Lawmakers Pass $330 Million COVID-19 Package
Late yesterday afternoon, the Minnesota Senate unanimously passed a $331.5 million relief package aimed at combating the growing spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) on a 67-0 vote. The House of Representatives had passed H.F. 4531 earlier in the afternoon on a 99-4 vote. Both bodies utilized unique voting practices that included members voting remotely, from the gallery or entering the chamber one at a time to vote. Gov. Tim Walz is expected to sign the bill later today.
The primary component of H.F. 4531 is the appropriation of $200 million to a newly-created COVID-19 Fund for state agencies to implement various responses and resources to the pandemic. Any expenditure from the COVID-19 of more than $1 million will be reviewed by a ten-member legislative commission. The remaining $131.5 million is targeted to support some of Minnesota’s most at-risk communities, including $30 million for small business loans, $29 million for child care providers, $11 million for Minnesota’s native tribal communities, $9 million for the state’s food shelf and $6 million for veterans. The legislature previously appropriated over $200 million toward mitigation efforts in early March.
Yesterday’s relief bill also included several policy changes, including: adjustments to expand Minnesota’s Unemployment Insurance program, certain licensing exemptions and extensions, a filing extension for a petitioner filing a 2020 property tax appeal, driver’s license expiration forgiveness, changes to the state’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (“SNAP”) eligibility requirement, student loan relief, and more. Find a full breakdown of H.F. 4531 here.
After passing the bills, the legislature adjourned until at least April 14 noting that the bodies may reconvene to take up additional COVID-19 legislation as the disease continues to infect Minnesotans across the state. Minnesota now has 398 total cases of COVID-19 and four deaths. The number continues to rise substantially with 52 new cases in just one day. Find more information on the COVID-19 outbreak here.
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Every individual and company is managing issues arising from COVID-19. The Larkin Hoffman Government Relations team is engaged daily with key state government decision makers to gain assistance and remove barriers critical to our clients ongoing operations, and perhaps even their survival. We are available to assist you on issues ranging from influencing the governor’s Executive Orders to requesting waivers from state government requirements to revising legislative proposals that will become law.