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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Jamie Becker-Finn (DFL)

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Legislative Update - March 24, 2020

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Rep. Becker-Finn

Dear neighbors, 

I hope you and your family are faring well during these difficult times. My colleagues and I are working hard to address the COVID-19 pandemic and the many challenges it has created. Last week, we unanimously approved a $200 million emergency funding bill to help ensure hospitals, clinics, and other health care providers are equipped for an outbreak of COVID-19 and able to deliver the care Minnesotans need. 

Stay Home MN

It is very important that we all stay home as much as possible right now. I know that this is difficult, but our numbers here in Minnesota are deceptively low. Public health experts are telling us that we likely have a lot more cases of COVID-19 than we realize. Staying home is the best way to protect yourself, your family members, and your neighbors. It also protects health care and emergency workers, child care providers, grocers, utility workers, and others who are keeping essential services going. If you do have to go out, it’s important to maintain social distancing of at least six feet from people you don’t live with. Please be safe, stay home, and wash your hands.


Action from Governor Walz

As you’ve likely heard, Governor Walz has issued a series of executive orders to protect Minnesotans from COVID-19 and to prevent and slow the spread of the illness. Here’s a list of the orders that the Governor has signed, including the four new orders that he issued yesterday:  

  • 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
  • Executive Order 20-13, issued on March 21: authorizes the Minnesota National Guard to provide assistance during the COVID-19 peacetime emergency
  • Executive Order 20-14, issued on March 23: suspends evictions during the peacetime emergency
  • Executive Order 20-15, issued on March 23: establishes a Small Business Emergency Loan program for small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Executive Order 20-16, issued on March 23: directs all non-hospital entities to conduct an inventory of their personal protective equipment, ventilators, respirators, and anesthesia machines; report the result to the state; and either donate the equipment to a local coordinating entity or preserve it
  • Executive Order 20-17, issued on March 23: clarifies that Executive Order 20-09, which postpones all elective surgeries and procedures, applies to veterinary surgeries and procedures to conserve protective equipment

Accessing School Meals

All Minnesota schools are closed until March 27, but they are still providing school meals for students. Here is a list of resources for District 42B families:

Roseville Area Schools is offering two meals per day, with curbside pick-up available from 10:30am-12:30pm each weekday. All children age 18 and under are eligible. Meal delivery options for people who aren’t able to pick up meals and more details are available here.

White Bear Lake Area Schools is offering meal pick-up at select locations on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. More information and a request form can be accessed here. White Bear Lake Area Schools have also set up a Support Hub with information about crisis services, basic needs, mental health and well-being, and more. The Support Hub is available here.

Mounds View Public Schools is offering meals with curbside pick-up, available from 10am-1pm every weekday. Locations and more information for those who don’t have regular transportation is available here.

If these options don’t work for you and/or you need help accessing food during this time, please contact me at 651-300-7946 or rep.jamie.becker-finn@house.mn.


Informational Resources

Questions about health:
651-201-3920 or 1-800-657-3903 (7am-7pm daily)
www.health.state.mn.us.

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) website has sections in HmongSpanish, and Somali. Information in PDF format is available for other non-English languages too: AmharicArabicChineseKarenRussian, and Vietnamese.  

Questions about school and child care:
651-297-1304 or 1-800-657-3504 (7am-7pm daily)
www.education.mn.gov

Child care providers with questions related to COVID-19 should call 1-888-234-1268.

Information for workers and employers:
651-259-7114 or 1-800-657-3858 (7am-7pm daily)
www.mn.gov/deed/newscenter/covid/

If your employment has been impacted by COVID-19, you can learn more about Unemployment Insurance and apply online at uimn.org.


I encourage you to utilize these resources and share them with family, friends, and neighbors. Please continue to contact me if you are having trouble finding answers to your questions, or if I can be of assistance in any way. The best way to get in touch with me is by email at rep.jamie.becker-finn@house.mn or by phone at 651-296-7153.

Sincerely,

Jamie Becker-Finn
State Representative

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