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Legislative Update- April 11, 2020

Saturday, April 11, 2020
Rep. Xiong

Dear Neighbors,

This week, Governor Walz extended his Stay at Home Executive Order until May 4. Using science based, data-driven research, this call was made to allow Minnesota to build new hospital capacity, buy ventilators and masks, plan for how to protect those most at risk, expand testing, and free up time for health care giants like the Mayo Clinic to develop critical treatments for the virus. Read more about what this means for you and your family here.

Stay at Home

The Governor is committed to saving lives as COVID-19 cases spike – and making sure we are protecting our local economy at the same time. The Walz Administration added occupations to the “Critical Sector Descriptions” that are now exempt from the Stay at Home order and can work immediately. These include the following workers and employers:

  • Lawncare and landscaping workers;
  • Workers supporting garden centers or stores, provided that such centers or stores adhere to guidance provided by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture;
  • Workers supporting florists for the sale for delivery only of perishable plant stock. Workers delivering perishable plant stock are strongly encouraged to drop off product at the front door of nursing homes and hospitals to avoid contact with vulnerable populations.

Continued modeling and data from the Minnesota Department of Health and the University of Minnesota will continue to inform the Governor’s decisions regarding executive action.

Protecting our First Responders

On Tuesday, the Legislature passed legislation delivering workers’ compensation benefits to health care and public safety workers who contract COVID-19 in the line of duty. In particular, the legislation provides a presumption that if these workers contract COVID, they did so during the course of their employment and are covered by workers’ comp. Front-line workers covered in the bill include doctors and nurses, firefighters, paramedics, police, long-term care workers, home health workers, correctional officers, and child care providers. This was long overdue, but glad the Senate joined us in the House in getting this done. The Governor signed the bill into law on Wednesday.


United Hospital Seeking PPE Donations

As our health care workers continue the daily battle against COVID-19, St. Paul’s United Hospital is seeking additional donations of personal protective equipment (PPE). They are asking for:

  • factory-made N95 and ear loop masks
  • hand-sewn ear loop masks (instructions for hand-sewn masks are online here)
  • headbands with three secure buttons per side (used to attach an ear loop mask for ear protection)
  • surgical mask strap extenders, including those made with 3D printers
  • isolation gowns
  • Nitrile exam gloves
  • PAPR hood/shroud
  • safety glasses/goggles
  • face shields, including those made with 3D printers
    • must extend 3 inches below chin to cover mask/respirator
    • front is clear plastic and fastens in the back
  • shoe covers
  • commercial disinfectants including Quat-based sanitizers, bleach and hydrogen peroxide-based disinfectants and unopened disinfectant wipes

Donations can be dropped off Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the main hospital entrance, behind the visitor screening table/check-in.


Guidance for Additional $600 UI Payments

I've received many questions about the additional $600 payments in unemployment insurance from the federal government. Yesterday, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development received final guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor to be one of the first states to make these payments. Click here to learn more about what this means for Minnesotans.


COVID-19 Financial Assistance for Veterans

This week, Governor Tim Walz announced that Minnesota veterans and surviving spouses impacted by COVID-19 may be eligible for one-time financial relief grants in the amount of $1,000. The Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs (MDVA) is now accepting applications from Minnesota veterans who have been financially impacted. You can find out how to apply here.


Keep in Touch

Please continue to contact me anytime with questions, ideas, or input. I appreciate hearing from you and any opportunity to help during these challenging times.


Jay Xiong

State Representative

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