MN Government Updates 05.12

Legislative Activity for May 12, 2020

Today, the Minnesota Senate convened for a floor session and passed four bills.

  • Senate File 3322 (the omnibus human services policy bill), authored by Senator Jim Abeler (R-Anoka), makes changes to the Department of Human Services relating to children and family services, community supports administration, employment policies for people with disabilities, civil commitment, and the Maltreatment of Minors Act. The bill passed 66-0.
  • Senate File 4481, authored by Senator Paul Anderson (R-Plymouth), appropriates $60 million for small businesses in crisis from the stay-at-home orders and COVID-19 pandemic. The bill takes $57.6 million from the federal COVID-19 Relief Fund and $2.4 million from the Small Business Guarantee Loan Program to provide relief to small businesses in the state. The bill passed 59-7.
  • Senate File 3013, authored by Senator Bill Weber (R-Luverne), establishes the National Gas Innovation Act and encourages natural gas utilities to develop alternate resources. The bill passed 62-4.
  • Senate File 4563, authored by Senator Julie Rosen (R-Fairmont), changes the source of funding for several appropriations previously enacted during the 2020 Legislative Session. These changes are designed to maximize the use of federal funding by changing the source of the appropriation from the general fund to the federal coronavirus relief fund. The bill passed 66-0.

The Senate will return at 11:00 a.m. tomorrow. The House also convened for a floor session to take up several bills.

  • House File 4285 (the omnibus agriculture policy bill), authored by Representative Jeanne Poppe (DFL-Austin), modifies state seed and noxious laws, as well as laws governing perishable farm product buyers, state loan programs, meat and poultry inspections, farm safety, grain buyers, emerging farmers, hemp, agricultural education, and pet food. The bill passed 132-1.
  • House File 4602, authored by Representative Liz Olson (DFL-Duluth), modifies the 2019 Omnibus Jobs law’s $200,000 Minnesota investment fund loan to a Duluth paper mill so that the forgiveness provisions require retaining only 150 full-time equivalent employees rather than 200. The bill passed 114-18.
  • House File 627, authored by Representative Dave Pinto (DFL-St. Paul), would require the Peace Officers Standards and Training (POST) Board to develop a model policy for eyewitness identification that is consistent with certain National Academies of Science recommendations, and further require law enforcement agencies to adopt policies that are substantially similar to the model. The bill passed 133-1.
  • House File 4429, authored by Representative Anne Claflin (DFL-South St. Paul), makes various changes to the pay-for-performance job training standards. It creates a Minnesota-specific name for the federally-defined displaced homemaker programs. The bill passed 132-2.
  • House File 4605, authored by Representative Mike Freiberg (DFL-Golden Valley), authorizes counties, cities, and township to accept documents and signatures electronically, by mail, or facsimile during a peacetime public health emergency. The bill passed 134-0.
  • Senate File 3072, authored in the House by Representative John Lesch (DFL-St. Paul), regulates law enforcement’s use of unmanned aerial vehicles, removes statutory criteria for publication of court of appeals opinions, requires a government entity to obtain a search warrant prior to accessing electronic communication information, clarifies the applicability of overlapping laws related to court-issued warrants to the electronic device location-tracking warrant laws, and modifies the scope of the location tracking warrant law. The bill passed 131-2. It previously passed 66-0 in the Senate. It now goes to the governor for his signature.
  • House File 4137, authored by Representative Dave Pinto (DFL-St. Paul), requires the element of intent to be proven for crimes related to repeated harassment. The bill passed 131-3.

The House will return tomorrow. Eight bills are on the calendar.

Department of Health Briefing

Today, officials from the Minnesota Department of Health conducted a conference call with reporters to update the public on state efforts to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

Commissioner Jan Malcom, Department of Health

  • Commissioner Malcolm announced the state has 12,494 laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19. This is an increase of 695 since yesterday’s report.
  • There have been 23 more deaths due to COVID-19 – bringing the total to 614. Of the 23 new deaths, 19 were associated with long-term care residents.
  • Currently, 496 patients are hospitalized for COVID-19 with 199 of those in the ICU.
  • The state hit the 5,000 mark in testing volume yesterday by processing 5,053 COVID-19 tests.
  • The commissioner announced that the state received a second small shipment of remdesivir yesterday, which was distributed to certain care locations.
  • When asked when the new Minnesota COVID-19 model will be released, Commissioner Malcolm responded that it will be available in the next couple days.

76Director Kris Ehresmann, Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Prevention, and Control Division

  • Director Ehresmann announced that the Department of Health will be making updates to the state’s COVID-19 website relating to:
    • New cases
    • New deaths – county, age group, residence type
    • Specimen collection date
    • Probable deaths – instances where a death certificate lists COVID-19 as the reason for death, but where there wasn’t a positive test.
    • Healthcare workers testing positive
  • When asked about COVID-19 cases among children, Director Ehresmann responded that it’s “extremely rare” and that parents should reach out to a healthcare provider if their child is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.

Amos A. Briggs | Government Relations
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