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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Laurie Pryor (DFL)

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Legislative Session Adjourns, New Guidelines for Bars/Restaurants Announced

Friday, May 22, 2020

Rep. Pryor


One of the most unusual legislative sessions in Minnesota history adjourned at midnight on Sunday. Little did we know when session convened on February 11, that just a few weeks later our world would be turned upside down. COVID-19 affected every part of our lives.

Since mid-March, the legislature has operated remotely. Under the guidance of Speaker Melissa Hortman, we complied with best practices for public health. Some legislators voted from their homes, many traveled to St. Paul and voted from our offices, and a very few attended floor sessions in the House chamber. We learned how to use technology in a new way to hold committee hearings and floor sessions. Like many of you who have made major adjustments and are operating under less than ideal circumstances, we were able to accomplish our work with everybody pulling together.

COVID-19 also altered our legislative agenda. We started session with an ambitious plan for improving the lives of Minnesotans, but suddenly had to pivot to quickly respond to this public health emergency. We approved several COVID-19 related measures to keep Minnesotans safe, including a comprehensive economic security agenda. Despite the pandemic, we also passed several significant bills not related to COVID-19, including insulin affordability and prescription drug price transparency. Left unfinished was passage of a jobs and local projects bill and passage by the Senate of our economic security agenda.

You can read more about 2020 legislative session accomplishments here.

To address continuing COVID-19 issues, Speaker Hortman established the Select Committee on Minnesota’s Pandemic Response and Rebuilding. Workplace safety for nurses was the topic of the first meeting on Tuesday. You can watch the hearing here

Stay Safe Minnesota – Bars and Restaurants Can Open

Minnesota’s Stay at Home order expired and now we’ve moved to the next phase: Stay Safe Minnesota. On Monday, many retail stores and main street businesses opened with a safety plan but are limited to 50 percent capacity. Businesses must follow CDC and OSHA guidance. More information about these requirements is available here.

On June 1, bars and restaurants will be open but are limited to outdoor seating for now. Salons and other personal care businesses are also being allowed to reopen, but with limited capacity. You can read more about the guidelines here.

COVID-19 remains a public health threat, and we all have a part to play in stopping the spread of this global pandemic. To stay safe and keep others safe, we should all continue to take safety precautions such as social distancing, wearing a mask, and staying home when sick. Additionally, people who may be vulnerable – for example having a compromised immune system, diabetes, heart disease, or a pregnancy – should continue to stay home. Read more about the Stay Safe MN plan here.


Memorial Day

On Monday, we will honor the men and women who gave their lives for our country. This year you can honor our fallen heroes remotely, The Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs is sponsoring a virtual Memorial Day program in partnership with Twin Cities PBS-TPT.

Also, TPT has created a 30-minute Memorial Day program entitled “Always Remember: A Minnesota Tribute to Veterans we’ve lost,” that will be broadcast across the state on TPT’s Minnesota Channel at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, May 25. The program can also be live streamed online from the TPT website and on Facebook. The program will be rebroadcast on TPT several times throughout June and July and will be available online after it premieres.



Here are steps we can continue to all take to stay healthy: 

  • COVID-19 primarily spreads by droplets. For your safety, the best thing to do is stay home.  Even if healthy, stay home as much as is possible. 
  • If you are going out, stay at least six feet away from others and wear a facemask. The CDC recommends?wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies),?especially?in areas of significant community-based transmission. 
  • Wash your hands often and when you wash them, do so for 20 seconds before rinsing (that means singing Happy Birthday twice before rinsing).
  • COVID-19 can also spread from surfaces to you, but only via mucous membranes. In other words, it can only infect you by going from your hands to your eyes, nose or mouth (it cannot infect you through your skin). Therefore, don’t touch your face. This is hard to stop doing (we are creatures of habit), so if you touch your face think about why and look to identify triggers. That will help you break the habit. 
  • If sick, stay home. If you are very sick (i.e. fever, cough, and shortness of breath) and you feel like you need to see someone, call first or do an e-visit. Do not just show up to your clinic, Urgent Care, or Emergency Dept. without notifying them first. This helps the clinic, Urgent Care, or Emergency Dept. prepare for you and helps avoid infecting others. 
  • When you cough, use your sleeve to cover your mouth and help prevent forming droplets that can infect others.  

Please continue to reach out with any input, ideas, or feedback about the issues important to you. I value hearing from you, so please don’t hesitate to call or email me any time. You can also connect with me on Facebook here. It’s an honor to represent you at the State Capitol.


Laurie Pryor

State Representative