|Dear Neighbors and Friends,
The last two week have been unlike anything we have experienced. It feels like we are living in a snow globe that was shaken and life has been turned upside down. It is hard to believe that the Governor released a supplemental budget less than 10 days ago and how much has changed since then.
I started writing this update several times during the last week, but things are changing so fast this will probably be slightly dated by the time you read it.
Many of you have lost a job or are concerned about your job and your ability to provide for your family. Having lost a job in an earlier recession I understand how scary that can be. Governor Walz issued several Executive Orders to address this pandemic including some changes to unemployment so people can access help quicker than usual. We understand many people do not qualify for unemployment, like small business owners and many in the creative economy, and are working to resolve that issue.
We are in uncharted territory. I want to assure everyone that we are collaborating with our local and federal partners to provide relief to people impacted by COVID-19 as quickly as possible.
The legislature passed and the Governor signed bills last week and on Monday providing funds for health care infrastructure to respond to COVID-19. The Senate and House are working to ensure our healthcare system has the protective gear and capacity to handle the crisis. We are looking at what changes we need to make in statute vs what the Gov can do by Executive Orders on everything from evictions to Dept of Human Services waivers needed to help people with disabilities. We are committed to being as prepared as possible for dealing with this disease in a proactive and responsible manner.
You can find links to the Exec Orders and more COVID-19 information below.
The Governor is listening to public health experts and balancing the needs and rights of individuals across the State and the need to protect the health, safety and welfare of our State. This is an unprecedented challenge and I appreciate his proactive efforts to get ahead of the curve on COVID-19 to prevent more harm.
The Legislature is not having committee hearings or session on a regular basis at this out of an abundance of caution. We do not want to risk the health of our staff and the public and add to the spread. We are looking at what procedures need to be put in place to safely come back and vote on urgent issues related to COVID-19. As I mentioned above, we are having bipartisan, bicameral discussions on specific issues and hope to have some agreement and public discussion soon.
My Legislative Assistant and I are working remotely. We are constantly checking emails and voice mails prioritizing those dealing urgent requests. Thank you for your patience.
Minnesotans are used to helping each other out from shoveling our neighbor’s driveway to volunteering and donating after the Drake fire we are used to working together to get things done. So many are doing their part to help us weather this storm. Thanks to everyone who is stepping up and helping lead us during this pandemic. We will get through this.