I’d like to make the public aware that Gov. Walz has stated he would consider rescinding his emergency powers if the Legislature would put into law many of the mandates we have lived under for the past year. He has specifically called on the Legislature to put a mask requirement into state law, and unfortunately, Democrat legislators are doing the bidding of their leader and have introduced a bill to do just that.
Recently, the Health and Human Services Finance and Policy Committee held a hearing to discuss House File 604. This bill would codify the state’s mask mandate into state statute.
I am opposed to this legislation and did not vote for it in committee. My inbox has been flooded with emails from constituents urging me to oppose this legislation. Putting this mandate into law is unwise and I will continue to oppose passage of this law.
HF 604 includes harsh penalties for noncompliance, including massive fines. It also requires small businesses, which are already struggling, to police the mandate. An individual found in violation of the mask mandate would be subject to a petty misdemeanor and fined up to $100.
When a business is found to be out of compliance, the owner, manager or supervisor would be guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to a fine up to $1,000 or imprisonment for up to 90 days. Further, the business would be potentially subject to a civil penalty of up to $25,000.
When the emergency powers were put into place last March, the governor initially stated that he just needed two to three weeks to “slow the spread” and allow hospitals to prepare for COVID patients. We were then told that masks should be reserved for medical workers, and those who were healthy did not need to wear them. Then we were told that masks were recommended and certain businesses began requiring them. That was followed by the governor’s statewide mask mandate in July.
Here we are almost a year later and now the governor is stating that he will only relinquish his emergency powers if a mask mandate (with harsh penalties) is put into state law. That sounds like extortion to me. Do you see the progression of Democrats' power grab and your loss of individual freedom?
This bill codifies the one-size-fits-all approach that we have seen since the beginning, and puts the CDC and federal government in charge of when the mandate would end, not state legislators. These decisions should be made at the local level, by the people who live and work in our community, not politicians in Washington, D.C.
I urge readers to contact Gov. Walz (651-201-3400) and Democrat lawmakers to demand them to end these harmful, economy-killing, one-size-fits-all dictates on the people of Minnesota and drop the bad idea of putting a mask mandate into law.