Greetings from the Floor,
The House passed two bills and the conference committee report on insulin affordability this week. The bills were an additional response to COVID-19 and allowing restaurants to serve off-sale liquor with pick-up or to go orders (up to one bottle of wine or the equivalent of one six-pack of beer, hard seltzer or cider). Here are details of the COVID-19 bill:
Article 2 Non-COVID 19 Policy
Article 3 DHS Technical and Implementation Corrections
Article 4 Human Services Forecast Adjustments
Details of the insulin affordability bill include:
On Monday Gov. Walz extended the peacetime emergency until May 13. This order does not extend the Stay at Home Order or the closure of bars, restaurants and other places of public accommodation. These orders are still scheduled to expire on May 4. The extension of the peacetime order allows to governor to continue the preservation of Personal Protective Equipment, activation of the National Guard to assist with the state’s coronavirus response and give state agencies and departments variance authority on professional licenses (among other issues).
Gov. Walz announced yesterday that he is working with other Midwest governors to get states’ economies open and working again. He outlined four factors the governors will review when making decisions, of course these factors are not exhaustive:
The governor cautioned that all aspects of the economy will not re-open at the same time, and different states, even within the same region, will take different steps at different times. We have to do what’s best for Minnesota. I applaud the nation’s governors for working together to come up with regional approaches that are best for each state. Gov. Walz is continuing to prioritize the health and safety of Minnesotans. Thus far, he’s based his decisions on the modeling his administration has made public (https://mn.gov/covid19/data/modeling.jsp) and guidance from health care facilities to maintain the number of available ICU beds in the state.
Today the governor issued Executive Order 20-38 to open more outdoor activities for Minnesotans. These include live bait shops, outdoor shooting ranges and game farms, public/private parks and trails, golf courses, marina services, dock installation/other lake services, and boat/off-highway vehicle sales and repair by appointment. To read the order, please go to: https://mn.gov/governor/assets/EO%2020-38%20Final_tcm1055-428887.pdf.
I know these are very difficult, unnerving times. It is times like these when we need to continue having patience and understanding with each other. The coronavirus pandemic is unprecedented in our lifetimes, and we don’t have a playbook or strategy to use in navigating the situation. We need to make the best decisions with the information we have as it becomes available. I know it is especially difficult for business owners who can’t open and people not able to go to work. We will get through this. Minnesota has been winning the fight against this virus (https://www.fox9.com/news/experts-explain-why-minnesota-has-the-nations-lowest-per-capita-covid-19-infection-rate).
I firmly believe the measures we are taking have led to lower than projected numbers of illness and death in Minnesota (and even at the numbers we’ve seen, 1/3 of our ICU beds are full with coronavirus patients). We can’t let up. Not everyone is comfortable about a rush to re-open the economy, and we can’t allow a surge of COVID-19 cases when more businesses are able to resume operations. The one certainty that’s going to re-open the economy is for people to feel safe about going out to eat, going to church or seeing a ball game again. We need to be smart and careful as we move forward, and not jeopardize the gains we’ve made.Thank You for the Opportunity to Serve,
PO Box 612, Moorhead, MN 56561