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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Erin Koegel (DFL)

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Rep. Erin Koegel Support Legislation for Frontline Worker Pay for Long-term Care Workers

Thursday, July 1, 2021

St. Paul, Minnesota — Today, Rep. Erin Koegel (DFL- Spring Lake Park) proudly voted in favor of legislation to define the duties of a nine-member legislative working group tasked with disbursing $250 million in federal COVID-19 recovery funds to frontline workers. The provision was part of the Omnibus Tax Bill that passed off the House floor today.

Rep. Koegel was the author of the legislation first introduced in March that would have provided one-time Hero Pay bonuses to support workers who stayed on the job caring for seniors in long-term care settings throughout the pandemic.

Under the legislation, the members of the working group will make a recommendation for distributing federal funds to frontline workers for the governor and legislative leaders to consider by Sept. 6, 2021. The working group will direct financial support directly to workers in the long-term care industry and include other workers based on factors such as the workers’ increased risk of virus exposure due to the nature of their work.

“Long-term care workers risked their health and worked in extremely challenging circumstances to care for and protect Minnesota’s most medically vulnerable and isolated seniors,” said Rep. Koegel. “These professionals – many of whom already struggle with significant financial burdens and demanding work schedules – deserve to be recipients of this aid. It’s time to put long-term care workers who are on the front lines, at the front of the line.”

The broader bill is the product of an agreement by legislative leaders in the Minnesota House and Senate and Governor Walz. Funds will come from the federal American Rescue Plan, which sent over $8 billion in recovery assistance to Minnesota. The US Treasury has approved use of the funds for direct support to those who bore the “greatest health risks because of their service in critical infrastructure sectors.”