Senator Andrew Lang and Representative Dave Baker address a special session at a virtual town hall on Friday


WILLMAR – State Senator Andrew Lang, R-Olivia, and State Representative Dave Baker, R-Willmar, addressed about 50 people on Friday morning at a virtual town hall that discussed concerns about the reopening of Minnesota.

Lang and Baker continue to work towards their return to St. Paul on June 14 for a special session to discuss state budget bills and Gov. Tim Walz’s emergency powers in peacetime.

“Senator Lang and I spoke almost every other day about the issues affecting our district and how we can make sure that nothing we are doing is slowing things down or competing to get the budget forward,” said Baker. “We’re still in this waiting pattern now, (waiting) for the governor to call us back in special session.”

Lang doesn’t expect the special session to take long because “the House and Senate have agreed on what we’re going to spend.”

He expects the budget for the biennium to be around $ 51.2 billion to $ 51.6 billion. An increase of approximately 4.2 to 4.3% compared to the last biennium.

Having a budget agreed upon between the Minnesota House and Senate, Lang hopes they will begin and end the special session today to limit the burden on the Minnesotans to get everyone back to St. Paul.

“We’ve been five in the last five years,” Lang said. “It’s a 100% batting average on going to a special session”

With the reopening of Minnesota, Baker responded to concerns he was receiving from the community about how businesses are struggling to find and retain employees.

“Employers (are trying) a lot of creative things: sign-up bonuses, higher rates of pay, and extra perks,” Baker said.

Baker presented House File 2648 on May 15 before the end of the legislative session. He hopes to get the bill off the floor of the House in the June special session.

Also discussed during the meeting:

  • Public safety still creates a lot of concerns and divisions in Saint-Paul as they discuss what is fair and what is best for the safety of the community when it comes to reinvesting in Minneapolis. Agape Movement – an organization that was hired by the City of Minneapolis to bridge the gap between the community, law enforcement officials, and the city itself – and Minneapolis were discussed as they “have a sort of of a strange relationship ”with the city.

  • Problems with both state and federal evictions moratorium in how funds are distributed, calling on landlords and tenants to work together.

  • The tax exemption plan for people who have received individual allowances of up to $ 10,200 as well as paycheck protection program loans, so beneficiaries do not have to pay income tax. these funds, was agreed but not adopted.

  • It is hoped that an important broadband bill will be passed later this year.

  • California clean car emissions standards were discussed. Baker and Lang believe Walz will side with the Minnesotans and leave the decision in the hands of the consumer, for now.

  • It was the last planned virtual town hall. Lang and Baker both plan to keep Town Hall, but move it in person later this year.

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