On Monday, March 15, 2021, House Republicans tried to bring legislation to the House Floor for a vote that would prevent tax hikes on Minnesota businesses who received Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. The bill, Senate File 263, had passed on a veto-proof 55-12 vote in the Senate last week.
Democrats blocked the motion, thereby making sure that thousands of businesses around the state will be hit with large tax bills.
This inaction is indicative of a broader problem with how Democrats are running the Minnesota House of Representatives. In fact, Democrats have presided over the least productive start to a legislative session in recent history dating back to at least 1995. In the 10 weeks since the start of the session, they have passed just five bills.
As a small-government conservative, I am certainly not advocating for more laws and growing government. However, there are simple things we can do right now to help businesses and Minnesotans that have been harmed by the Governor’s forced closures. The first being providing a fix to the PPP issue.
Business Restrictions Eased
Last week, the Governor announced an easing of restrictions. Here is a summary of the easing of restrictions that went into effect March 15th:
- Social gatherings: Up to 50 people outdoors or 15 people for indoor gatherings, both without household limits.
- Youth sports: Pod size increasing to 50 for outdoor activities.
- Religious services: Remove occupancy limit, but social distancing required.
- Celebrations: Follow venue guidance.
- Bars and restaurants: Increasing allowable occupancy to 75%, up from 50%, with a limit of 250 people. The limits apply separately indoors and outdoors. Bar seating increases to parties of 4.
- Salons/barbers: Removing the occupancy limit, but social distancing is required.
- Gyms/fitness centers/pools: Increasing allowable occupancy to 50%, up from 25%. Outdoor classes can increase to 50 people.
- Entertainment venues: Increasing allowable occupancy to 50%, up from 25%, both indoors and outdoors, with a limit of 250.
As more Minnesotans are vaccinated, work from home will no longer be required – but it will continue to be strongly recommended – beginning April 15. All employers should continue to accommodate employees who wish to work from home.
Bill Heard in Committee
The first bill I signed onto when I took the oath of office last year received its first hearing in the Health Finance and Policy committee last Friday.
House File 568 allows emergency medical personnel to provide emergency medical care to police dogs wounded in the line of duty without being licensed by the Board of Veterinary Medicine.
This is timely legislation with two recent examples of canines being shot in the line of duty within a week earlier this month.
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 email@example.com.
Have a good day,