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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Dave Pinto (DFL)

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Legislative Update - COVID-19

Friday, March 20, 2020

Rep. Pinto

Dear neighbors,

It feels like weeks have passed since my last e-update on Sunday. I hope that you and your family are safe and healthy and weathering this storm. Though my legislative colleagues and I are away from the Capitol, we’re working around the clock to address the COVID-19 pandemic and help Minnesotans navigate the challenges that it has created.


 (Virtual) Chat with Dave & Kaohly – Sunday at 1:30pm

During the legislative session, I host a monthly conversation with constituents about what’s going on at the Capitol. This month’s Chat will still go forward on Sunday at 1:30pm, but given the need to #StayHomeMN (see below), it’ll be online rather than in person. And we’ll be joined by my seatmate, Rep. Kaohly Her.

We’re going to try to use Zoom, a group meeting app. To join us, you’ll need to download the free app, and then click this meeting link. Further info on the Facebook event page.

Chat with Dave and Kaohly


Helpful Resources

Our state agencies have developed a considerable volume of resources about COVID-19. Here is a list of some that may be particularly helpful:

  • For comprehensive information about the virus from the Department of Health (MDH), click here or call the MDH hotline between 7:00am and 7:00pm at (651) 201-3920.
  • For tips on identifying the symptoms of COVID-19 and information about what to do if you start exhibiting symptoms or are otherwise sick, click here.
  • For information about schools and child care, visit education.mn.gov or call the Department of Education hotline between 7:00am and 7:00pm at (651) 297-1304.
  • If your employment has been impacted by COVID-19, you can learn more about Minnesota’s Unemployment Insurance Program and apply online at uimn.org. Additional information is available at www.mn.gov/deed. The public hotline number for workers and employers with concerns is (661) 259-7114.
  • If you are a child care provider with questions, call the Department of Human Services hotline at 1 (888) 234-1268.
  • Information for Minnesotans who use Metro Transit is available at http://metrotransit.org/health.

#StayHomeMN

Many thanks to the health care and emergency personnel, grocers and pharmacists, child care providers, distributors, utility workers, and many others who are keeping essential services going. For the rest of us, it’s critical that we stop the spread of COVID-19 by staying home as much as possible and observing social distancing – keeping at least six feet apart – when we do go out. Combined with the basics – wash your hands thoroughly, cover coughs and sneezes – this will help to “flatten the curve,” reducing the demand on hospitals. A comprehensive list of measures we all should be taking is available here.

Flatten the Curve


Legislative Action

At about 3:00am on Tuesday, the Minnesota House and Senate unanimously approved an $200 million emergency funding bill to help hospitals, clinics, and other health care providers address the outbreak. The Governor has since signed the bill into law; more information available here. We are working, both in the legislative bodies and with the administration, on a wide variety of other responses as well.


State Executive Action

As you are no doubt aware, Governor Walz has signed a series of executive orders in response to the pandemic. I thought that you’d appreciate access to the list and to the content of the orders:

  • Executive Order 20-01, issued on March 13: declares a peacetime emergency in Minnesota
  • Executive Order 20-02, issued on March 15: orders Minnesota schools to close temporarily and requires schools to continue providing meals to students in need, mental health services, and care for elementary-age children of health care professionals, first responders, and other emergency workers
  • Executive Order 20-03, issued on March 18: prevents the spread of COVID-19 in Minnesota’s Veterans Homes by allowing it to temporarily restrict visitors
  • Executive Order 20-04, issued on March 16: orders the temporary closure of Minnesota restaurants and bars to dine-in customers and the temporary closure of other places of public accommodation and amusement
  • Executive Order 20-05, issued on March 16: strengthens Minnesota’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund and ensures that workers who aren’t able to work as a result of COVID-19 have benefits available
  • Executive Order 20-06, issued on March 18: exempts vehicles and drivers providing direct assistance for emergency relief efforts from certain regulations including provisions on weight and hours of service
  • Executive Order 20-07, issued on March 18: provides paid leave for state employees who aren’t able to work for reasons related to COVID-19
  • Executive Order 20-08, issued on March 18: clarifies the types of businesses and places of public accommodation subject to closure
  • Executive Order 20-09, issued on March 19: orders health care providers to postpone elective surgeries and procedures to focus health care capacity and equipment on responding to COVID-19 cases and other emergencies
  • Executive Order 20-10, issued on March 20: bans price gouging in Minnesota, a response to reports of essential goods being sold at excessive and prohibitive prices
  • Executive Order 20-11, issued on March 20: authorizes the Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) to seek federal authority to temporarily waive or modify certain requirements for federal programs to ensure they can continue providing necessary support to Minnesota families
  • Executive Order 20-12, issued on March 20: allows DHS to temporarily issue waivers or modifications to state requirements to ensure that their services can be delivered to Minnesotans safely and without undue delay, protecting vulnerable Minnesotans and those who care for them

Local Action

Both the City of St. Paul and Ramsey County have declared states of emergency. Information about the City’s response to COVID-19 is available here. Information about Ramsey County’s response is available here.

The St. Paul Public Schools are continuing to provide meals to students, even using school bus stops as meal pickup sites; a large proportion of the students at SPPS rely heavily on the district for their daily nutrition. Information about meals, child care, and other resources for SPPS students and their families is available here.


In Closing

This is a challenging time for all of us. Let’s take care of ourselves, our families, and our neighbors, especially those who are most vulnerable. We’ll get through this together. #EverybodyIn.

Thank you for the honor of serving you,

Dave Pinto
State Representative, District 64B
439 State Office Building
(651) 296-4199
www.house.leg.state.mn.us/64b

Subscribe to my email updates: www.house.leg.state.mn.us/64b
Follow my office on Facebook: facebook.com/repdavepinto

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