As we are in the midst of the second week of the Stay at Home Executive Order 20-20 more orders are coming from Governor Tim Walz (DFL-MN) to stipulate what options are available to our state’s citizens. Today, Executive Order 20-25 Authorizing Peace Officers, Firefighters, and Security-Related Licensing Boards to Modify Requirements During the COVID-19 Peacetime Emergency and Executive Order 20-26 Ensuring Continuing Operations of the Medical Cannabis Program during the COVID-19 Peacetime Emergency were released and we expect more to follow.
To see the entirety of the list click here https://mn.gov/governor/news/executiveorders.jsp
As you know the legislature is on break until April 14th, but there are teleconferenced meetings scheduled between now and then. The House Rules and Administration is holding a meeting today at 2:20 pm and the Senate COVID-19 Response Working Group is scheduled for tomorrow at 1:00 pm. The entire schedule can be found at the following link. https://www.leg.state.mn.us/cal?type=all
The day Donald J Trump (R) signed Families First Coronavirus Response Act, the COVID-19 Response Bill in a White House signing ceremony, which no Democrats were invited to attend, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA12) was discussing the next legislation which would focus on Infrastructure. This week Trump is parroting the same idea. We remember, during her first term, she advanced the idea, reflective of how things are done here in Minnesota, of having both a Capital Budget and a Operating Budget.
If Trump follows her lead on this idea, he might actually do something beneficial for our nation for the first time since he has been in office. He has talked about a public/private partnership and if it results in the Federal Government selling bond for infrastructure projects it will create a new market and pump more money into the system.
Minnesotans over the age of 40 will remember the Jesse Checks sent out after the 1999 Budget Surplus and the 1/3,1/3,1/3 Budget Deal. Because it was a unique event the ability to brand the onetime event by Governor Jesse Ventura (R-MN) was not all that surprising. The most responsible approach on this deal was sending money back but the Republican Tax Cuts actually produced serial deficits for nearly a decade.
Now, Donald J Trump (R) wants to have his name brandished on the checks sent out and this time it seems overly opportunistic and nothing short of narcissistic.
Trump is used to splashing his name about, but un this instance the checks which come from the federal government have the Secretary of Treasury’s name on them. Granted, current Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin will doff to his boss because he–like most members of the Administration–are Yes Men and Women, sycophants and mere puppets for the Dictator in Chief.
We believe Trump while trying to claim credit for something that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA12) actually did is another example of his ego maniacal personality running rampant. This time it might actually backfire because instead of seeing Trump as their benefactor they will be reminded of how long it took him to act and the fact he called the epidemic a Democratic Hoax.
Bad Message from the Trump Administration on Emergency Federal Assistance to COVID, You’re on Your Own
As we are hearing pleas across the nation for more Personal Protective Equipment (PPE’s) and ventilators from first responders and other medical personal, we are also hearing a message of you’re on your own from the Donald J Trump (R) Administration. Yesterday, Katie Walsh, former Deputy Chief of Staff said nearly as much on CNN.
When discussing the ever-expanding needs of various states voiced by their governors, she said the preparedness issue was a responsibility of the states and locality and people should not expect the federal government to bail them out. This is a shocking response during a nationwide pandemic.
Hindsight is 20/20 and things may be different in the future, but when the healthcare system faces its greatest challenge in its existence and it’s an All Hands-on-Deck moment the federal government is a key component and not a place of last resort.
The “Emergency Executive Order 20-20
Directing Minnesotans to Stay at Home
I, Tim Walz, Governor of the State of Minnesota, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and applicable statutes, issue the following Executive Order:
The COVID-19 pandemic presents an unprecedented challenge to our State. On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (“WHO”) characterized the COVID-19 outbreak as a pandemic.
Despite efforts to contain COVID-19, the WHO and the Centers for Disease Control (“CDC”)indicate that it is expected to spread. Confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Minnesota are rapidly
increasing. On March 15, 2020, Minnesota detected the first confirmed cases caused by“community spread”—infections not epidemiologically linked to overseas travel. By March 17,
2020, all fifty states had reported a confirmed case of COVID-19. By March 20, 2020, the CD Chad confirmed more than 15,000 COVID-19 cases in the United States. And on March 21, 2020,
the Minnesota Department of Health (“MDH”) announced the first confirmed fatality due to COVID-19 in Minnesota.
Community spread of COVID-19 in Minnesota and nationwide is increasing. As of March 24, 2020, Minnesota had 287 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 35 hospitalizations. It is further
expected that increased testing capacity would demonstrate that COVID-19 is circulating in communities across Minnesota that currently have not identified a confirmed case.
Minnesota has already taken proactive steps to ensure that we are ahead of the curve on COVID19 prevention and response.
On March 13, 2020, I issued Executive Order 20-01 and declared a peacetime emergency because this pandemic, an act of nature, threatens the lives of
Minnesotans, and local resources are inadequate to address the threat. On March 15, 2020, I issued Executive Order 20-02 ordering the temporary closure of public schools. On March 16,
2020, I issued Executive Order 20-04 ordering the closure of bars, restaurants, and other placesof public accommodation.
Recent developments, including the presence of community spread in Minnesota, the rapid increase in COVID-19 cases both globally and in Minnesota, and the first COVID-19 related
death in our state, require Minnesota to take additional proactive measures to slow the spread of this pandemic. Slowing the community spread of COVID-19 is critical to ensuring that our
healthcare facilities remain able to accommodate those who require intensive medical intervention.
This Executive Order is consistent with a growing nationwide effort to contain the spread of COVID-19. On March 16, 2020, President Donald Trump issued guidelines to limit gatherings of
more than 10 people. As of March 24, 2020, twenty-four states representing almost 200 million Americans have issued orders or public health directives closing non-essential businesses or
limiting residents from participating in non-essential activities. Limiting activities to only those which are most essential and practicing social distancing at all times are vital tools required to
mitigate the community spread of COVID-19 in Minnesota and nationwide. On March 23, 2020, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued Guidance on the
Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce: Ensuring Community and National Resilience in COVID-19 Response (“CISA Guidance”—attached to, and incorporated into, this Executive
Order). The CISA Guidance identifies workers who conduct a range of operations and services that are essential to continued critical infrastructure viability. This federal guidance provides a
baseline for Minnesota’s efforts to ensure critical infrastructure and services are maintained while slowing the spread of COVID-19.
In Minnesota Statutes 2019, section 12.02, the Minnesota Legislature conferred upon the Governor emergency powers “in order to (1) ensure that preparations of this state will be
adequate to deal with disasters, (2) generally protect the public peace, health, and safety, and (3) preserve the lives and property of the people of the state.” Pursuant to Minnesota Statutes 2019,
section 12.21, subdivision 1, the Governor has general authority to control the state’s emergency management as well as carry out the provisions of Minnesota’s Emergency Management Act.
Minnesota Statutes 2019, section 12.21, subdivision 3(7), authorizes the Governor to cooperate with federal and state agencies in “matters pertaining to the emergency management of the state and nation . . . .” including “the direction or control of . . . the conduct of persons in the state, including entrance or exit from any stricken or threatened public place, occupancy of facilities,
and . . . public meetings or gatherings . . . .” Pursuant to subdivision 3 of that same section, the Governor may “make, amend, and rescind the necessary orders and rules to carry out the provisions” of Minnesota Statutes 2019, Chapter 12. When approved by the Executive Council and filed in the Office of the Secretary of State, such orders and rules have the force and effect of law during the peacetime emergency. Any inconsistent rules or ordinances of any agency or political subdivision of the state are suspended during the pendency of the emergency. Any person who willfully violates such an order or rule is guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction must be punished by a fine not to exceed $1,000 or by imprisonment for not more than 90 days.
For these reasons, I order as follows:
1. Beginning on Friday, March 27, 2020 at 11:59 pm through Friday, April 10, 2020 at 5:00 pm, all persons currently living within the State of Minnesota are ordered to stay at home or in their place of residence except to engage in the Activities and Critical Sector work set forth below in Paragraphs 5 and 6.
2. For purposes of this Executive Order, homes or residences include hotels, motels, shared rental units, shelters, and similar facilities, to the extent they are used for
3. This Executive Order does not restrict virtual work or telework (i.e. work from home), and Minnesotans working in any field are encouraged to work from their home or residence as much as possible.
4. Definitions. As used in this Executive Order, “workers” and “personnel” are broadly defined to include employees, contractors, vendors, and volunteers. As used in this Executive Order, “Critical Sectors” is defined to include the categories found in the CISA Guidance and the additional categories listed below.
5. Exemptions – Activities. Minnesotans may leave their homes or residences to engage in the following activities, provided that all persons follow the guidelines set forth and maintained by the Minnesota Department of Health (“MDH Guidelines”), including but not limited to social distancing, to the maximum extent possible. This list of Activities may be clarified, as deemed necessary by the Governor, to ensure the
health, safety, and security of all Minnesotans. Clarifications will be available for public review at: https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/
a. Relocation to ensure safety. Individuals whose homes or residences are unsafe or become unsafe, including individuals who have suffered or are at risk of domestic violence or for whom the safety, sanitation or essential operations of the home or residence cannot be maintained, are allowed and urged to leave their home or residence and relocate to a safe alternative home
b. Health and safety activities. Individuals may seek emergency services,obtain medical services, supplies, and medications, and visit a health care or
dental professional or facility, or a veterinarian. Individuals may also donate blood.
c. Outdoor activities. Individuals may engage in outdoor activities (e.g., walking, hiking, running, biking, driving for pleasure, hunting, or fishing), and may go to available public parks and other public recreation lands,
consistent with remaining at least six feet apart from individuals from other households. This does not exempt public accommodations that may feature outdoor activities from closure under Executive Order 20-04 and does not permit trespass upon private property.
d. Necessary supplies and services. Individuals may obtain food, including delivery or carry-out services, beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic), and other grocery items, gasoline, supplies needed to work from home, and products needed to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of homes and residences, businesses, and personally owned vehicles, including automobiles and bicycles. Individuals may also visit and use the services of laundromats and dry cleaners.
e. Essential intrastate and interstate travel. Individuals may travel to exempted activities and may travel to return to a home or place of residence. Individuals may also travel into and out of Minnesota.
f. Care of others. Individuals may care for a family member, friend, or pet in another household, and may transport family members, friends, or pets as allowed by this Executive Order, including the transport of children pursuant to existing parenting time schedules or other visitation schedules pertaining to a child in need of protective services (“CHIPS”) proceeding.
g. Displacement. Individuals without a home are exempt from the restrictions in this Executive Order, and they may move between emergency shelters, dropin centers, and encampments. Encampments should not be subject to sweeps or disbandment by state or local governments, as such sweeps or disbandment increase the potential risk and spread of COVID-19.
h. Tribal Activities & Lands.
i. Activities by tribal members within the boundaries of their tribal reservations are exempt from the restrictions in this Executive Order but may be subject to restrictions by tribal authorities.
ii. Activities within the boundaries of federal land held in trust for one of the 11 Minnesota Tribal Nations are exempt from the restrictions in this Executive Order but may be subject to restrictions by tribal
iii. Activities by tribal members to exercise their federal treaty rights within the boundaries of their treaty territory (also known as “ceded territory”) are exempt from the restrictions in this Executive Order but
may be subject to restrictions by applicable tribal authorities.
iv. Tribal members may travel to and from their tribal reservations in accordance with applicable tribal law.
6. Exemptions – Critical Sectors. All workers who can work from home must do so. Workers in the following Critical Sectors, who are performing work that cannot be done at their home or residence through telework or virtual work and can be done only at a place of work outside of their home or residence, are exempted from the prohibition in paragraph 1 as set forth below. These critical services exemptions apply only to travel to and from an individual’s home or residence and place of work and an individual’s performance of work duties that cannot be done at their homes or residence. Travel may include transportation to and from child
care or school settings as necessary to ensure the safe care of children. This list of Critical Sectors may be clarified, as deemed necessary by the Governor, to ensure the health, safety, and security of all Minnesotans. Clarifications will be available for public review at: http://mn.gov/deed/critical/
a. Healthcare and public health. This category is limited to:
i. Healthcare and public health workers listed in the CISA Guidance.
ii. Providers of, and workers supporting, reproductive health care, childbirth services, mental health care, and substance use treatment.
iii. Workers supporting manufacturers, technicians, logistics and warehouse operators, and distributors of personal care, hygiene, and
iv. Workers providing home care and human services workers from government or non-profit providers who are delivering food, prescriptions, case management services, mental health and substance
abuse therapy, or who are otherwise caring for a client.
v. Workers providing or supporting home-based care for adults, seniors, and children, including but not limited to people who are blind, deaf, deafblind, or hard of hearing and people with disabilities, including
physical disabilities, developmental disabilities, intellectual disabilities, substance use disorders, or mental illness. This includes workers who must travel to a person’s home to provide care or other
in-home services including meal delivery and one-on-one interpreting services for people who are blind, deaf, deafblind, or hard of hearing. This includes personal care attendants, paid employees of government and non-profit providers, or volunteers representing government and non-profit providers. As applicable, such healthcare and public health workers are subject to the restrictions on elective surgeries and procedures as set forth in Executive Orders 20-09 and 20-17.
b. Law enforcement, public safety, and first responders. This category is limited to law enforcement and public safety workers and first responders listed in the CISA Guidance, including all corrections personnel, state and county probation officers, and supervision agents, in addition to victims’ advocates, animal control officers, humane officers, and all workers who support electronic security and life-safety services.
c. Food and agriculture. This category is limited to food and agriculture workers listed in the CISA Guidance, including agricultural equipment repair services. For clarity, and for the purposes of this Executive Order, references to “beverages” include alcoholic beverages. The restrictions on restaurants, bars, and other places of public accommodation adopted in Executive Orders 20-04 and 20-18 remain in effect.
d. Energy. This category is limited to energy workers listed in the CISAGuidance.
e. Water and wastewater. This category is limited to water and wastewater workers listed in the CISA Guidance, including State Parks workers who maintain water and wastewater infrastructure, in addition to workers who perform work related to residential wells and septic tanks, and workers who supply bottled water or home filtration systems in areas where that is a health necessity.
f. Transportation and logistics. This category is limited to the transportation and logistics workers listed in the CISA Guidance, in addition to:
i. State, county, and local government agencies and agency workers, as well as private sector workers, who support or enable transportation functions, including engineers, dispatchers, maintenance and repair technicians (including workers at maintenance and repair shops), warehouse workers, truck stop and rest area workers, and workers that
maintain and inspect infrastructure (including those that require crossborder travel).
ii. Workers engaged in roadway construction, maintenance, and utility projects.
iii. Public transit workers.
iv. Bicycle shops and distribution facilities.
v. Automobile sales that are necessary to allow for essential travel, when conducted by appointment, and only when CDC and MDH guidelines, including social distancing, can be met.
g. Public Works. This category is limited to public works workers listed in the CISA Guidance, in addition to construction material suppliers and workers providing services necessary to maintain construction material sources.
h. Communications and information technology. This category is limited to communications and information technology workers listed in the CISA Guidance, in addition to all workers who support news services of all kinds, including newspapers, radio, television, and other forms of news media.
i. Other community-based government operations and essential functions. This category is limited to the other community-based and government essential functions listed in the CISA Guidance, in addition to workers who support the following functions and services:
i. Election support services and election administration workers
ii. Housing, shelter, and homelessness-prevention staff of state and local agencies and organizations responsible for ensuring safe and stable housing, including workers from state and local agencies and organizations with responsibility for ensuring safe and stable housing; shelter outreach or drop-in center programs; financing affordable housing; and administering rent subsidies, homeless interventions,
operating supports, and similar supports. This includes workers necessary to provide repairs, maintenance, and operations support to residential dwellings.
iii. Workers performing all other governmental functions which are necessary to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of the public, to preserve the essential elements of the financial system of government, and to continue priority services as determined by a political subdivision of the State. All political subdivisions of the State will determine the minimum personnel necessary to maintain these governmental operations.
iv. Workers supporting building code enforcement necessary to maintain public safety and health of essential infrastructure and any construction as required in response to the COVID-19 peacetime emergency including but not limited to construction of health care facilities and essential businesses and services, or construction as required for emergency repairs and safety purposes.
j. Critical manufacturing. This category is limited to critical manufacturing workers listed in the CISA Guidance. This category includes iron ore mining and processing operations and supplier/vendor industries essential to such mining and processing operations.
k. Hazardous materials. This category is limited to hazardous materials workers listed in the CISA Guidance.
l. Financial services. This category includes workers at banks, credit unions, insurance companies, insurance agencies, and other financial services workers identified in the CISA Guidance.
m. Chemical. This category is limited to chemical workers listed in the CISA Guidance.
n. Defense industrial base. This category is limited to defense industrial base workers listed in the CISA Guidance.
o. Tribal Governments. Tribal officers and workers deemed essential by the relevant Tribal government, regardless of residence.
p. The Judicial Branch. This category is limited to judicial officers and personnel deemed essential by the Chief Justice to ensure the continued operations of Minnesota’s court system.
q. The Executive Branch. This category is limited to personnel deemed necessary to continue priority services of executive branch agencies, offices, departments, divisions, boards, bureaus, councils, committees, institutions, authorities, and commissions, as well as, the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system, Minnesota State Retirement System, Public Employees Retirement Association, and Teacher’s Retirement Association, as determined by the Commissioner of Management and Budget in consultation with those agencies and entities.
r. Executive Constitutional Offices. This category is limited to Constitutional Officers and personnel deemed essential by the applicable Constitutional Officer to ensure the continued operations of the Constitutional Office.
s. The Legislative Branch. This category is limited to personnel deemed essential by the presiding officers of each body.
t. Federal Employees. Nothing in this Executive Order will be construed to limit, prohibit, or restrict in any way the operations of the federal government, or the movement of federal officials in Minnesota while acting in their official capacity, including federal judicial, legislative, and executive staff and personnel.
u. National Guard. This category is limited to National Guard members that are on orders, to include state active duty, Title 32, or Title 10 orders and members in an Inactive Duty for Training status. At the discretion of the Adjutant General, this category also includes full-time staff of the Minnesota National Guard or Department of Military Affairs that are necessary for the execution of the National Guard’s mission.
v. Faith leaders and workers. This category includes officials, workers, and leaders in houses of worship and other places of religious expression or fellowship, wherever their services may be needed. This category also includes workers necessary to plan, record, and distribute online or broadcast content to community members.
w. Education. Educators and other workers supporting public and private schools, as well as higher education (e.g., colleges and universities). This category includes educators and other workers providing care to children as provided by Executive Order 20-19. Executive Order 20-02 remains in effect.
x. Construction and critical trades. This category includes workers in the skilled trades such as electricians, plumbers, HVAC and elevator technicians, and other related construction of all kind. This category also includes exterminators, cleaning and janitorial staff for commercial and governmental properties, moving and relocation services, security staff, operating engineers, and all other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of homes and residences and the Critical Sectors listed in this Executive Order.
y. Child care providers. This category includes workers in child care centers, family child care, schools, and other facilities. Such providers are encouraged to remain open to provide child care services for workers in the Critical Sectors listed in this Executive Order as possible and insofar as public health guidance can be followed. This category also applies to individuals providing
child care for Critical Sector workers in a personal home, such as family, friend, and neighbor care required for Critical Sector workers to continue to
perform their duties.
z. Hotels, residential facilities and shelters. This category includes workers supporting hotels and motels, facilities and shelters for adults, seniors, and children, including victims of domestic violence, people with developmental disabilities, intellectual disabilities, substance abuse disorders, or mental illness. Such facilities and shelters include halfway houses and residential treatment programs. This category also includes workers needed to keep apartment complex buildings and other congregate residences or homes operational and sanitary.
aa. Shelters for displaced individuals. This category is limited to workers supporting emergency shelters, drop-in centers, and encampments, as well as outreach workers. Governmental and other entities are strongly urged to make 24-hour shelter available as soon as possible, to the maximum extent practicable, and in compliance with CDC guidance.
bb. Charitable and social services organizations. This category is limited to workers supporting organizations that are engaged in hunger relief work, and those that provide food, shelter, prescription delivery, mental health and substance abuse treatments, and other social services, as well as other necessities of life for individuals in need of such services, older adults who live alone, people with disabilities, and those who need assistance as a result of this emergency.
cc. Legal services. This category is limited to workers who are necessary to provide essential legal services. Essential legal services include:
i. Advice and representation needed to aid the delivery of all critical government services.
ii. Advice and representation required to ensure the immediate and critical health, safety, and liberties of Minnesotans, including but not limited to, end-of-life planning, immigration, essential services to
elders and persons with disabilities, child supports, child-protection and domestic abuse matters, protection of personal financial resources necessary to meet basic needs, prosecution or defense in ongoing criminal matters, or all matters in which individuals are held in custody pending a legal proceeding, and proceedings held in the district or appellate courts during the effective period of this order.
iii. Advice and representation related to the continuation of the Critical Sectors identified in this Executive Order, including ensuring compliance with this Executive Order, previous Executive Orders, and all applicable laws, rules, and regulations applying to Critical Sectors.
iv. Supporting housing and shelter-related efforts, including loan applications, loan processing, seeking temporary relief from residential and commercial loan or lease provisions, retention of gas, electric, or water utility services, and seeking temporary relief from residential evictions or foreclosures, or other actions intended to keep people in their homes.
dd. Notaries. This category is limited to notaries performing services that cannot be deferred and which cannot be accomplished via remote services underMinnesota Statutes 2019, section 358.645.
ee. Critical Labor Union Functions. This category includes labor union essential activities, including the administration of health and welfare funds, and monitoring the wellbeing and safety of members providing services in the Critical Sectors.
ff. Laundry services. This category is limited to workers who support laundromats, dry cleaners, industrial laundry services, and laundry service providers for other Critical Sectors.
gg. Animal shelters and veterinarians. This category is limited to veterinarians and workers at animal care facilities or Department of Natural Resources workers who provide food, shelter, veterinary services, and other necessities of life for animals. Workers in this category are subject to the restrictions on elective surgeries and procedures as set forth in Executive Orders 20-09 and 20-17.
hh. Real Estate Transactions. This category is limited to workers who facilitate and finance real estate transactions and real estate services, including appraisers and title services.
ii. Essential Supply Stores. This category is limited to workers at businesses that sell products, tools, materials, or supplies necessary for: (1) the above Critical Sectors to continue their essential operations, (2) for workers to work from home, or (3) for the maintenance of the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of homes or residences.
7. Allowed activities and work performed in the above Critical Sectors should, to the maximum extent possible, be conducted in a manner that adheres to Minnesota Occupational Safety and Health Standards and the Minnesota Department of Health and CDC Guidelines related to COVID-19, including social distancing and hygiene.
8. Except as necessary to seek medical care and obtain other necessities of life, people at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19 (e.g., elderly people and those with underlying health conditions) are strongly urged to stay in their home or residence, even when the terms of this Executive Order would allow them to do leave their home or residence.
9. I urge all Minnesotans to voluntarily comply with this Executive Order. Pursuant to Minnesota Statutes 2019, section 12.45, a person who willfully violates this Executive Order is guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction must be punished by
a fine not to exceed $1,000 or by imprisonment for not more than 90 days. Nothing in this Executive Order is intended to encourage or allow law enforcement to transgress individual constitutional rights.
10. I direct the cabinet agencies to coordinate expeditiously in developing relevant guidance related to this Executive Order and to provide that guidance to the public.
11. I direct all state agencies to continue to coordinate expeditiously in developing plans to mitigate the economic effects of closures and restrictions necessitated by this peacetime emergency, including potential financial support, regulatory relief, and other executive actions.
12. This Executive Order may be extended by a future Executive Order, with the approval of the Executive Council. Pursuant to Minnesota Statutes 2019, section 4.035, subdivision 2, and section 12.32, this Executive Order is effective immediately upon approval by the Executive Council. It remains in effect until the peacetime emergency declared in Executive Order 20-01 is terminated or until it is rescinded by proper authority.
A determination that any provision of this Executive Order is invalid will not affect the enforceability of any other provision of this Executive Order. Rather, the invalid provision will be modified to the extent necessary so that it is enforceable.
Signed on March 25, 2020.
Filed According to Law:
Secretary of State
Approved by the Executive Council on March 25, 2020:
Secretary, Executive Council
The Senate is planning to vote on additional COVID-related legislation on Thursday, March 26 at 2 pm. Efforts to maintain the guidelines from the CDC and MDH means this floor session will look different than normal. Below is an outline of how things will work for Thursday’s session.
Senator seating arrangements: The senate floor will be used, but social distancing requirements necessitate the use of alternate seating rooms in the capitol for members. Fourteen members plus the Senate President will be seated in the chamber. Members will also be seated in the retiring room, east gallery, Senate President’s office, room 206, room 237, room 303, and room 323 (all in the capitol). Members in these rooms will be able to see and hear floor proceedings. They will also be able to communicate with the front desk and caucus chiefs of staff to indicate their desire to speak during floor discussion.
Moving in and out of the chamber: Should a member in an alternate seating location wish to speak, they will make that known to the front desk/chief of staff and make their way to the chamber. Members of the DFL caucus not seated in the chamber will use Senator Bakk’s microphone and members of the GOP caucus not seated in the chamber will use Senator Osmek’s microphone to address the chamber. The microphone will be sanitized in between each speaker. Doors to the chamber will be propped open to limit surface contact.
Note: We need 34 members to be present to bring us into session, and we need 45 members to declare an emergency and take up the bill (this can be a voice vote). Those votes will happen with the 14 members seated in the chamber, the senate president, and members from alternate rooms will be rotated through the chamber to get us to the necessary votes.
Voice votes will take place in the chamber and alternate seating areas. A designated senator in each room will indicate the number of Ayes and Nays to the front desk who will then tally and announce the vote.
Roll Call votes will be taken first in the senate chamber, then those members will exit to wait in the hallways and capitol rotunda. The members in an alternate room will be led into the chamber to vote as a room, maintaining social distance while walking to and from the chamber and while on the floor. They will return to the room when they are finished voting and the next room will be led in, and so forth.
Press access: At this time we are not limiting press access and are working on maintaining social distancing requirements. I have requested the West Gallery (in the rear of the chamber) be open for press if you want to observe the chamber. Bill Walsh will be at the capitol on Thursday to help you gain access and stay safe. The session will be carried by Senate Media Services so you can watch remotely if you prefer.
This is happening worldwide, in Washington DC, in our state Capitols, in every branch of government and in our businesses and homes. The rhetoric is clear we are all in this together, but it is the content of our character that will determine how we come out of this dire situation. The pandemic is setting a new course and it is exposing the weakness of or medical system in it limited on-time response methods. More preparedness needs to be built into the system and our dependency to a more robust response to medical emergencies must be created.
While the Congress debates its response to the Coronavirus/COVID-19 and states continue to brace for increased cases, it is our collective abilities to look out for not just ourselves but others around us. This is not just for a good neighbor approach but also it is in one’s own interest to keep yourself safe by being surrounded by others in a similar position. This is a time where people are forced to make a self-assessment. Everyone needs to look in the mirror and figure out what is important to them. Yes, they can’t go to the movies, a concert, watch NASCAR or even go to the library, but eventually this will change. What people are denied is often what they yearn for and if we sacrifice in the short-run it is expected we will come out better in the end.
The need for self-sacrifice is not something many of the generations alive today have faced except those from the World War II era. At the end of World War I, the globe experienced a pandemic from Spanish Flu effecting a quarter of the world’s population. After the devastation of a global conflict the planet was besieged by another significant threat significantly added to a reduction in population.
A decade or so later, the world was beset by the Great Depression and this was a far different outcome than people experienced after World War II. During the second war, the collectivism and sense of togetherness was a survival mechanism. People did without, receiving limited support from the government with food coupons for milk, butter and cheese, but most were left largely to be self-dependent and in result started Victory Gardens and shared what they had with friends and neighbors. It was a time that is a testament to our resiliency, but mainly our character. The fact that all industry was focused on the war effort created a significant pent up demand and the economic result opened the flood gates and produced the strongest economy in the history of our nation.
In the time of this pandemic, the idea of sacrifice seems to be an imposition to those who only put themselves first. When video footage of people on Spring break in Florida and California show up on the television screens of those sheltered in place it creates frustration and outright disdain.
The response we will see from Congress is shaped by two significant factors, 1) the 2007-08 Financial Crisis and the protection for Wall street over Main street which brought about the Occupy Wall street movement and the rise of US Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Donald J Trump (R) and 2) Protection from the creation of a Presidential Slush Fund.
We will be judged by the content of our character in these demanding times.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA06) is in a uniquely favorable position in this time of crisis, because Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (D-KY) is unable to advance items off of the Senate floor due to the self-quarantine of fine Republican US Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX), Corey Gardner (R-CO), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Mike Lee (R-UT) and Mitt Romney (R-UT). This means McConnell doesn’t have a functional majority and can not bring about cloture in order to call a vote. This means Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) can advance positions inline with Pelosi and this one, two punch will establish a very dynamic response to the Coronavirus/Covid-19 epidemic. Republicans are decrying the inclusion of items they consider not directly related to the epidemic, but due to Senate Rules, and the fact McConnell refused to allow electronic voting by absent members the negotiations are underway in earnest.
The fact the Senate bill has been weighted to favor interests similar to the 2007-08 Financial crisis is something Democrats will not stand for again. There isn’t much faith in the system. The power of negotiation has shifted to the Democratic side and this means provisions contained in the Pelosi’s bill which she is calling Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act includes:
- Increases the amount of money being offered to individuals to $1,500, and up to $7,500 for a family of five. The proposed GOP income thresholds in the Senate bill would apply — $75,000 for individuals and $150,000 for couples, but the benefit would be available to anyone with an individual taxpayer identification number, retirees and unemployed individuals.
- A waiver of $10,000 in federal student loan payments.
- A dedicate $4 billion in grant funding for states with upcoming elections and nationally mandates 15 days of early voting and no-excuse absentee vote-by-mail, including an emergency mailing a ballot to all registered voters.
- Cancellation of several executive orders and presidential memorandums that Democrats argue have weakened public sector unions’ ability to engage in collective bargaining.
- Creates a new carbon offset guideline for airlines, with a long-term goal of reducing jet fuel emissions by 50% by 2050.
- Allocates $150 billion for hospitals, local health centers and government-funded medical programs, adding $80 billion for low-interest loans to hospitals.
- Eliminates all cost-sharing for coronavirus treatments and vaccines for patients, including the uninsured.
- Addresses many broader health care concerns on the Democratic agendas, including increasing subsidies on the individual insurance market and creating new incentives for states to expand Medicaid.
- Providing child care assistance to health care workers and emergency personnel.
- Institute a temporary provision of $600 per week to unemployed workers affected by the coronavirus. Self-employed workers, Americans whose contracts were canceled, and new entrants to the job market would also be eligible.
- Expands paid sick leave and family medical leave, as well as gives more money to food-safety benefits.
- Delivers $500 billion in grants and interest-free loans to small businesses.
- Establishes a $200 billion stabilization fund for states and $15 billion for local governments through the Community Development Block Grant program. Authorizing the Federal Reserve to purchase state and local government bonds.
- Injects $60 billion into schools and universities, with $50 billion directly provided to states for school funding and nearly $10 billion to higher education institutions.
- Provides $20 billion for reimbursement to the U.S. Postal Service for lost revenue, and forgives USPS debt.
- Requiring companies receiving federal assistance during coronavirus to institute a $15 minimum wage.
On news reports Pelosi is saying it how it is not the in a fanciful manner of Trump, she said, “Rather than wasting any time on the President, we should be focused on evidence-based science.” Additionally, she referred to thoughts on using malaria drugs as “notion-mongering.”
The words from Donald J Trump (R) provide no leadership, empathy or solace because it is easy to remember when a mere two months ago, when he was calling the Coronavirus a Democratic hoax and then later saying he knew it was a pandemic right away. If that was the case then why didn’t he do something and set our nation on a preparational footing.
He now says, he is a “War Time” President, who is out of his element, sure he may have attended military school in order to enforce discipline on him, but he also was the coward, receiving four medical deferments due to “bone spurs.” He has no standing, no credibility and everyday he undermines the information we get from medical experts in order to interject himself into the conversation.
His blatant narcissism is something we hope the American public will reject in November, but unless the Congress acts to protect the election and allow extraordinary measures for voting by mail, a process Republicans abhor and making sure all eligible voters are able to cast their ballots we could be saddled with this buffoon for another term. That is if he actually leaves the office in the first place.
The Carnival Barker calls for us to come inside the tent and see what he has to show, but a real President is straight with the American people and leads with truth even when its uncomfortable and hurts. He says untested Malaria and Lupus drugs like chloroquine and hydro-chloroquine should be used on people because we have a readily available supply of test subjects, read guinea pigs.
Anything he says is suspect and puts people at risk. We are seeing the truth; the man is incompetent and proving it every day. Now, he is discussing rescinding orders like social distancing after fifteen days because he thinks enough time has passed.
As we are seeing with the state mandated lock down in China, they are showing no new cases after four months, when people believe they have been addressing this for six months. This means we need to prepare for a long duration, and also the possibility of a second wave in the Fall.
If we fail to learn from the lessons we experience today and shape our future actions for tomorrow we fail ourselves.
As Governor Tim Walz (D-MN) starts a self-imposed fourteen-day quarantine, due to a member of his security detail contracting the Coronavirus/Covid-19. He also expected between 40-80 percent of the state’s population will be infected until the virus runs its course.
His administration has experienced its own loss with the death of Ronald Golden older brother of Lt Governor Peggy Flanagan (D-MN), who contracted the virus after contracting cancer. Additionally, our Congressional delegation has it first in direct case with US Senator Amy Klobuchar’s (D-MN) husband John Bessler has contracted the virus.
Walz is operating on a science-based system and has held off on an order for Sheltering in Place, but it will mean people need to adhere to the voluntary provisions. We do expect this will ultimately occur. If people impose a self-regulated method of only going out when they actually they need to then the virus may be kept at bay. Again, the collective actions are paramount to meeting the crisis.
We tip our hat to Governor Walz at his order to stop evictions from moving forward until this crisis is ended. We expect the longer the contraction of our economy occurs the greater the economic impact, both on the consumers and the businesses, but as was seen after World War II the pent-up demand will create a strong economic surge.
We hope the lessons of this time will be accepted and incorporated moving forward.
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