MN Government Updates 05.13

Walz Announces Next Phase of COVID-19 Response in Minnesota

Citing progress made to prepare for peak of infection, the Governor announced tonight that he will let Minnesota’s stay-at-home order expire on Sunday night as planned, and replace it with an order encouraging Minnesotans to stay close to home but allowing for gatherings of friends and family of 10 people or less. The Governor will also open retail stores and other main street businesses if they have a social distancing plan and operate at 50 percent occupancy. Dine-in restaurant restrictions and closures of salons, gyms, large crowd venues will remain for at least a couple more weeks, with June 1 as a potential reopen date following specific guidance from state officials.

In order to implement these policies and exercise his emergency powers, the Governor also announced an extension of his declaration of peacetime emergency—which was set to expire today—by another 30 days. By extending the peacetime emergency past the adjournment of the regular legislative session, statute requires that the governor must call lawmakers back into special session, most likely in June.

This evening’s announcement came with four new executive orders, detailed below:

Executive Order 20-53: Extending the COVID-19 Peacetime Emergency Declared in Executive Order 20-01

Executive Order 20-54: Protecting Workers from Unsafe Working Conditions and Retaliation During the COVID-19 Peacetime Emergency

Executive Order 20-55: Protecting the Rights and Health of At-Risk Populations during the COVID19 Peacetime Emergency

Executive Order 20-56: Safely Reopening Minnesota's Economy and Ensuring Safe Non-Work Activities during the COVID-19 Peacetime Emergency

Legislative Activity for May 13, 2020

Today, the Minnesota Senate convened to pass five bills:

  • Senate File 2898, authored by Senator Karin Housley (R-St. Mary’s Point), exempts hairstyling and makeup application from state licensing. The bill passed 64-3.
  • House File 3356, authored in the Senate by Senator Mark Koran (R-North Branch), modifies the law governing publication of the State Register including updates to outdated terminology, a reduction in the number of physical copies provided to the Legislative Reference Library and the State Law Library, and elimination of a requirement that a copy of the State Register be provided to a public library in every county seat in the state. The bill passed 67-0. It previously passed 132-0 in the House. The bill now goes to the governor for his signature.
  • Senate File 3204, authored by Senator Julie Rosen (R-Fairmont), modifies requirements governing utilization review and prior authorization of healthcare services. The bill passed 67-0.
  • House File 4044 (also known as the Revisor’s bill), authored in the Senate by Senator Warren Limmer (R-Maple Grove), makes miscellaneous technical corrections to Minnesota laws and statutes. The bill passed 67-0. It previously passed 131-1 in the House. The bill now goes to the governor for his signature.
  • House File 331 (also known as the Tobacco 21 bill), authored in the Senate by Senator Roger Chamberlain (R-Lino Lakes), raises the age for persons to purchase tobacco, tobacco products, electronic delivery devices, and nicotine and lobelia delivery products to 21 or older to conform to federal law. It also modifies the penalties for selling, providing, or furnishing these items, and for purchasing or attempting to purchase these items if under the age of 21. The bill requires alternative penalties to be established for certain violations and makes other changes to the Clean Indoor Air Act. The bill passed 43-21. It previously passed 89-41 in the Senate. The bill now goes to the governor for his signature.

The Senate is scheduled to return tomorrow. The House convened for a floor session this afternoon and passed seven bills:

  • Senate File 4073, authored by Representative Ami Wazlawik (DFL-White Bear Township), compels companies to stop using trichloroethylene (TCE), a toxic chemical some companies use during their manufacturing process, and switch to safer alternatives. Under this legislation, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is empowered to grant exemptions in limited circumstances. The bill passed 117-17. It previously passed 66-1 in the Senate. The bill now goes to the governor for his signature.
  • Senate File 2466, authored by in the House by Representative Jennifer Schultz (DFL-Duluth), permits certain financial services providers to temporarily delay transactions where financial exploitation is suspected and to disclose that information to authorities. The bill passed 128-8. It previously passed 66-0 in the Senate. The bill now goes to the governor for his signature.
  • House File 4601, authored by Representative Erin Koegel (DFL-Spring Lake Park), directs the Department of Human Services to award specific grants using funds in the Opiate Epidemic Response Account. The bill passed 124-9.
  • Senate File 3357, authored in the House by Representative John Lesch (DFL-St. Paul), makes changes to guardianship and conservatorship laws, modifies the Uniform Transfers to Minors Act, amends the Minnesota Common Interest Ownership Act, and modifies provisions related to garnishment. The bill passed 134-0. It previously passed 66-0 in the Senate. The bill now goes to the governor for his signature.
  • House File 4490, authored by Representative Jean Poppe (DFL-Austin), provides supplemental funding in fiscal years 2020 and 2021 to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture for specified purposes, establishes and funds a farm safety grant and outreach program, and gives the department discretion to issue a food handler license to a person or a company with a water supply or disposal system that does not satisfy relevant state standards.  The bill passed 133-1.
  • House File 4599, authored by Representative Todd Lippert (DFL-Northfield), modifies the temporary Farmer-Lender Mediation provision that was enacted last month as part of a COVID-19 response act. The bill further delays the enforcement of certain debts secured by agricultural property by extending the period of mediation between the farmer and lender. The bill passed 134-0.
  • Senate File 3298, authored in the House by Representative Duane Sauke (DFL-Rochester), modifies the deadline for the chief judge of a district to appoint charter commission members. The bill passed 132-2. It previously passed 67-0 in the Senate. The bill now goes to the governor for his signature.

The House will reconvene at 10:00 a.m. tomorrow.

Omnibus Pensions and Retirement Bill

Today, the 14 members of the Legislative Commission on Pensions and Retirement voted unanimously to pass the Omnibus Pensions and Retirement bill (House File 3903). The bill’s next stop will be the House Government Operations Committee. Representative Mary Murphy (DFL-Hermantown), the chair of the commission, said she expects the bill to be on the General Register in two days.

Amos A. Briggs | Government Relations
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