Today the Minnesota House met remotely to pass legislation allowing takeout sales of beer and wine from bars and restaurants during the COVID-19 pandemic. Governor Walz has signed the bill.
The measure allows bars and restaurants with liquor licenses to sell up to 72 ounces – the equivalent of one six-pack – of beer, cider or hard seltzer and up to 750 milliliters of wine – the equivalent of one bottle – with food orders. The alcoholic beverages must be sold in their original, unopened containers. You can learn more about the legislation here.
I was proud to vote ‘yes’ on this measure as I heard from so many of you about the urgent need to support our bars and restaurants on the Eastside. I am working with many of you to find creative solutions to support our small businesses, jobs, and workers during this crisis. Please email me ideas you have!
Outdoor Recreation Opportunities Expanded
Gov. Walz signed Executive Order 20-38 today, allowing Minnesotans to engage in a range of outdoor activities if they follow new guidelines, which include social distancing guidelines, avoiding crowded areas, and staying close to home. The new provisions go into effect Saturday, April 18 at 5:00 a.m.
Under Executive Order 20-38, facilities that may reopen or remain open include:
- Bait shops for live bait
- Public and private parks and trails
- Golf courses and driving ranges
- Boating and off-highway vehicle services, including:
- Marina services
- Dock installation and other lake services
- Boat and off-highway vehicle sales and repair, by appointment only
Campgrounds and dispersed camping, outdoor recreational equipment retail stores, recreational equipment rental, charter boats, launches, and guided fishing remain closed.
It is recommended that Minnesotans continue to take part in outdoor activities close to their primary residence to protect from the spread of COVID-19 and to limit pressure on rural medical facilities and essential supplies. More information about the governor’s order is here.
Alec Smith Emergency Insulin Act Approved
In remote session this week, the legislature approved the Alec Smith Insulin Affordability Act. The legislation establishes an emergency insulin program for the Minnesotans who need it the most and requires insulin manufacturers to financially participate in solving a problem they created by exorbitantly increasing the cost of the life-saving drug. My statement is here.
You can read details of the bill here. A video recording of the floor debate can be viewed here. Governor Walz’s bill signing news conference and ceremony can be found here.
Additional COVID-19 bills approved
Also, during our remote session earlier this week, we approved our fourth COVID-19 relief package to help workers, businesses, and families impacted by this unmatched public health crisis. Details of the bill are here.
Committees meet this week
I serve on the Health and Human Services Finance Division and this week we met remotely to receive presentations from public health experts on COVID-19 testing. You can view the hearing here.
I am also a member of the State Government Finance Division and this week we held a remote hearing to discuss HF 3499, the Help America Vote Act. Secretary of State Steve Simon testified on the next steps to secure our November elections and appropriate funds to local governments. You can watch the committee here.
Thirteen-week unemployment insurance extension implemented
Unemployment benefits for eligible applicants have been extended for an additional 13 weeks, according to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). You can read more here.
You can contact me at email@example.com or (651) 296-4219. Be sure to “like” my official state representative Facebook page!
Thank you for the privilege of serving District 60A in the legislature.