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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Paul Novotny (R)

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Capitol Newsletter from Rep. Paul Novotny

Friday, February 12, 2021

Dear Neighbors,

Wednesday’s tragic events in Buffalo shook the entire state to its core. My heart aches for the community and for the families of those that were impacted. The perpetrator should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Thank you to the brave Buffalo Police Officers, Wright County Sheriff's Deputies, and first responders that responded to yesterday’s tragedy as well as the medical personnel who provided care to the injured.

Please continue to keep Buffalo in your thoughts and prayers.

Reopening Schools

While schools around the nation and globe have had their doors open during the pandemic, our governor has unilaterally decided to keep most of Minnesota’s schools closed to in-person learning.

These closures are causing significant damage to student’s academic achievement and mental health.

With thousands of Minnesota students still in remote learning and school reopening guidance rumored in the coming days from the Walz administration, House Republicans held a news conference Thursday to push for legislation that would empower local school districts to make the best decisions for their districts and remove the Governor's ability to unilaterally keep schools closed.

Local school boards and superintendents need to be given the flexibility to make decisions that make sense for their communities and the families and children they serve.

The science and data show we can safely get our students back in the classroom — even President Biden's Centers for Disease director said multiple times last week that we can safely return to in-person learning before all teachers are vaccinated. 

It’s time to reopen the schools and help students recover from the academic and emotional damage they are suffering.

Mask Mandate?

I have received emails from many of you urging me not to support House File 604. HF 604 would codify the governor’s mask mandate into state statute. This is a bad idea and something I do not support.

The bill includes harsh penalties for non-compliance, including massive fines. It also requires small businesses, which are already struggling, to police the mandate.

The one-size-fits-all approach we have seen since the beginning is wrong and this bill would put the federal government in charge of when the mandate would end - not state legislators or the governor. These decisions should be made at the local level, by the people who live and work in our community, instead of politicians in Washington, D.C.

Staying in Touch

Please be sure to reach out to me if you have any questions, concerns, or ideas on ways to improve state government. I can be reached by phone at 651-296-4237 or via email at

Have a safe and warm day,