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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Mary Kunesh-Podein (DFL)

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Stay at Home Order Extended

Friday, April 10, 2020

Dear Neighbors,

We have all been greatly impacted by the spread of COVID-19, but our children and students have been especially impacted. While our schools continue to operate thanks to distance learning and our adaptable educators, concerns remain about how this is impacting our students. I know many of you have questions and concerns around this issue, and I want to hear these directly from you.

Check out some of the amazing work our educators are doing to help Minnesota work its way through this crisis. Jarred Severson is a constituent & a fellow teacher, I couldn’t be prouder to represent someone like him!

On Monday, April 13th, at 12:30pm I will host a virtual town hall on my facebook page. I hope to focus on how COVID-19 is affecting our education system, and what we are doing about it at the Legislature. Please email me any questions, concerns, or stories about how distance learning is impacting your family at rep.mary.kuneshpodein@house.mn.

sgeSD

Governor Walz Extends Stay at Home Order

Minnesotans have been doing a great job following the social distancing orders. We are leading the country when it comes to flattening the curve. However, we aren’t out of the woods yet, and if we go back to “normal” too soon we would undo everything our sacrifice has won us. That’s why it is important that Governor Walz extended the Stay at Home order until May 4th. What we are doing is working, now we just have to find the strength to keep it up.

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Legislature Passes Workers’ Compensation Bill

We gathered remotely on Tuesday to pass critical legislation to ensure that healthcare workers, first responders, and home health aides are eligible for workers' compensation in the unfortunate event that they contract COVID-19 while serving Minnesotans during this public health crisis. In particular, the legislation provides a presumption that if these workers contract COVID-19, they did so during the course of their employment and are covered by workers’ compensation.

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Which First Responders are Covered by the Bill?

Here is a list of the occupations that are covered by the presumption in the bill:

  • Firefighter,
  • Peace officer,
  • Paramedic,
  • Emergency medical technician (EMT),
  • Health care provider, nurse or assistive employee in a health care, home care or long-term care setting who works with COVID-19 patients,
  • Nurse, health care worker, correctional officer or security counselor at a correctional facility, and
  • Child care providers who are required to provide child care for the children of first responders and health care workers under the governor’s executive orders.

Under the bill, workers in the occupations listed above are presumed to be eligible for workers’ comp if they can show a positive laboratory test for COVID-19, which includes a written copy of the test. If a laboratory test was not available for a particular worker, they could provide a written diagnosis for COVID-19 based on the worker’s symptoms from a licensed physician, licensed physician’s assistant or licensed advanced practice registered nurse (APRN).

Update on Unemployment Insurance

Here is updated unemployment information after the U.S. Congress passed the CARES Act:

  • The first week for which you can get the additional $600 is the week beginning March 29.
  • You could request the week of March 29 on or after April 5. If you already requested payment for that week, you will get the $600 payment automatically.
  • You do not need to contact DEED or do anything to get the additional $600. We will automatically process the additional $600 payment AFTER you request benefits for the week of March 29 (and every week after that you are eligible).
  • You will not see the $600 payment on your online unemployment account. You will only see it on your bank account or your unemployment debit card statement.
  • Payments may take a few days to reach your bank/debit card.
  • For self-employed and contract workers, DEED hopes to be able to distribute benefits before the end of April. The US Dept. of Labor needs to issue instructions for states before funds can be dispersed. Here is a special step-by-step guide for self-employed and contract workers to apply for unemployment benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Keep In Touch

That's all for now — if you have questions regarding anything else, please reach out at rep.mary.kuneshpodein@house.mn or 651-296-4331.

 

Sincerely,

Mary KP

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