On March 26, the Legislature approved a new package of economic aid for small businesses, workers, childcare providers, and other Minnesotans who are experiencing financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Governor Walz signed the bill into law today. The federal government has just approved a sweeping economic stimulus, and we will soon learn what it means for Minnesota.
These are the first steps in what will need to be a long-term, comprehensive plan to help Minnesotans. This is an unprecedented public health crisis that will have an unpredictable and lasting impact on our state. Please continue to care for each other, treat each other with kindness, and do your part to follow public health guidelines.
My office is a resource that is available to help you navigate public agencies that are providing financial support. If you call my office at 651-296-4218 please be prepared to leave a voicemail message and include your full contact information (House staff are tele-commuting in order to comply with public health guidelines). You can also send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have a neighbor, friend, relative, or coworker who would appreciate receiving the same information in these emails, let them know they can subscribe here.
Updates from the Legislature
As a result of yesterday’s legislative action, resources for Minnesotans impacted by COVID-19 are being provided in the following ways:
- Funding for small business loans, including restaurants and bars.
- One-time grants for child care providers.
- Financial assistance for food banks, food shelves, and related transportation costs.
- Investments in secure, safe housing for senior citizens, people with disabilities, and Minnesotans experiencing homelessness.
Click here to download a copy of the entire bill. Click here to download a summary of the bill produced by the nonpartisan House Research Department, which includes specific appropriation amounts.
Minnesotans deserve an explanation as to why this bill does not include vital assistance for some groups of people, including hourly school workers, emergency responders, and health care workers. The Minnesota House fought hard in negotiations with the Senate to do the following:
- Extend workers’ compensation benefits for firefighters, police officers, EMTs, nurses, and other health care workers who get sick on the job.
- Provide financial assistance for hourly school workers, such as cafeteria workers, custodians, and certain paraprofessionals.
Senate Republicans would not agree to provide this vital assistance, and it was ultimately left out of the final bill. This is very disappointing and it will let down thousands of people who are working to help Minnesotans. We can do more, and we’ll need your voice to put pressure on elected officials and ask them to do the right thing.
On March 17, the Legislature unanimously approved a $200 million emergency appropriation to provide funding for hospitals, clinics, and health care providers. On March 9, the Legislature unanimously approved a $21 million emergency appropriation for public health officials to address COVID-19. The Legislature is expected to take additional actions in the weeks and months ahead while adhering to public health guidelines.
Updates from the Governor
To slow the spread of COVID-19 across the state, Governor Tim Walz signed Executive Order 20-20 directing Minnesotans to stay at home and limit movements outside of their home beyond essential needs. This order takes effect at 11:59pm on Friday, March 27 and ends at 5:00pm on Friday, April 10. Visit www.mn.gov/stayhomemn for information and answers to your questions.
Here is what you need to know:
Minnesotans may leave their residences only to perform any of the following activities, and while doing so, they should practice social distancing:
- Health and safety activities, such as obtaining emergency services or medical supplies
- Outdoor activities, such as walking, hiking, running, biking, hunting, or fishing
- Necessary Supplies and Services, such as getting groceries, gasoline, or carry-out
- Essential and interstate travel, such as returning to a home from outside this state
- Care of others, such as caring for a family member, friend, or pet in another household
- Displacement, such as moving between emergency shelters if you are without a home
- Relocation to ensure safety, such as relocating to a different location if your home has been unsafe due to domestic violence, sanitation, or essential operations reasons
- Tribal activities and lands, such as activities by members within the boundaries of their tribal reservation
Workers who work in critical sectors during this time are exempt from the stay at home order. These exemptions are based on federal guidance from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security with some Minnesota-specific additions. This includes, but is not limited to, jobs in:
- Healthcare and public health;
- Law enforcement, public safety, and first responders;
- Emergency shelters, congregate living facilities, drop-in centers;
- Child care;
- Food and agriculture;
- News media;
- Water and wastewater;
- Critical manufacturing
The Governor also today issued executive orders extending the closure of bars, restaurants, and other public accommodations set forth in Executive Orders 20-04 and 20-08 until May 1, 2020 at 5:00 pm and authorizing the Commissioner of Education to implement a Distance Learning Period for Minnesota’s students beginning on March 30 through May 4, 2020.