St. Paul, MN – Minnesota’s 2020 Legislative Session adjourned for the year Sunday night. With the emergence of COVID-19, the session’s focus quickly shifted to directly addressing the public health and economic impacts of COVID-19. While beneficial measures were passed into law, many solutions to deliver a brighter future for Minnesotans did not advance due to Republican opposition.
“When COVID-19 first hit Minnesota, my colleagues and I in the legislature were able to quickly pass bipartisan legislation aimed at preparing our state for the virus and ensuring Minnesotans had the initial resources they’d need,” said Rep. Brand. “As we neared the end of session, other important legislation like a Jobs and Local Projects Bill, as well as a substantive economic relief package, unfortunately did not have the same levels of bipartisan support. These are resources I remain committed to delivering to our community, much like the funding to complete Highway 14, one local project that we were able to secure for our region during this legislative session.”
Many of the session’s accomplishments relate to the state’s COVID-19 response. The Legislature delivered funding for public health, resources for health care workers, aid for child care, housing and food security, small business assistance and more. Lawmakers also approved a package of legislation providing flexibility and resources in a variety of areas during the crisis, including approval of wills and marriage licenses, expanded telemedicine, remote local government meetings, and alternative health care facilities. Should a frontline responder to the virus contract COVID-19, legislators also reached a consensus to better ensure these Minnesotans would receive workers’ compensation benefits.
Governor Walz also signed other important measures into law, including the Alec Smith Emergency Insulin Act, the Prescription Drug Price Transparency Act, Tobacco 21 legislation to prevent youth smoking, and a bipartisan bill to protect the safety and security of elections.
Unfortunately, agreements weren't found on other key priorities important to Minnesotans and their communities, including a robust jobs and local projects plan, a measure to ensure hourly school employees receive compensation during the peacetime emergency, the ratification of state worker contracts, and a COVID-19 Economic Security Agenda. Rep. Brand and House DFLers remain committed to enacting these important contracts and to find solutions to protecting Minnesotans’ health, wellbeing, and economic security.
Following adjournment, the House Select Committee on Minnesota’s Pandemic Response and Rebuilding will continue addressing COVID-19, engaging lawmakers and members of the public to review the federal and state responses to the pandemic and assess needed policy changes moving forward.