MN Government Updates 04.01

Governor Walz and administration officials held a conference call on April 1 with reporters to update the public on state efforts to address the COVID-19 pandemic.


Governor Walz

Governor Walz announced five more deaths to COVID-19 since yesterday’s report.

The governor also announced he will deliver his second State of the State address on Sunday, April 5, 2020, beginning at 7:00pm.

The address will be delivered live from the Governor’s Residence and can be watched on YouTube Live.

The governor’s previously scheduled State of the State address to the legislature was canceled due to COVID-19.

He also announced that the Governor’s Fishing Open will be postponed until May of 2021.

However, the fishing season is not canceled.

Minnesotan can fish on May 9.

The governor encouraged Minnesotans to fill out their Census form. Federal money to Minnesota and the state’s congressional representation are at stake.

When asked about whether he will extend Executive Order 20-20 beyond April 10, Governor Walz said he will make that decision early-to-mid next week.

Commissioner Jan Malcolm, Department of Health

  • Commissioner Malcolm announced the state has 689 laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19. This is up 60 from yesterday’s report.
  • The age range of those infected is 4 months to 104-years-old.
  • The median age for infection is 47 years-old.
  • She also announced that 17 COVID-19 deaths have occurred. This is five more than yesterday’s report.
  • All were over the age of 70.
  • Two were associated with long-term care facilities.
  • 122 patients have been hospitalized.
  • 54 are currently hospitalized currently.
  • 27 are in the ICU.
  • 342 patients have been released from isolation.
  • With holidays coming up, Commissioner Malcolm strongly urged Minnesotans to stay home and avoid gatherings with anyone outside of one’s household group.
  • When asked about the modeling state officials are currently using as guidance for combatting COVID-19, the commissioner responded that an updated model will be rerun next week.

Director Joe Kelly, Homeland Security & Emergency Management Division

  • Director Kelly encourages Minnesotans who have the ability to make cloth face masks to do so and follow guidance from the Minnesota Department of Health’s website.
  • He encouraged Minnesotans to donate cloth masks locally – either to a hospital, correctional facility, or to transit drivers.

Commissioner Steve Grove, Department of Employment and Economic Development

  • Commissioner Grove announced that DEED has created a specific page on the DEED website to help small businesses navigate the resources available to them.
  • A total of 272,766 unemployment insurance applications have been submitted since March 16. Yesterday, 17,411 applications were submitted.

Minnesota Senate Forms COVID-19 Response Working Group

  • Last night, Republicans in the Minnesota Senate announced the formation of a COVID-19 Response Working Group. The working group’s purpose is to review and discuss the state’s response to COVID-19 and to vet requests by the governor and proposals by the legislature to address COVID-19 needs and resources. The working group will also review the previously passed funding and bills to provide oversight. 
  • “It’s clear these times call for focus and for speed. Establishing a working group gives the Senate a place to discuss the state’s current response and future needs,” said Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka. “As a working group, there are no votes expected, rather its intent is to utilize online resources to make COVID-19 discussions available to the public. We hope to find opportunities for testimony from the public, expert witnesses, and document the engagement between Senators as we review bills and proposals to address the COVID-19 threat.” 
  • The working group of 11 members will be chaired by Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka (R-Nisswa).
  • There will be four additional permanent Republican members including Senator Michelle Benson (R-Ham Lake), Senator Roger Chamberlain (R-Lino Lakes), Senator Eric Pratt (R-Prior Lake), and Senator Julie Rosen (R-Fairmont).
  • Four permanent Democrats will also serve on the working group – Senate Minority Leader Susan Kent (DFL-Woodbury), Senator John Marty (DFL-Roseville), Senator Bobby Jo Champion (DFL-Minneapolis), and Senator Richard Cohen (DFL-St. Paul).
  • Two rotating members, one Republican and one Democrat, will be added to the working group during designated meetings to provide additional input.
  • The first meeting of the COVID-19 Working Group is planned for Thursday, April 2 with testimony from the Minnesota Hospital Association and the Minnesota Department of Health.

Driver’s License Expiration Dates

  • Expiration dates for Minnesota driver's licenses, state ID cards, and disability certificates/permits that expire during the governor's declaration of peacetime emergency will be extended for two full months after the end of the emergency declaration.
  • For example, if your identification expires during the peacetime emergency, and the emergency ends in April, you will have until June 30 to renew. If the emergency declaration ends in May, you will have until July 31.
  • If you are a new resident of Minnesota, or if you have an out-of-state driver's license or ID card, you will not need to act until the end of the peacetime emergency. Law enforcement has been notified about this change. Your identification will show as unexpired in both in-state and out-of-state law enforcement databases. Due to the extraordinary circumstances, your identification will also remain valid for travel and the TSA will accept it for up to one year after expiration.

License Plate Tabs

  • While in-person offices are closed, Minnesotans can still renew license plate tabs online or by mail. Currently, there is not a way for tabs to be renewed for commercial or farm vehicles. The Department of Vehicles Services is working to address this.
  • For those whose passenger vehicle license plate tabs need to be renewed, it can be done online at any time. Minnesotans can pay online and will receive tabs in the mail.
  • Minnesotans can renew tabs online here.

Amos A. Briggs | Government Relations
100 Washington Avenue S | Suite 2200 | Minneapolis MN  55401

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