MN Government Updates 10.12

Legislature Convenes for Fifth Special Session of 2020

Today, the Minnesota Senate and the Minnesota House of Representatives convened at 12:00 p.m. for the fifth special session of 2020.

The Republican-controlled Senate took up five items today on the floor:

  • Senate Concurrent Resolution 1, authored by Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka (R-East Gull Lake), terminates the governor’s peacetime emergency powers. The motion passed 36-31.
  • Senate File 2, authored by Senator Roger Chamberlain (R-Lino Lakes), provides guidance to courts on sentencing veterans for criminal offenses related to a service-related disorder. The bill passed 67-0.
  • Senate File 27, authored by Senator Mike Goggin (R-Red Wing), modifies the farm loan origination fee grant program. The bill passed 67-0.
  • Senate File 6, authored by Senator Mark Koran (R-North Branch), extends the deadline for the city of North Branch to spend certain federal COVIVD-19 aid. The bill passed 63-4.
  • Senate File 5, authored by Senator Justin Eichorn (R-Grand Rapids), allows the Polk County Law Library to transfer money in fiscal reserve to Polk County for technology improvements to the county courthouse and permits the addition of an unorganized territory in Itasca County to Harris Township. The bill passed 51-16.

The Senate is in adjournment until 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, October 15.

The DFL-controlled House took up three items today on the floor:

  • House Concurrent Resolution 1, authored by House Deputy Minority Leader Anne Neu (R-North Branch), terminates the governor’s peacetime emergency powers. The motion to suspend the rules, which requires two-thirds support of House members, failed to meet the 90-vote threshold by a vote of 64-69.
  • House File 15, authored by Representative Mike Freiberg (DFL-Golden Valley), permits video conferencing to fulfill the requirement to personally appear before a notarial officer for conveyance. The bill passed 133-1.
  • Senate File 5, authored in the House by Representative Sandy Layman (R-Cohasset), allows the Polk County Law Library to transfer money in fiscal reserve to Polk County for technology improvements to the county courthouse and permits the addition of an unorganized territory in Itasca County to Harris Township. The bill passed 131-1. It now goes to the governor for this signature.

The House is in adjournment until 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, October 13.

This morning, House Speaker Melissa Hortman (DFL-Brooklyn Park) announced that the House will vote on a $1.37 billion bonding bill on Wednesday. While no final deal has been struck with House Republicans, Speaker Hortman expressed optimism that the House will have a sufficient number of Republican votes to pass a bonding bill in two days.

Passing a bonding bill requires a three-fifths (60%) vote in support in both chambers.

  • With the DFL holding 75 of 134 House seats, at least six votes are needed from Republican members to pass a bonding bill in the House.
  • With the Republicans holding 35 of 67 Senate seats, at least six votes are needed from DFL members to pass a bonding bill in the Senate.

Should a bonding bill pass the House, Hortman said the Senate will pass it and send it to the governor for his signature.

Minnesota Department of Health Briefing

This afternoon, officials with the Minnesota Department of Health conducted a press briefing with reporters to update the public on the spread of COVID-19 in the state.

Commissioner Jan Malcolm, Department of Health

  • Commissioner Malcolm reported 1,178 new cases of COVID-19, which brings the state’s total number of COVID-19 cases to 113,439. This is the fifth consecutive day of the state having over 1,000 new COVID-19 cases.
  • Just under 18,000 COVID-19 tests were processed yesterday.
  • There were three more deaths due to COVID-19. This brings the total number of COVID-19 deaths in the state to 2,140.
  • A total of 8,421 patients have been hospitalized due to COVID0-19 thus far with 2,311 of those in the ICU.
  • The seven-day COVID-19 test positivity average is 5.0%. The state has been at or above the 5% caution threshold for 16 days now.

Director Lindsey Krueger, Office of Health Facility Complaints

  • Director Krueger announced that Minnesota ranks 40th nationally in long-term care resident cases of COVID-19 per 1,000 residents.
  • The Minnesota Department of Health issued new guidance today in accordance with updated federal government recommendations allowing for indoor visitation at long-term care facilities. Visitation is now allowed at facilities where no new COVID-19 infections have occurred in the preceding 14 days and the infection rate in the surrounding county is no higher than 10%. This guidance will take effect on Saturday, October 17

Amos A. Briggs | Government Relations
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