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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Ryan Winkler (DFL)

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Minnesota House of Representatives Passes Disability Service Retention and Public Health Grants Bill

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

SAINT PAUL – Today, the Minnesota House passed legislation that provides $30.4 million of federal The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds for disability service retention and public health grants. This bill is designed to allow disability services providers to stay in operation as the state continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic. The Minnesota Senate passed the bill earlier today and Governor Walz is expected to sign it into law.

It is critical that we do not leave anyone behind during this pandemic. Supporting Minnesotans with disabilities and their families must be one of our highest priorities. This bill will provide a vital lifeline to our day and employment service providers for Minnesotans with disabilities,” said Rep. Hunter Cantrell (DFL – Savage.) “While there is much work that still needs to be done, such as securing hazard pay increases for personal care attendants, this bill moves Minnesota in the right direction.”

"We have reached an agreement to provide funding to entities that serve people with disabilities,” said House Speaker Melissa Hortman. “These providers have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, and I am pleased we are able to use federal CARES Act funding to assist them.”

This bill authorizes DHS to offer two rounds of grants. The first provides retention payments for fixed costs endured by providers during the pandemic. The second provides public health grants to eligible providers who have implemented or intend to implement COVID-19-related public health measures that facilitate social distancing practices.

"Supporting vulnerable Minnesotans should always be a top priority for our state — especially during a pandemic," said House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler. "Today we're stepping in to provide needed assistance for our disability providers, and we will continue to do all we can to support Minnesotans during this difficult time."

The full bill can be found here. The House floor debate will be available on the House Public Information’s YouTube page here.