SAINT PAUL – The 2020 Minnesota Legislative session adjourned for the year Sunday night. With the emergence of COVID-19, the session’s focus quickly shifted to directly addressing the public health and economic impacts of COVID-19. While some beneficial measures were passed into law, many solutions to deliver a brighter future for Minnesotans did not advance due to Republican opposition.
“Minnesotans are counting on us to work together and address the challenges they are facing right now during this global pandemic,” said Rep. Liz Olson (DFL – Duluth), the House Majority Whip. “I look forward to Republicans joining us to address the outstanding health and economic security issues before us so every family can weather this crisis and have the opportunity to thrive.”
“COVID-19 is challenging all of us, and we’re at a critical juncture as we determine the path forward together. A lack of action on these important measures is certainly a setback in our efforts to build a better future for our state,” said Rep. Jen Schultz (DFL – Duluth). “Our work on these important issues doesn’t stop with the legislative session ending, and we remain committed to ensuring our economy can recover and we have the tools we need to combat this pandemic.”
Many of the session’s accomplishments relate to the state’s COVID-19 response. The Legislature delivered funding for public health, resources for health care workers, aid for child care, housing and food security, small business assistance and more. Lawmakers also approved a package of legislation providing flexibility and resources in a variety of areas during the crisis, including approval of wills and marriage licenses, expanded telemedicine, remote local government meetings, and alternative health care facilities. Should a frontline responder to the virus contract COVID-19, legislators also reached a consensus to better ensure these Minnesotans would receive workers’ compensation benefits.
Governor Walz also signed other important measures into law including the Alec Smith Emergency Insulin Act, the Prescription Drug Price Transparency Act, Tobacco 21 legislation to prevent youth smoking, and a bipartisan bill to protect the safety and security of elections.
Unfortunately, Republicans blocked other key priorities important to Minnesotans and their communities, including a robust jobs and local projects plan, a measure to ensure hourly school employees receive compensation during the peacetime emergency, the ratification of state worker contracts, and a COVID-19 Economic Security Agenda. Rep. Schultz, Rep. Olson, and House DFLers remain committed to enacting these important solutions to protect Minnesotans’ health, wellbeing, and economic security.
Following adjournment, the House Select Committee on Minnesota’s Pandemic Response and Rebuilding will continue addressing COVID-19, engaging lawmakers and members of the public to review the federal and state responses to the pandemic and assess needed policy changes moving forward.