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Senate Report: Bill would change future use of emergency powers by governor

Senate Report by Gene Dornink

Friends and neighbors,

Over one year ago, Gov. Walz worked with the Legislature and enacted emergency powers over the state of Minnesota. Throughout that time, the Legislature has been left out of many important decisions made by one person. Our government relies on a balance of power to function, and that balance has not happened in a year now.

Gene Dornink

On Monday, the Senate passed a bill that will change the way emergency powers will work in the future. This bill was passed with tri-partisan (Republican, Independent and Democrat) support and will ensure the Legislature is involved even in peacetime emergencies. Currently, the governor can renew his emergency powers every 30 days and the only way to get rid of them is a majority vote from both bodies. This is difficult in a split Legislature with partisan politics, and as it stands, one man is ruling over our state with no checks or balances. Gov. Walz has made unilateral decisions that impacted many Minnesotans in negative ways; if the Legislature were consulted, I believe we could have mitigated some of these negative impacts throughout the state. One man in St. Paul does not know the needs of families and businesses in our district. This bill would fix this problem should we need emergency powers again in the future.

In addition to the legislation updating and limiting the governor’s emergency powers, I have been excited and proud to also be involved in a bill to eliminate income tax on Social Security benefits. Minnesota is one of a few remaining states that still tax Social Security benefits, and it is time we put a stop to this regressive tax. Our senior citizens have worked hard through their lives for their families, communities and our great state. We should not place extra burden on them while they are trying to enjoy the retirement that they earned. I introduced a bill to eliminate this tax, which, after it passes through committee, will soon be heading to the Senate floor.

As your senator, I will always have a passion for agricultural projects. This week, I had a couple bills in committee that will support the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute (AURI), redevelopment grants and demolition loans, Minnesota Job Creation Fund, and the Minnesota Investment fund. Appropriating money for these important programs will improve smaller communities who rely on agricultural growth.

I remain committed to working for our community here at the Capitol. I will continue to support legislation that will provide good governance and positive change for our communities. If there is any legislative issue you would like to learn more about or share your opinion, I encourage you to reach out to my office at Sen.Gene.Dornink@Senate.MN or 651-296-5240.

Gene Dornink, R-Hayfield, is the District 27 senator.