Last week on Friday, the Legislature convened for a special session. I’m pleased to report the first order of business was passing my bipartisan bill to deliver robust emergency aid for Minnesota’s smallest businesses struggling to stay afloat amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The bill includes $60 million from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, and $2.5 million from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development’s Emergency Loan Program. The focus of these funds will be on Minnesota’s smallest businesses, many of which are not as well-connected with private banks, and that had to operate at 50 percent capacity or less.
Under my bill, small businesses with 50 or fewer employees can receive grants up to $10,000 each. $18 million of the funds are reserved for the smallest of the small: businesses with 6 employees or less.
In contrast to existing programs designed to help business during the pandemic, grants will be awarded by a lottery among eligible applicants. This will ensure that well-connected insiders don’t suck up all the funding.
The bill text is available here. You can watch a video of floor vote here.
Our work in special session continues. The Minnesota Senate has indicated they wish to adjourn by Friday, but with our growing list of COVID-19 response and recovery items Minnesotans are asking us to address, I hope they will consider putting in the effort to do what we can during these challenging times. Public safety and criminal justice reform is also an important priority we must take action on. I have set up a survey to gather public input on a few of the reform proposals being considered. You can take the survey at this link:
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It’s an honor to serve our communities at the Minnesota House of Representatives.