As you probably know, the 2020 session will end on Monday. Here is the latest from the State Capitol.
STAY AT HOME ORDER TO END MONDAY
On Wednesday, Governor Walz announced that his stay-at-home order will be lifted on May 18.
I'm pleased that the governor has begun to move forward and recognize that people are ready to go about their lives. This is the result of countless Minnesotans who have contacted their state lawmakers and the Governor's Office sharing their displeasure with a continued stay-at-home order.
However, there's more work to be done. Our restaurants, bars, churches, hair salons and others only have a suggestion that June 1 might be their targeted opening date.
Moving forward, we have to protect the vulnerable and keep people safe while giving our residents their freedoms back. If we're all in this together, we all have to responsibly do our part. Let's hope by June 1 we have good news to report for those who remain unable to return to work due to the Governor's actions.
GOOD NEWS FOR PINE TECHNICAL AND COMMUNITY COLLEGE
This week Governor Walz signed an executive order allowing students in critical care sectors to attend classes for needed in-person training or testing in order to graduate. This will fill workforce shortages by accelerating entry into critical sectors for up to 1,000 students that will serve Minnesota’s most vulnerable populations. You'll recall at Pine Technical and Community College, there are more than 30 students in the Certified Nursing Assistant program who will be able to quickly begin caring for patients at long-term care facilities after taking a final in-person exam to earn their degree.
AG BILLS APPROVED IN HOUSE
An omnibus agriculture finance bill approved by the House this week focuses on providing resources to farmers in crisis, farm and grain bin safety, and retail food handlers (PPE for small grocery providers).
The bill provides an additional $40,000 to support rural mental health outreach and expands allowable uses to include suicide prevention training and adolescent mental health awareness programs.
The portions related to farm safety were spurred by the surge in grain bin deaths in Minnesota over the last year. The appropriation is for $125,000 and modifies the existing farm safety program to include outreach and development.
The House also approved a bill this week extending the deadline for mediation to occur and prevents lenders from taking action on affected property to Dec. 1, 2020. The goal is to protect farmers who are in dire financial straits to seek a remedy before their land or assets are acted upon by creditors.
In response to the Farm Crisis of the 1980s, the Farmer-Lender Mediation act was established to reduce farm and agricultural land foreclosures by establishing a formal mediation process between debtors and creditors through the Minnesota Extension Service. This extension will provide expanded temporary legal protection to farmers in dire financial straits to seek a remedy before their land or assets are acted upon by creditors.