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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Joe McDonald (R)

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Legislative update

Friday, March 27, 2020

Capitol Rotunda


The COVID-19 outbreak seems to have most of our attention these days, including at the state level where yesterday the Legislature approved a bill to further our COVID-19 response and earlier this week Gov. Tim Walz issued a “Stay at Home” order, effective at 11:59 p.m. today.

Over the past week, the four legislative caucuses worked together to negotiate a variety of provisions for the bill we approved related to the COVID-19 pandemic. House Republicans successfully advocated for multiple sunsets, reporting requirements, and other accountability measures. Earlier this month, the Legislature approved $221 million in funding to assist with COVID-19 preparation and response. Click this link for more details on the bill which passed the House 99-4 Thursday.

There have been many issues throughout my time in the Legislature that we worked together in a bipartisan fashion to solve for the betterment of Minnesotans. It is good to see the House came together again in a bipartisan effort to approve legislation that will help Minnesotans amid the COVID-19 outbreak. 

In particular, this effort should serve as an example of how ideology can be put aside in the name of humanitarianism. We’re all in this together and I applaud the people who have stepped up to provide invaluable services for friends and neighbors. It has been great to see Minnesotans come together to work combat this crisis. From everyone in the healthcare industry to law enforcement, firefighters, grocers and beyond, people have gone above the call of duty to ensure together we, as Minnesotans, successfully get through this together. We’ll be stronger and better for it. 

I will continue focusing on doing whatever I can to help the people I represent in District 29A. While we don’t know what tomorrow may bring as we combat this virus, the work the House did on this bill shows the good that can be accomplished when the House is unified with the best interests of Minnesotans in mind.

Stay at Home order

As for the Stay at Home executive order, so many constituents have been asking important questions that it is challenging to answer each directly or as quickly as I would like.

While I may take some time to respond to these questions, here is an overview and some available resources:

Current closures for bars, restaurants, and other public accommodations under previous executive orders have been extended until May 1 and distance learning for schools was extended until May 4.

The Stay at Home order will limit movement outside homes beyond essential trips for two weeks, effective at 11:59 p.m. today until Friday, April 10. Click here for the full order. And here is a site with general FAQs related to Minnesota’s Stay at Home order.

The order allows Minnesotans to leave their residences only to perform any of the following activities and while doing so they should practice social distancing: Health/safety activities, outdoor activities, purchasing necessary supplies and services like groceries and medicine, essential and interstate travel, care of others, displacement, relocation to ensure safety. This is not a comprehensive list.

Workers who provide critical services are exempt for the purposes of traveling to their jobs. This list includes: Healthcare and public health; law enforcement, public safety, and first responders; child care, food, and agriculture, news media, energy, water and wastewater, critical manufacturing. Approximately 80 percent of Minnesota businesses are deemed “essential” by the governor’s order.

This, again, is not a comprehensive list, and Minnesotans should visit this link for additional guidance. 

If your business is currently considered non-essential and you would like to request an exemption from the Stay at Home order, please submit a request to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development here. And this link provides information from DEED regarding the Emergency Loan Program for Minnesota Small businesses that recently was created.

Please reach out to me if you have questions or if I can assist you in any way. I will keep you posted as further legislative action is considered.

Until next time, be safe and stay healthy.


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