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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Brian Daniels (R)

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Legislative Update from Rep. Brian Daniels

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Dear Neighbors,

While the COVID-19 outbreak changes our daily lives and routines, I want you to know that I will continue to work representing the citizens of District 24B, even as the Minnesota House’s daily operations have been altered.

The House will formally remain in session as the state addresses the pressing public health issue surrounding COVID-19, with meetings and floor sessions taking place on an on-call basis until April 14. Alternate means of working will allow the House to respond to the needs of Minnesotans, while also fully complying with Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) guidelines including social distancing, limiting large gatherings, telework, and increased cleaning measures necessitated by COVID-19.

I strongly urge everyone to listen to the advice from health experts as we all do our part to help stop of the spread of COVID-19. While the legislature will not be regularly meeting, we will remain responsive to Minnesotans and I am committed to representing you and your family and am available via phone and email if you have any questions or concerns.

The Minnesota Department of Health has hotlines available to assist Minnesotans, 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:

School Closures and Child Care Information

I also encourage you to visit your school district’s website to learn more about school closures:

The Minnesota Department of Health has a hotline available related to schools and/or childcare. Call (651) 297-1304 for more information. 

Governor Executive Order

Governor Walz announced yesterday the mandatory closure of restaurants, bars, and other public places where crowds generally congregate. 

Closing schools and businesses across the state will likely cause significant hardship for many families and individuals.

In order to mitigate some of the economic hardship employees will face, Governor Walz issued an additional executive order for workers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic to 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 www.uimn.org to learn more.

Strengthening Hospitals

Early this morning, the House unanimously approved legislation that provides 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.

Staying in Touch

This crisis will eventually pass, and life will return to normal. Until then, I encourage you to listen to health experts and stay informed.

Please continue to reach out to me if you have any questions or concerns. I can be reached by phone at 651-296-8237 or via email at rep.brian.daniels@house.mn.

Have good day and be well,

Brian