Dan Huff, Assistant Commissioner for the Minnesota Department of Health; Joe Kelly, Director of Homeland Security and Emergency Management; and Cheryl Petersen-Kroeber, Director of Emergency Preparedness and Response; who spoke to the impact of COVID-19 on Minnesota. 

The next hearing is scheduled for January 29, which will focus on two of Governor Walz’s Executive Orders: Executive Order 21-01, ensuring businesses provide safe environments to protect public health; and Executive Order 20-81, requiring face coverings in indoor public spaces. 

Video of today’s hearing will be made available on the House Information YouTube page, and supporting documents and materials from testifiers are available on the committee’s website.