Legislative update from Rep. Erik Mortensen – District 55A

Monday, February 22nd, 2021

I hope folks are starting to thaw out from the polar vortex because things are starting to heat-up at the capitol. The DFL ramrodded through HF445 which would create the $35 Million S.A.F.E account to pay for the destruction in Minneapolis and St. Paul last summer. It also helps reimburse police officers that are expected to come in from across the state as the trial for Derek Chauvin begins in 2 weeks. We cannot place Minnesota taxpayers on the hook for millions of dollars thanks to the poor leadership of the Governor and the Mayor of Minneapolis.

Governor Walz also announced he was giving the “gift” of education back to our kids. After forcing us to miss Thanksgiving and Christmas he thinks he is gifting us back our individual liberties like they were his in the first place.You can watch my video update HERE.
Mort vid update
Walz Gives Back the “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 among student communities.

Perhaps more frustrating than his ‘rah-rah, aren’t we great’ mood of the presentation was the continuing attitude of a 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:Bad man Walz

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 lose their 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 SeniorsGift???  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 somehow 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 and of course these are the very activities that that state is tasked to PROTECT. Calling the lifting of a restriction “a gift” should be a rallying cry for everyone who values self-determination.  It is time to stop failing our students. But that starts with the idea that their achievements are not granted by the selfish actions of elected bureaucrats.

Protecting the People of Minnesota
This week I introduced the Second Amendment Protection Act (SAPA) as well as Stand Your Ground. Both of these bills aim to protect and advance 2nd amendment rights in the state of Minnesota. SAPA allows the state to choose whether or not they will follow federal laws that will restrict gun ownership. Stand your ground aims to change Minnesota law when it comes to protecting your family and home.

Currently we have a mandatory retreat order, meaning if someone is charging you and your family with the intent of harm, you must attempt to flee. With the riots last spring and the clear preparation of more riots coming this year we all remember what the ANTIFA lunatics threatened to come to the suburbs next.  We should be able to defend our homes and loved ones and Stand Your Ground laws empower you to do so.Both of these bills are common sense, they put the power back into the hands of the people for them to choose what is best for them while also providing legal protection for those in their own homes.
Lawsuit Against Walz
Lawsuit Graphic 
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.”

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 remove the ability for one person to govern the entire state.  This is why I’ll be introducing legislation to eliminate state of emergency powers being granted to the Executive branch.Paycheck-Protection-Program; Walz demands even more When Walz closed down businesses last year it left many restaurants and bars holding the bill for months as they were forced to close. Many were forced to apply for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to cover overhead and payroll expenses. This was the last thing many Minnesotan businesses wanted to do, asking for help is never easy and I can imagine the frustration when the only thing forcing you to do so is the Governor. Unfortunately, many business owners who received PP grants or loans are now being told to expect to pay taxes on it. They are treating it as income.

Like many business owners I am furious, how can the same man who forced them to close, who put them in the position where they had to ask for help now turn around and hold out his hand asking for more. It is because of things like this people distrust government. Restaurant and bar owners now have a target on their back and the Governor is the one holding the gun.I have sponsored a bill, HF1262, which would forgive state income taxes on these forgiven PPP loans and prevent the Governor from praying on those who have been forced to make some of the biggest sacrifices for the last year.
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

Voting is Now Open!
Some of my favorites were:
Darth Blader
Plowin’ in the Wind
Snobi Wan Kenobi
The Truck Formerly Known as Plow
Plowy mcPlowFace
For Your Ice Only
Salt Fitzgerald
L’Plow du Nord

Unfortunately,  “Rocks and Plows” didn’t make the final list.
What are your favorites? Vote HERE

Contact
If you have any questions, 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 Grayson.mcnew@house.mn.Watch the Minnesota House on Public TVVideo: Streaming Website. Also you can watch committees and Floor Sessions on YouTube.

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