The Legislature is into its second month and thus far I have managed to work both across the aisle and increase accountability in St. Paul. I’m proud to say a bill I co-sponsored last month with a handful of Democrats has already become law.

The bill I’m referring to is HF17 and it empowers people to acquire a marriage license remotely instead of having to go to a county registrar. I advocated to make this change permanent but instead it ended up only being a band-aid that gets us through May 2021. Which, of course, means that this issue will have to be addressed again later this year.

This has become a theme in the Legislature, much of the legislation we’re hearing and debating is due to COVID-19 patchwork that wouldn’t have otherwise been necessary if Gov. Tim Walz had given up his dictatorial powers.

As a business person there are few things I despise more than wasting time away that could be spent doing something productive that improves our current state. Many members of the Legislature would rather spend infinite amounts of time hashing out meaningless details that have little if any impact on the lives of Minnesotans instead of working on the large problems facing our state: mental health, economic and civil liberties, education, patient-centered health care and overall reducing the burden the state places on Minnesotans each day. And of course the best way to make improvements on all of these fronts is end Governor Walz’s unconstitutional and immoral executive powers.

That said, I have found ways to proceed and get some things done — often in a bipartisan manner. In addition to HF17, I have co-sponsored a bill that reforms Civil Asset Forfeiture in Minnesota. This was a Democrat-authored bill but as I’ve promised you, I would support any legislation that alleviates government burdens. HF75 is expected to reduce the number of vehicles seized by the state by 50% and is expected to reduce cash forfeiture events by up to 75%. I do not believe people’s assets should be seized by the state when they haven’t even been convicted of a crime.

In addition, I co-sponsored HF474, another DFL-authored bill that provides a $1.4 million tax cut for school fundraising activities by removing their need to pay sales tax on their fundraising activities.

Of course, I have been working with other Republicans in the Minnesota House that share my mission of Protecting the American Dream. I have co-authored legislation to end state income taxation on Social Security income. Minnesota is one of very few states that still taxes Social Security income and it’s pushing our senior citizens away from their families and into neighboring states.

On the Equal Shared Parenting front, I have both authored my own bill, HF963, and co-sponsored two other shared parenting bills. Getting courts to value both parents equally is a necessary step that will greatly reduce the amount of friction in already contentious divorce situations. I will be throwing a lot of weight into this non-partisan issue as the legislative session progresses.

Lastly, as you may have heard I have filed articles of impeachment against Gov. Walz. All other attempts to bring his emergency powers to a close have failed and I cannot look any of you in the eyes and tell you that I did everything possible to restore the constitutional balance of power in St. Paul unless we use this final arrow in our quiver. The governor has been repeatedly violating our state and U.S. constitutions and we simply must hold him accountable. I do not take this lightly and I’m sickened with the accusations of this being a political decision. We frankly have no choice if we wish to protect our Constitutional Republican form of government.

If we don’t hold Walz accountable for his violations then we set a dangerous precedent that empowers future governors to abuse their powers in the same way Gov. Walz has.

Unfortunately, they still are not allowing the public into the state office building, but if I can be of service to you please don’t hesitate to contact me at rep.erik.mortensen@house.mn.

Erik Mortensen, R-Shakopee, represents District 55A in the Minnesota House of Representatives.

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