MN Government Updates 04.27

Senate Passes Six Bills, Confirms Another Cabinet Official 

Today, the Senate convened at 11:00 a.m. to pass six bills and confirm another member of Governor Walz’s cabinet.

  • Senate File 4486, authored by Senator Julie Rosen (R-Fairmont), creates a state COVID-19 relief account for the $1.9 billion in federal dollars allocated to the state from the CARES Act. The funds in the account could only be used to pay for COVID-19 related expenses incurred by the state and could only be spent through legislative appropriation. The bill passed 42-25.
  • Senate File 3159, authored by Senator Andrew Lang (R-Olivia), modifies requirements for reimbursement for ambulance service volunteer educational costs. The bill passed 67-0.
  • Senate File 3017, authored by Senator Carla Nelson (R-Rochester), modifies requirements for the Board of Aging self-directed caregiver grants. The board must provide a progress report to the legislature with metrics on the use of the grant program. The bill passed 67-0.
  • Senate File 2939, authored by Senator Carla Nelson (R-Rochester), removes a fee for duplicative criminal background checks for state health boards. It also allows for the payment of retirement annuities during a period of employment as a healthcare worker during a peacetime emergency. The bill passed 67-0.
  • Senate File 2919, authored by Senator Mary Kiffmeyer (R-Big Lake), updates language to the definition of “athletic training” under the Minnesota Athletic Trainers Act. The bill passed 42-24.
  • Senate File 979, authored by Senator Mary Kiffmeyer (R-Big Lake), clarifies the statutory requirements that family child care providers must repeat first aid training, CPR training, sudden unexpected infant death training, and abusive head trauma training every two years – prior to the date that the provider’s annual license expires. The bill also requires that providers serving or transporting children eight-years-old and younger to have received child passenger restraint systems training. The bill passed 66-1.

Also, the Senate confirmed Department of Agriculture Commissioner Thom Petersen by a voice vote. While commissioners and top officials of the state’s various departments are appointed by the governor, they are subject to confirmation by the Senate. Once appointed, commissioners can serve without any action by the Senate, but they cannot serve any longer if the Senate has voted to refuse to consent to their appointment. If a cabinet official is confirmed, he or she can serve to the end of the governor’s term (at the pleasure of the governor).

The Senate is schedule to return on Thursday, April 30 at 9:00 a.m. Meanwhile, the House is scheduled to meet tomorrow at 12:00 PM.

Daily Press Briefing

Governor Walz did not participate in today’s Minnesota Department of Health daily press briefing due to a scheduled conference call with other governors and President Trump.

Commissioner Jan Malcolm, Department of Health

  • Commissioner Malcolm announced the state has 3,816 laboratory-confirmed cases. This is an increase of 214 over yesterday’s report
  • Additionally, the state has seen 286 deaths due to COVID-19. This is up 14 from yesterday’s report.

o   12 of the 14 deaths were associated with residents of long-term care facilities.

o   A total of 223 long-term residents have died from COVID-19 in Minnesota.

  • Currently, 292 COVID-19 patients are hospitalized with 122 patients in the ICU.
  • When asked if COVID-19 is deadlier in Minnesota than elsewhere, the commissioner responded that the numbers reflect the fact that more testing has been done among nursing home residents and other vulnerable populations.

Commissioner Thom Petersen, Department of Agriculture

  • Commissioner Petersen said that with major hog and turkey plants in southwestern Minnesota and South Dakota idled by COVID-19 and unable to process animals, some animals will need to be euthanized. He said that his department is working with the American Veterinary Medical Association on best practices.
  • The commissioner stated that the food supply is stable, but that consumers will see higher prices and that some disruption will occur. The disruption will become more pronounced depending on the length of the pandemic.

Legislative Retirements

Today, Representative Laurie Halverson (DFL-Eagan), the chair of the House Commerce Committee, announced she will not be seeking re-election in 2020 and instead will be running for the Dakota County Board of Commissioners. Below is a full list of announced retirements of current legislators

Senate

  • Senator Paul Anderson (R-Plymouth), 1st term
  • Senator Dick Cohen (DFL-St. Paul), 10th term
  • Senator Scott Jensen (R-Chaska), 1st term
  • Senator Carolyn Laine (DFL-Columbia Heights), 1st term

House

  • Rep. Hunter Cantrell (DFL-Savage), 1st term
  • Rep. Lyndon Carlson (DFL-Crystal), 24th term
  • Rep. Jack Considine (DFL-Mankato), 3rd term
  • Rep. Dan Fabian (R-Roseau), 5th term
  • Rep. Bob Gunther (R-Fairmont), 13th term
  • Rep. Laurie Halverson (DFL-Eagan), 4th term
  • Rep. Mary Kunesh-Podein (DFL-New Brighton), 2nd term – running for Minnesota Senate
  • Rep. Ben Lien (DFL-Moorhead), 4th term
  • Rep. Tim Mahoney (DFL-St. Paul), 11th term
  • Rep. Alice Mann (DFL-Lakeville), 1st term
  • Rep. Bud Nornes (R-Fergus Falls), 12th term
  • Rep. Duane Sauke (DFL-Rochester), 2nd term
  • Rep. Bob Vogel (R-Elko New Market), 3rd term
  • Rep. Jean Wagenius (DFL-Minneapolis), 17th term

Amos A. Briggs | Government Relations
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