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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Chris Swedzinski (R)

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Report from the House

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Dear Neighbor,

As is the case pretty much everywhere else, daily operations are going to be different at the Capitol as the state works to combat the COVID-19 outbreak. The most important thing we can do is to take advantage of today’s technology to remain in constant communication.

People are urged to take advantage of Minnesota Department of Health hotlines, including a public line (651) 201-3920 and a line for questions specifically related to schools and/or childcare (651) 297-1304. Several online resources also are available to help individuals stay up to date:

Early Tuesday morning, the House approved nearly $200 million in additional funding to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill provides $50 million to the Public Health Response Contingency Account for use by providers, ambulance services, health care clinics, hospitals, and long term care facilities. It also allocates $150 million to the newly-created Health Care Response Fund for grants to providers for costs necessary for COVID-19 response. 

This outbreak is coming with great consequences for workers and business owners in Minnesota. The governor has issued an executive order to ensure workers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic have full access to unemployment benefits. According to the Minnesota Unemployment Insurance Program, the executive order makes applicants eligible for unemployment insurance benefits if:

  • A healthcare professional or health authority recommended or ordered them to avoid contact with others.

  • They have been ordered not to come to their workplace due to an outbreak of a communicable disease.

  • They have received notification from a school district, daycare, or other childcare provider that either classes are canceled or the applicant’s ordinary childcare is unavailable, provided that the applicant made reasonable effort to obtain other childcare and requested time off or other accommodation from the employer and no reasonable accommodation was available.

The executive order also eliminates the one week waiting period to ensure applicants have access to unemployment benefits as quickly as possible, and assures business owners that benefits paid as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic will not increase their future unemployment tax rate.

If your employment has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the department urges you to apply for unemployment benefits online. Visit the Unemployment Insurance Program website at to learn more.

On a final note, I want to say a special thank you to our farmers and people who work in the ag. industry that make it possible for us to have food on the table. Your efforts are truly appreciated.

Be safe and stay in touch.